Les Amants de Teruel / The Lovers of Teruel (Musical-Ballet-Film 1962) ~ Music: Mikis Theodorakis



We, those who have listened more than once to Theodorakis’ music, must know one special song of the film “Les Amants de Teruel”:  title of the song: “Omorfi Poli” / “Beautiful City”. It has been originally sung by Edith Piaf, but there are also very beautiful other performances sung by: Petros Pandis, Dulce Pontes, Georgos Dalaras, Mario Frangoulis, Margarita Zorbala, Vasilis Papaconstantinou, Antonis Kalogiannis, Marinella, Manolis Mitsias, Alexandra Gravas….


Edit Piaf –  “Όμορφη πόλη”


 The story and a review                                                                                                               “Les Amants de Teruel”, tells the sad story of the Spanish lovers Diego de Marcilla and Isabelle de Segua, comparable with the story about “Tristan and Isolde” or “Romeo and Juliet”.

Isabel Segura and Diego Marcilla grew up in the Spanish city of Teruel (near Valencia) at the beginning of the 13th Century. They were both from noble families and they were in love.
Isabel’s family were very wealthy and didn’t want her to marry Diego because his family although nobles were not rich. So the young Diego pledged that he within five years would return a rich man and marry his beloved Isabel.
Unfortunately Isabel’s family did not wait and began to organise her marriage to a rich nobleman. After the five years Diego returned to Teruel. However, he heard about Isabel’s wedding. So when he arrived in Teruel, he climbed to the balcony of the house where the two newly-weds were sleeping. Isabel awoke and told Diego what had happened.
Diego said her: “Kiss me or I will die….”,  but she refused because she was married now. Suddenly Diego died of a mixture of remorse and exhaustion.

The young woman began to think about how much Diego had loved her and all he had done for her and that he had died because she would not kiss him. She decided to go to the funeral and kiss him before he was buried. So she went to the San Pedro Church to find him. When Isabel bent down to kiss her dead sweetheart on the lips, she fell still and it was evident that she too had died of a broken heart. After that, the families decided to bury them together in the same grave.


The history of the Teruel Lovers has been a source of inspiration for all the arts:

  • In literature: “Comedia de los Amantes” by Tirso de Molina
  • The play “Los Amantes de Teruel” by Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch, was the basis for the libretto used by Tomás Bretón to compose his opera about the Lovers.
  • Art of painting: Los Amantes de Teruel by the Valencian artist Muñoz Degraín (Picasso’s teacher) is especially important….
  • The ballet and the ballet-film: Les Amants de Teruel, choreographed by Milko Sparamblek, on the music of Mikis Theodorakis (composed in 1958) and Henri Sauguet.  Film director: Raymond Rouleau. Cast: Ludmilla Tchérina, René-Louis Lafforgue, Milko Sparamblek. Release Year: 1962. Running Time: 93 minutes


Review: This puzzling experimental film is written and directed by Raymond Rouleau, who uses effects like changing colour tones and masks to put across a drama within a dance drama.

The set is a sound stage and the actors in this film are dancers on the stage, performing a mime-ballet derived from one particular legend. Both the enacted legend and the actual events affecting the dancers are parallel.

The lead dancer Isa (Ludmila Tchérina) is still nursing her wounds after her first love left her to stand alone at the altar. Now one of the dancers wants to expand his relationship with Isa — and soon after, the cad who jilted her suddenly shows up again. Tragedy follows closely behind.

by: Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide



The composition                                                                                                                        

Mikis Theodorakis composed the music in 1958, in Paris. Other names for “Les Amants de Teruel” are: Isa (the name of the lead dancer of the musical-ballet-film), and also: Σουίτα (Suite). More very nice and detailed other information about this subject can be found on the Dutch Mikis Theodorakis website, hosted by Ineke van der Maat. In fact there are “just” two songs (next to thirteen orchestral parts): “Les Amants de Teruel” (The Lovers of Teruel) , and “Quatorze Juillet” (The Fourteenth of July)




The lyrics of “Omorfi Poli”
L’un près de l’autre,
Se tiennent, les amants
Qui se sont retrouvés
Pour cheminer côte à côte.
Retrouvés dans la mort
Puisque la vie n’a pas su les comprendre,
Retrouvés dans l’amour
La haine n’ayant pas pu les atteindre.
Les feuilles, les feuilles tombent
Sur leur lit de noces.
Que la terre soit douce,
Soit douce aux amants de Teruel
Enfin réunis dans l’ombre…

L’un près de l’autre,
Ils dorment maintenant.
Ils dorment, délivrés
De l’appréhension de l’aube.
Se tenant par la main,
Dans l’immobilité de la prière,
Renouant leur serment
Dans la tranquille éternité des pierres,
La nuit leur ouvre ses portes.
Tout rentre dans l’ordre.
Leur étreinte demeure,
Demeure à jamais suspendue
Ainsi qu’une note d’orgue…

Ελληνικά (Γιάννης Θεοδωράκης) :

