Cementerio Sacramental de San Isidro Madrid, Provincia de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Gregorio Martínez Sierra (Madrid , 1881- Ibidem , October 1, 1947) was a modernist Spanish writer, playwright, and theater entrepreneur . Gregorio Martínez Sierra was a protege of Jacinto Benavente; he published works by Benavente and other homosexuals such as Antonio de Hoyos y Vinent and Pedro de Répide, and translated Oscar Wilde; he helped Federico García Lorca in his career; he was a friend and collaborator of Manuel de Falla; he had a summer house in Morocco (much frequented by homosexuals). Martínez Sierraalso wrote an unproduced (and unpublished) play, Sortilegio, with a married homosexual as protagonist. Martínez Sierra may very well have been a homosexual (or bisexual), and eventually separated from his wife (and collaborator) Maria, to live with the actress Catalina Barcena, whom he had met in 1906 and with whom he had a child in 1922.
According to his own testimony, Martínez Sierra studied in private schools, such as the College of the French Charitable Society, which, according to the author, marked his future career as an author. At the age of sixteen he began studies that he later abandoned at the Central University. He married at the age of nineteen with María Lejárraga . He founded first the ephemeral magazine Modern Life , then Helios magazine , in the company of Juan R. Jiménez , Pedro González-Blanco , Ramón Pérez Ayala , and Carlos Navarro Lamarca. Finally, at the age of twenty-six he founded the Renaissance magazine. Martínez Sierra himself remembered having published, before turning thirty, works of poetry, novels and comedies such as El Poema del Trabajo; Fantastic dialogues; Frost flowers; Absent souls; Hours of sun; Flowery Easter; Afternoon sun; The humble truth; Hamlet and the body of Sarah Bernhardt (illustrations by R. Marín); The sadness of Don Quixote (illustrations by R. Marín); Dream Theater (illustrations by Juan R. Jiménez); Motives; You are peace; The Neuilly fairs (illustrations by Xavier José); Adventure; Life and sweetness, in collaboration with Santiago Rusiñol ; Illusory village (illustrations by Laura Albéniz); The spring house; Traumbilder; Jardin ensoleillé. [ 1 ]
Since his wife wrote her Gregorio and me. Half a century of collaboration ( Mexico , 1953) usually a large part of the work of Martínez Sierra is considered written in co-authorship or exclusively by his first wife, the writer María de la O Lejárraga , whom he married in 1899 and with whom, despite their divotce after he associated with the first actress of his company, Catalina Bárcena, he continued to collaborate. Only after his death and for economic reasons, as she herself explains in Gregorio and I, she signed her works with her name, María Martínez Sierra. Although traditionally it was considered that María Lejárraga had a creative relationship with her husband as intimate and inextricable as the one that existed between the Quintero brothers, being almost impossible to delimit where Gregorio begins and where María ends, recent documentary sources, such as the discovery of his letters and the continuous requests that "María send more texts" make one suspect María's enormous role, almost as the sole author. [ 2 ]
The fact is that this complex marriage owes several of the most interesting cultural initiatives of the Spanish civil war: the foundation of several important short-lived literary magazines, among which Modern Life , Helios and Renaissance stood out , the translation and introduction in Spain of the symbolist theater of Maurice Maeterlinck , [ 3 ] the creation of the Editorial Renaissance , which between 1908 and 1918 edited the works of the best Spanish writers of the Silver Age in its collection Renaissance Library and, above all, the creation of the art theater, a very ambitious initiative arising from direct knowledge of similar experiences such as the Théâtre d'Art by Paul Fort , the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre by Lugné-Poe or the Moscow Art Theater, directed by Meyerhold and Constantin Stanislavski . Aware of the need to make theater a total art, the couple called together a great team made up not only of playwrights, but also of composers such as Manuel de Falla , Conrado del Campo , Joaquín Turina , Pablo Luna and Ángel Barrios; an excellent group of scenographers, including some who came from the post-romantic tradition, such as Mauricio Vilumara and Oleguer Junyent , and others from the avant-garde , such as Rafael de Penagos , José de Zamora and Santiago Ontañón , and, above all, the triad formed by Manuel Fontanals , Sigfrido Burmann and Rafael Barradas and, of course, a famous group of actresses and actors among whom the aforementioned Catalina Bárcena stood out. Rafael Barradas was madly in love with Catalina Bárcena, whom he painted on countless occasions (on one of them in concert with Federico García-Lorca), which would ultimately provoke the enmity and breakup of Martínez Sierra with the Uruguayan painter.
