Composers and their stage works 

The House of Bernarda Alba

(La casa de Bernarda Alba)

(wr. 1936, prod. 1945)

Federico García Lorca

Tragedy intended as a realistic, almost documentary portrayal of the sexual repression common among women in the villages of Spain. On the day of her husband's funeral the tyrannical and sadistic Bernarda Alba finally achieves full dominance over her house and her five unmarried daughters, apparently doomed to misery and spinsterhood by Bernarda's insistence upon their marrying honourably in their own middle class and by her strict observance of the traditional eight-year period of mourning.

The five daughters represent a spectrum of rebellion and resignation. The eldest, Angustia, thirty-nine and the only daughter provided with a dowry, is betrothed to Pepe, a man of twenty-five who wishes to marry her for her money. The youngest daughter, Adela, is having a clandestine affair with her sister's fiancé. When Adela goes to a rendezvous in a stable, Martirio, her humpbacked sister, secretly in love with Pepe, informs Bernarda, who shoots at the man in the dark. After Adela is made to believe that her mother has killed her lover, she locks herself in her room and hangs herself, taking the only means of escape from the intolerable grip of Bernarda Alba and the unnatural repressions she so effectively represents. The play closes with Bernarda's fierce proclamation that Adela died a virgin.