Όμορφη πόλη

Όμορφη πόλη φωνές μουσικές
απέραντοι δρόμοι κλεμμένες ματιές
ο ήλιος χρυσίζει χέρια σπαρμένα
βουνά και γιαπιά πελάγη απλωμένα

Θα γίνεις δικιά μου πριν έρθει η νύχτα
τα χλωμά τα φώτα πριν ρίξουν δίχτυα
θα γίνεις δικιά μου

Θα γίνεις δικιά μου πριν έρθει η νύχτα
τα χλωμά τα φώτα πριν ρίξουν δίχτυα
θα γίνεις δικιά μου

Η νύχτα έφτασε τα παράθυρα κλείσαν
η νύχτα έπεσε οι δρόμοι χαθήκαν



The other song: Quatorze Juillet                                                                                      

The song “Quatorze Juillet” / “The fourteenth of July”, is not so well known, but, however it sounds very much “French” and “Paris”, it is a Theodorakis composition. He lived many years in political exile in France. The Greek authorities concidered him as a threat for the country. Even his music was forbidden, and was only to be heard “underground”, in secret.                                                                                       


Il me vient par la fenêtre
Des musiques de la rue.
Chaque estrade a son orchestre.
Chaque bal a sa cohue.
Ces gens-là m’ont pris ma fête.
Je ne la reconnais plus.

Dans ma chambre, je me chante
L’air que nous avons valsé.
Je regarde la toquarde
Où tes doigts se sont posés.

Tu m’as dit : “Tu es si belle.”
Et tu as, l’instant d’après,
Ajouté : “La vie est bête.”.
J’ai compris que tu partais.
Si tu ne reviens jamais,
Il n’y aura plus de quatorze juillet.

Il me vient par la fenêtre
Un murmure qui s’éteint,
Les chansons d’une jeunesse
Attardée dans le matin.
N’allez pas troubler mon rêve.
Allez rire un peu plus loin.

Que m’apporte, que m’apporte
Cette joie de quelques heures ?
Je suis morte, je suis morte
Et je t’ai déjà rejoint
Et mon corps est près du tien
Mais personne n’en sait rien…



The Premiere of the ballet “Les Amants de Teruel”

The premiere of the ballet “Les Amants de Teruel” was at the Sarah Bernard Theatre in Paris, in 1959. Here a photo with Mikis Theodorakis, and his wife Myrto Altinoglou, visiting that premiere.




A very important question to you:                                                                                         On February 17, 2013  I got an email from Rider Cooey, Vancouver, Canada, about this film. An email with a special and wonderfully detailed story, written with much passion and a kind of despair.  An introduction:

“Yes, the Youtube excerpts disappeared, and if they were from an original print that would be a great loss. If they originated instead from the cassette produced by the Kultur company, the loss is not so great because the cassette is available in some collections, and for sale through Amazon. And, as I said in my email, the quality of the cassette was poor.

Yes, the beautiful music; it was a dominant part of my memory of the film– fifty years ago– but still vivid. I can listen to other recordings of the Rodrigo and the De Falla, but I don’t know where to find the Theodorakis contribution. I believe the music in The Lovers of Teruel is even more important than in many other films because there is so little dialogue– music is primarily what you hear, unlike most films. Come to think, that’s true of Z as well, and maybe others in the M(ikis)T(heodorakis) canon.”

Please take a look at my next post, it contains much nice information around an utterly important question:

A worldwide search for a perfect copy of the original film “Les Amants de Teruel” 



Important information

In the meantime it is November 2015. In June 2013 Guy Wagner, webmaster of the official Mikis Theodorakis website, admitted in an email to me that he read this post, knew about the question, but that he kept it silent that he owns a perfect copy of the original film….. This information, plus the indecent total content of  his email to me, including that I am no longer welcome on the Mikis Theodorakis website, and much more, all archived in my personal maps, made me clear that Guy Wagner has followed me a long time here, to find a reason to throw a stone to hit me. He searched not just one stone, but several. 

The post: A worldwide search for a perfect copy of the original film “Les Amants de Teruel” is therefore not relevant any longer.


The film: “Les Amants de Teruel” in a YouTube version


Updated: 5 May 2017



Sources and additional information                                                                                    

As I already explained in my home page, and in the disclaimer in this blog: I do not link to websites that are linking to the official Mikis Theodorakis website, not either to the official website itself.




About "The Music of Mikis Theodorakis"

The blog "The Music of Mikis Theodorakis" started in 2010. The not-for-profit activities of the initiator were and are to collect, create and publish information about the MUSIC of the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis via YouTube, Google+, Twitter, and this blog. Sources for this information are utterly strictly related with Mikis Theodorakis' Music only. The icon is a bouzouki. It is Greece's national symbol for freedom. During the Regime of the Colonels (Military Junta, 1967-1974) the bouzouki was forbidden. Mikis Theodorakis used this authentic Greek instrument in almost all his compositions, and Greeks were listening to Theodorakis's music in the underground scene, during the Military Junta time.
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