This work signaled a new dimension in Manuel García's early compositions: more depth and greater attention to orchestration. José Alvarez, oboist at the premiere, reminisced in 1855: "Shortly after, he presented another operetta also in one act, entitled El criado fingido, which was much better and more successful than the previous. He also put in this work a polo, which he sang divinely." (published in the Gaceta musical de Madrid, 13 July 1856; quoted in Radomski, Manuel García, p. 53).

The polo (a fast triple-meter Andalusian song) in question was 'Cuerpo bueno, alma divina' which was the second work, after 'Yo que soy contrabandista' to remain popular well after García's lifetime. It was this work which inspired the entr'acte to Act IV of Carmen (1875) by Georges Bizet.

The story was light fare, essentially the early-nineteenth century version of a modern 'sit-com':

Don Dámaso has sent his daughter, Inés, to spend some time with his sister, Jacinta, in an effort to separate her from Vicente, a student and son of his friend, Don Pedro. Don Dámaso thinks it's a good match, but they're getting too serious and he wants Vicente to finish study at the University of Salamanca before any thoughts of marriage arise.

But Vicente disguises himself as a servant of Don Dámaso in order to visit Inés at her aunt's house. Eventually everyone convenes on the house and Vicente's true identity is revealed in a climactic quintet.

Vicente was, of course, played by García at the premiere, with Laureana Correa in the role of Inés. Joaquina Briones, a talented comedienne, played the role of Jacinta.

El criado fingido was performed for many years in Spain. On 30 May 1815 in was included in a gala performance for the Saint's Day of King Fernando VII. Together with the manuscripts of the original parts (from the Teatro de la Cruz), now in the Municipal Library of Madrid, are found some additions and changes made by composer Balthasar Saldoni for a later performance.

Download PDF files of the orchestral Score:
Libretto and English Translation
No. 1 Coplas, "La condición de las mujeres"
No. 2 Terzetto, "Adios, querida sobrina"
No. 3 "Paseando cierto día..." Polo, "Cuerpo bueno, alma divina"
No. 4 Duo, "Escribir quiero la carta"
No. 5 Coplas, "Si de una joven bien criada"
No. 6 Coplas, "Hoy que estaba ya mejor"
No. 7 Quinteto, "¿Cómo es esto?"
No. 8 Coro Final: "Al fin todo ha terminadado"

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