Hidalgo, Juan, important Spanish composer; b. Madrid, c. 1612; d. there, March 30, 1685. He became a harpist and harpsichordist at the Royal Chapel in Madrid about 1631, and from 1645 he served as maestro of chamber music; he remained in the service of the court until his death. For the semi- opera Fortunas de Andromeda y Perseo (1653), Hidalgo prepared the recitative, the earliest surviving example of its use in Spain. About 1658 he began to compose his own works for the stage, and soon became closely associated with the dramatist and poet Pedro Calderón de la Barca. While their opera La purpura de la rosa (c. 1660) is lost, their opera Celos aun del aire matan (Madrid, Dec. 5, 1660) survives as one of the earliest scores in the genre in Spain. His music for Juan Vêlez de Guevara’s zarzuela Los celos hacen estrellas (1672) is the earliest zarzuela to survive with both music and text. Among his other works were some 9 autos sacramentales, incidental music to about 15 court plays, many villancicos, and some liturgical pieces. Hidalgo’s significance rests upon the role he played in establishing the Italian operatic styles in Spain.
J. Subirà, “Celos aun del aire matan,” òpera del sigio XVII (Barcelona, 1933); R. Pitts, Don J. H, Seventeenth-century Spanish Composer (diss., George Peabody Coll. for Teachers, Nashville, Tenn., 1968).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire