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.

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