Sr. José do capote, a worker and an opera lover, is the monad contemplated in this article. He is a theatrical figure, the protagonist of the one-act burlesque parody Sr. José do capote assistindo a uma representação do torrador (Sr. José of the Cloak attends a performance of The Roaster, 1855), but also an idea that expresses in abbreviated form the urban environment of nineteenth-century Lisbon, the theatrical and operatic sensibility of its citizens, and the politics of their engagement with the stage. This article is a history of Il trovatore and of bel canto claimed for a nascent culture of democracy in nineteenth-century Portugal.
Sr. José, the Worker mélomane, or Opera and Democracy in Lisbon ca. 1850
Gabriela Cruz teaches music history and opera at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is currently completing a book titled Spectacular Song: On the Modernity of Grand Opera. Her work on nineteenth-century opera, early sound recording, and Portuguese film has appeared in Cambridge Opera Journal, Opera Quarterly, Current Musicology, Revista Portuguesa de Musicologia, and most recently in Opera and Video: Spectatorship and Technology (Bern, 2012) and Music in Print and Beyond: From Hildegard von Bingen to the Beatles (Rochester, 2013).
Research for this article was funded by the project “Teatro para Rir:” A comédia musical em teatros de língua portuguesa (1849–1900), PTDC/EAT-MMU/098104/2008, Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. Thanks to the members of the comedy research group, my colleagues at the Center for the Study of Sociology and Aesthetics of Music in Lisbon, for the many pleasures of collaboration and discussion between 2009 and 2013. My gratitude goes also to Mary Ann Smart, who invited me to present on operatic parody in Lisbon at the conference Italian Opera and Urban Culture, 1810–1870, convened at the University of California, Berkeley, 8–9 November 2011, and to Dana Gooley, Alessandra Campana, and Heather Hadlock who read later versions of the manuscript closely and whose observations and questions infinitely improved the final version.
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Gabriela Cruz; Sr. José, the Worker mélomane, or Opera and Democracy in Lisbon ca. 1850. 19th-Century Music 1 November 2016; 40 (2): 81–105. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ncm.2016.40.2.81
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