Isamay Benavente, the first woman to direct the Teatro de la Zarzuela in its 167-year history

isamay benavente He will be the new technical director of Teatro de la Zarzuela, a position in which he succeeded Daniel Bianco, who had been in charge of the Madrid Coliseum for the past eight years. This is the first woman to direct the Teatro de la Zarzuela in its 167-year history.

CEO National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (INAEM)And Juan Francisco Marco, was tasked with announcing the appointment of Benavente who will join the position from November 2023 for a period of five years. “This appointment is historic, as she is the first woman to direct the Teatro de la Zarzuela since it opened in 1856,” Marco assessed this Wednesday, also highlighting the “open and transparent process” that was implemented to choose the direction of this art center.

The Director General of the Institute, Mr Benavente’s cultural management work is proven in her career as artistic director of the Teatro Villamarta and Festival de Jerez, as well as his close relationship with Spanish music and dance throughout his career.”

Twenty-six nominations

Receipt of proposals began on February 8 and ended on February 28, with 26 applications submitted, 24% of which related to projects led by women. According to the statutes of the Teatro La Zarzuela, the proposals must be accompanied by a comprehensive management project for the amphitheater, which will form the basis for the development of the master plan that will define the general lines of work for the theater in the next five years.

After the usual period of technical consultations with the National Institute for Project Management through nominations throughout February, all submitted projects were submitted for evaluation by the Institute. Music Art Council. This advisory body selected a very small number of candidates and the candidacy of Isamay Benavente had the support of all of its members.

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During the interview stage with the candidates proposed by the Artistic Council, the Director General was accompanied by the Deputy Director General of Music and Dance, I’m PhosAnd a group of distinguished advisors in the field of singing and entertainment, such as Professor Emilio CasaresDirector of the Documentation Center for Performing Arts and Music. Ana Fernandez Valbuena and stage manager Louis Pascual.

The Institute’s Director General appreciated the strong project presented by Isamaye Benavente as “Prof A proposal aimed at promoting traditional musical theater at the national, European and Latin American levelsgiving continuity to the work done by his predecessor, Daniel Bianco.

Include its strategic lines Promote the “exclusivity and drive” of La Zarzuela Theatre as a meeting space and reference for Spanish poetry and dance; Reaffirmation Commitment to new creativity and young talent; and to continue working to develop La Zarzuela as an inclusive public theater committed to gender equality through “transparent and sustainable” management.

Work as a cultural manager

Isabel María (Isamay) Benavente Ferreras (La Linea, 1965) has a law degree from the University of Seville and is a cultural director. Since 2008 he has been in charge of the Teatro Villamarta de Jerez as Head of Artistic Direction. From this theatre, he developed an extensive and collaborative programme, with two solo events attracting major national and international exposure.

On the one hand, the Lyrical center in the south, a seasonal singing project that combines his own production with the programming of shows on tour. Under this programming, the session Lyrical Autumn Jerezan annual exhibition of four titles of the Spanish lyrical genre, especially zarzuela, as well as the creation of the Vocal competition for the Spanish repertoire. She was also the artistic director of Cherry Festivala related cultural project with broad national and international ramifications focusing on flamenco and Spanish dance.

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Throughout her career as a director, Benavanti has been called upon to participate in numerous committees and juries of various public and private organizations at the regional and state levels. Since last September 2022 she has been president of the Association of Theaters and Lyric Seasons in Spain, pera XXI.

The current director, Daniel Bianco, will continue in his position with the start of the next season of Zarzuela – which will be presented at a press conference on Thursday, May 11 – until the new theater director joins in November.

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