With all these ingredients the select program devised by the Martinez Sierra was inaugurated on September 22, 1916 with his comedy The Kingdom of God , which followed classic works of Shakespeare and Molière and modern as Dollhouse of Henrik Ibsen or Pygmalion of George Bernard Shaw , in addition to works by Luigi Pirandello , J.M. Barrie , Marcel Pagnol , Leonidas Andreiev , Nicodemi or Ferenc Molnar , or even by then-novice authors, such as Federico García Lorca and his The hex of the butterfly or with little presence on stage, like Jacinto Grau , whose piece The Prodigal Son premiered, in addition to the great success of Santa Isabel de Ceres by Alfonso Vidal y Plana . Yet pantomime was the genre for which this famous company has been remembered, and thus at the Eslava Theater , the regular venue of this dramatic project and of which Gregorio was director for many years, El sapo enamorado de Tomás Borrás and music were released by Pablo Luna in 1916, Christmas with text by the Martínez Sierra and music by Joaquín Turina (The first two acts are written in the form of a pantomime and the last one is spoken) and El corregidor y la molinera in 1917 based on the work of Pedro Antonio de Alarcón and which will give rise to the ballet choreographed by Léonide Massine, The Three-Cornered Hat in within the company of Sergéi Diaguilev the Ballets russes .
In 1925, the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in France awarded its Grand Prize to the edition that the Martínez Sierra made of the book An Art Theater in Spain , a true bibliographic gem that included articles by Eduardo Marquina , Rafael Cansinos Assens , Tomás Borrás and Manuel Abril as well as the illustrations by Rafael Barradas , Manuel Fontanals and Sigfrido Bürmann . On October 9, 1925 he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the French Legion of Honor , at the headquarters of the Society of French Authors. [ 4 ]In that same year, the Fémina Theater in Paris dedicated its Spanish season to the Compañía de los Martínez Sierra, which, a few months later, would season at the Forrest Theater on Broadway.
Like other writers of his generation, the Martínez Sierra were tempted by Hollywood, where some of their own theatrical productions such as Yo, tú y ella , directed by Reinhardt and based on Mujer , and Lullaby , directed by Mitchell Leisen , were brought to the screen, both from 1933; other adaptations were Spring in Autumn , by director Eugene Ford; A romantic widow , directed by Louis King and based on A Night's Dream in August ; Julieta buys a son , written with Honorio Maura Gamazo, directed in 1935 again by Louis King. The Spanish director Benito Perojo also took it to celluloid in 1931 Mamá and Susana has a secret , the latter written with Honorio Maura. Concerning the latter, Felipe Cabrerizo Pérez, in his book La Atenas militarizada , tells us how Maura never charged for the adaptation.
As a poet and prose writer, Gregorio Martínez Sierra was embedded within modernism ; wrote in this lyrical genre The Work Poem (Madrid, 1898), a collection of prose poems with a foreword "Atrium" by Jacinto Benavente ); Fantastic dialogues (Madrid, 1899, also prose poems); Frost flowers (Madrid, Tip. De G. Luste, 1900) and La casa de la primavera (Madrid: Librería Pueyo, 1907). As a narrator, the novels Pascua florida (1900), Sol de la afternoon (1904), La humble truly (1905) and Tú eres la paz are owed to the Martínez Sierra(1906). Other works such as Hamlet and the body of Sarah Bernhardt (1905), The sadness of Don Quixote (1905), Dream Theater (1905), Motifs (1905) and The Fair of Neuilly (1907) have other essays and miscellaneous nature . Granada (emotional guide) (1911) is a travel book that bears witness to the gay nature of the Martínez Sierra. As translators they transferred to Spanish, apart from the work of Maurice Maeterlinck , many of William Shakespeare and the dramatic work of Santiago Rusiñol, among others. Much of his stories, poetry and articles are still uncollected and scattered throughout the magazines in which he collaborated, which are Black and White , New World , For Those Worlds , Selected Leaves , etc.
Gregorio Martínez Sierra is considered above all a modern man of theater, both more as a director than as an author, and a renovator in the set design. His dramatic work is distinguished, within the Benaventian tone, by a certain psychological finesse and a poetic delicacy that, sometimes on the verge of sweet sentimentality, never manages to penetrate it. Critics have also pointed to great skill in creating female characters. His best works are considered the monologue Only for women (1913); Lullaby (1911), taken to the cinema by Mitchell Leisen and José Luis Garci ; The Shadow of the Father (1909); Spring in Autumn (1911), Mom (1913) and The Kingdom of God (1916), the latter drama in which, without abandoning the psychological and sentimental way that characterizes all his work, he tries to give social and revolutionary significance to the theme of Christian charity.
Besides, among his librettos for musical works, the following stand out: Las golondrinas , zarzuela (later opera) and La llama (opera), both with music by José María Usandizaga ; the operas by Joaquín Turina Margot and Jardín de Oriente and the ballets by Manuel de Falla El amor brujo and El corregidor y la molinera .
During their stay in Barcelona, they were supported by Santiago Rusiñol , with whom they collaborated in various works jointly signed and released in Catalan (thus, Ocells de pas , drama by Martínez Sierra and Rusiñol, based on Saltimbanquis , published three years earlier by Martínez Sierra) .
When speaking of all these works, it must be considered once again that many of them were written in collaboration with or exclusively by his wife María Lejárraga . In most, her intervention was much greater, if not the only one. [ 5 ] However, Gregorio's good work and expertise in the field of stage and business management are indisputable. [ 6 ]
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