The Fernández-Shaw Saga and Lyrical Theatre
Description of the Project

In the long history of zarzuela from its birth in the mid-17th century there is nothing quite like the case of the Fernández-Shaw family, whose legacy includes three names made famous in this genre: those of Carlos and his two sons Guillermo and Rafael. Between 1888 and 1965 they contributed nearly 125 premiered works to Spanish musical theatre, among them some of the most important in the representative genres of opera, zarzuela, sainete and operetta.

Before continuing, the correct spelling of the surnames of this extensive family must be explained. Carlos the father used the surnames Fernández and Shaw separately. But from 1921 on his sons were allowed to use Fernández-Shaw as a compound surname; that’s why it’s written with a hyphen” (José Prieto Marugán, 2014).

The repository comprises archives donated to the Fundación Juan March by the Fernández-Shaw heirs between 1988 and 2002 – a total of nearly 4,924 documents, including written material (poetry, theatre, diverse writings), photographs and postcards, correspondence (with musicians, journalists, politicians, actors and actresses, writers, religious leaders and aristocrats, etc), posters, programmes, and personal and administrative documents. The descriptions for each item indicate the nature and extent of the subject material and its relationship to the social and cultural world of the time.

The portal “The Fernández-Shaw Saga and Lyrical Theatre” is part of the Foundation’s digital repository. It uses its own resources and is supported by free software tools under the Islandora digital resources management platform. It is the digital repository of the Foundation's largest digital collection: 4,924 documents, 87,000 pages on three different formats (pdf, jpeg, xml) skimming near to 270,000 files.

The official aim of the project is fundamentally to create an interface for the documents. The digitalisation process began in 2011, done by outside companies; the archive work lasted from 2012 until early 2014, carried out by librarians and archivists.

The portal enables simple and advanced searches in the archives at the same time or separately. Indexes can also be browsed by title of work, author, persons mentioned, institutions cited, subject matter and kind of document. Once the first results are in, further screening can be done by date, title author, subject, or document type, and to follow learning more of each document.

The portal also enables navigation via other Fernández-Shaw resources at the Fundación Juan March: conferences, concerts, studies on documentary work and bibliographies concerning them or their work held in the Library.


The contents comprising the Portal are placed at public disposal for interested parties and researches with the consent of the heirs. Users with principal purpose are for teaching and research, may be freely consulted and reproduced in accordance with the pertinent laws governing intellectual property. Readers who make use of the portal for teaching or research must properly cite the sources they utilize, including indication of authors and titles, as well as this database and its URL. Fundación Juan March will be grateful if scholars who use this database in their published research would communicate the pertinent bibliographic information to the Fundación (, so that their work may be included its library's specialized bibliography.

The content and use of the Portal will be governed by Legal notice/ General terms of use of the website and by Privacy Policy established by Fundación Juan March.