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This essay will examine the history and traditions behind zarzuela which contribute to how composers portray the real Spanish identity in their works. Through the analysis of El barberillo de Lavapiés by Francisco Asenjo Barbieri and La Gran Vía by Federico Chueca, I note the value placed on the working-class people in Madrid and the abomination of Spanish authority and the elite. Zarzuelas show the stories, customs, and values of the everyday people which these composers argue are the true values of Spain. Through the laughter of this humorous medium, zarzuelas reveal the truth about the importance of the lower class to the national Spanish identity.

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