Tuesday, February 27

Miguel Fleta: the Spanish tenor who reached the Olympus of the opera and died bankrupt and sick at the age of 40

Miguel Fleta is considered one of the best tenors of all time. From singing jacks in his parents’ bar he became acclaimed in theaters in 50 countries, to success on stages as emblematic as the Scala in Milan, the Teatro Real and the Metropolitan in New York. to be a myth.

He had fame and fortune; married twice and was father of five children; it was so popular that gave name to shirts, shoes, a hat and even ice cream; he broke down, he was left without a voice and died sick at the age of 40. And, despite his short life, he left more than a hundred recordings of his performances.

He had to live the reign of Alfonso XIII, the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, the Republic and the Civil War, and starred in some political swingsWell, he went from Republican to Falangist.

It seems that everything was written and said about such a unique character, however, a new documentary delve into his biography. The film Fleta, tenor, mythdirected by Germn Roda, has been presented at the Huesca International Film Festival.

It has the testimony of the tenors Javier Camarera and Pedro the Virgin, of his granddaughter María, soprano, and of some images of his son recovered from the TVE archive. Also with some brief indian images found in the Budapest film library in which Fleta is seen leaving the hotel.

Inspired by the book Miguel Fletta. The man and the mythby Alejandro Martínez and Sergio Castillo, the film has a script and editing by Roda himself and Nacho Blasco.

Roda admits that she “knew who Fleta was but, like most, I knew so little that 80% surprised me”. He wanted to “tell the story of Miguel Fleta as it should have been told. We wanted to update it so that new generations know who he was.”

The poster announcing the documentary features a Fleta “handsome, young and handsome” in contrast to other more decrepit images that are preserved of him and with the tenor advanced in years.

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Miguel Donkey Fleta I was born in 1897 in the Huesca town of Albalate de Cinca. He was the son of Vicente Burro Gayn and Mara Fleta Esparraguerri, and the youngest of 14 siblings, Of those who were only seven alive when he was born.

At eight years old he was already pastor and worked in the fields. He sang jotas in the bar that his parents ran and the first steps in music were given by in the roundabout of his town and with Lázaro Uriol who taught him solfeggio.

After a love failure and after working in Zaragoza on the land of her sisters, he left for Barcelona with his brother Vicente in search of fortune.

I tried to get into the conservatory, but there were no places for boys so went to a class of ladies, where I discovered the Belgian teacher Luisa Pierrick.

Documentary poster ‘Fleta, tenor, mito’.

Luisa, 10 years older than him, would be his mentor and his Pigmalin, since I taught him culture, languages, to sing, to dress, to behave in society. and they finished being lovers.

In September 1919, four months pregnant, Professor sold the jewels and went with Miguel to Milan, not without first convincing her husband, the violinist Munner, that triumph and fame awaited them.

After two and a half years of absence, on May 3, 1922 the couple returns to Madrid with their son Miguelito, and when her husband found out about her arrival, he went to wash her honor and file a lawsuit for adultery.

Luisa and her son leave to clear the way for the tenor. The husband accepts strong financial compensation and the question of honor is settled.


Luisa and Miguel meet again in Nice, where they had bought a mansion, Villa Fleta, for 110,000 pesetas.

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On November 5, 1925, the tenor appeared at the Liceo with a contract of 18,000 pesetas per performance, 3,000 more than Caruso had received 10 years earlier. In Monvar (Alicante) He came to collect 25,000 pesetas and in Mexico they paid him 50,000 gold pesos.

They ensure that the figures of their contracts were scandalous for the time, which allowed him to buy a villa in the linear city from Madrid, the Zaragoza estate where he had worked in his early years, as well as several houses and another farm in Albalate de Cinca.

He was a friend of Alfonso XII, great lover of the opera, which imposed the Order of Isabella the Catholic and the Cross of Alfonso XII. The tenor wanted his second son, whom he called Alfonso, to be patronized by the king.

In 1927, at the age of 30, he managed, some say that with the support of the monarch, the legal change of name, alter the order of surnames. It will be renamed Miguel Fleta Burro.

His relationship with Luisa deteriorates by the minute. While she is waiting for her second child in Villa Fleta, the media spread the news that the tenor has had an affair in the United States with actress Bebe Daniels.

The separation takes place in May 1926 and a year later marries Carmen Mirat with whom he had three children, Elia, Miguel Ángel and Paloma. Elia and Paloma will form the do of the sisters Fleta de light music and jazz which triumphed between 1959 and 1970.

The separation, his hectic social and love life, the excesses and the little care were undermining his voice, which caused the breach or cancellation of contracts. I ended up singing zarzuela in cafes, bullrings or other inappropriate venues.

To this is added your financial situation and the expenses of the mansion, which he had to sell. His father’s brother, Anastasio Burro Gayn, a retired military officer whom Fleta had appointed administrator, he committed suicide in 1933, overwhelmed by the financial situation.

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affected by kidney disease, Fleta died of an urmic coma, on May 29, 1938, in La Corua, where he lived with his second wife and their children. I was 40 years old.

The coffin was covered with the flags of Spain and the Falange, and was carried on the shoulders of four Falangists. After the response, the Face to sun. His mortal remains were transferred in 1941 from La Corua to Zaragoza in whose Torrero cemetery they rest in a pantheon.


fleta was fiery and enthusiastic in everything, also in ideological and political matters. I support the monarchyjoyfully welcomed the 2nd Republic and even recorded the patriotic Irrigation Anthemwhich, despite Manuel Azaa’s attempts, was never declared a national anthem.

A little later, I met José Antonio Primo de Rivera in Madrid’s Café de Pars, at a dinner to which he had been invited. He befriended the founder and joined the Falange Espaola, they say in protest at the little support that the Republic gave to music.

In July 1936 he left Madrid for fear of foreseeable reprisals, given the notoriety of his political position. Leave the family in a safe place and He went to Salamanca.

He wanted to go to the front but they convinced him that his place was in the intermittent nomad, haranguing the combatants.

Fleta was in Salamanca when on December 31, 1936 he died in that city Miguel de Unamuno. And, dressed in uniform and with belts, he was one of the Falangists who charge with his fretro the day of the funeral

It is said that he sang and even record the Face to sun, Falange anthem, although there is no record of said recording.

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