The musical farça “A Saloia Namorada” (1793) by António Leal Moreira and Domingos Caldas Barbosa in the context of late eighteeth-century opera in Portugal

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2012-05

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Bernardes, Ricardo

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This dissertation aims to analyze the musico-stylistic characteristics, tendencies and trends of the farça A Saloia Namorada (1793) in the complex landscape of musical theater in the late eighteenth-century Portuguese traditions. Recent scholarship has renewed attention on eigtheenth-century Portuguese operatic genres in Portugal, works both in the serious and comic traditions, especially during the reign of Queen Maria I (1777 - 1799). This was a time when local composers absorbed a mix of influences, finding specific solutions for music and libretto structures, during financially restrictive time usually seen as conservative and not as productive for the arts as the previous decades had been. During this period Portuguese musical theater, especially the entremez, found its own textual and musical standards as ways of expression that can now be defined as a “Portuguese manner”, with structures based on the taste and characteristics of the local audiences. The music by António Leal Moreira (1758 - 1819) for A Saloia, a one-act work on a libretto by the controversial Brazilian poet Domingos Caldas Barbosa (1740 – 1800), had long been considered lost until the author of this dissertation discovered a full score and a set of parts of the work at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, USA, in November 2008. The importance of A Saloia lies in the fact that it is the only extant eighteenth-century operatic work in Portuguese that features musical recitatives instead of spoken dialogues, creating an unique hybrid work of Portuguese and Italian operatic traditions. The dissertation also provides an overview of the dramatic output of Leal Moreira, a composer who -- still not yet fairly inserted in the modern Portuguese “musical canon” -- was a key figure for the developments of Portugal’s late settecento musical environment, having worked extensively in the creation of serious court serenatas and sacred events, as well as serving director of the Lisbon opera theaters of Rua dos Condes (1790 - 92) and São Carlos (1793 - 1799), where entremezes and Italian operas were staged.

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