Si ridesta il leon di Castiglia
Alfin questo corsaro… cento leggiadre vergini
Tutte le feste al tempio… Sì, vendetta
Vedi le fosche notturne spoglie
Addio del passato
Eri tu che macchiavi
La Vergine degli angeli
Come in quest’ora bruna
O Carlo ascolta
Gloria all’Egitto ad Iside
È sogno o realtá?
Besides being the most respected and popular Italian opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) was also a proeminent political figure of the Risorgimento Risorgimento, worshipped by hundreds of thousands of Italians. From the patriotic exhortation on the Eufrates banks (Nabucco, 1842) to the dark and mysterious woods of Windsor (Falstaff, 1893)), his vast work – excepting few incursions in sacred music – adds to an extensive gallery of heroes and heroines which still today delight and move us. Rigoletto (1851), Il Trovatore and La traviata (both premiered in 1853)are the three operas of his middle period maybe more often performed today. However, later operas like La forza del destino (1861), Aida (1871), Don Carlo (1867, italian version) or Otello (1887) are also frequently performed over the world. Cristiana Oliveira (soprano). Roland Wood (baryton) and the São Carlos Opera House Chorus invite us for a Verdi’s chronological journey where they will sing arias, duets and chorus of some of his most cherished and everlasting operas.
The São Carlos Opera House Choir was formed in 1943 under the direction of Mario Pellegrini performing on a permanent basis in the great operatic repertoire as well as in sacred music. Between 1962 and 1975 the TNSC Chorus participated in the Companhia de Ópera Portuguesa Season ( Portuguese Opera Company, then based at Teatro da Trindade) and toured to Madeira, Azores, Angola and, 1965, to Oviedo by invitation of Teatro Campoamor. It was awarded the Classical Music Award by Casa da Imprensa (The Press House). The choir took part in world premieres of operas by Portuguese composers such as Fernando Lopes Graça's D. Duardos e Flérida (1970) and António Victorino d’Almeida's Canto da Ocidental Praia (19721). The first full-time choral nucleus was formed in 1980, whilst the Chorus' professional status was achieved in 1983 under the direction of Antonio Brainovitch. Gianni Beltrami, who assumed its leadership in 1985, is responsible for the Choir total artistic affirmation benefiting from working conditions till then unheard in Portugal. The following works marked that phase: Stravinky’s Oedipus Rex, Kurt Weil’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, De Pablo’s Kiú, Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. At the invitation of RAI, the chorus participated in Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts in Turin. After Gianni Beltrami’s death, João Paulo Santos took on the direction as the first Portuguese to hold that position in the entire history of the São Carlos Opera House. He was responsible for successes such as Boito’s Mefistofele , Corghi’s Blimunda and Divara, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the European Community Youth Orchestra, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, Schnittke’s Faust and Requiem, Stravinsky’s Perséphone and Le Rossignol, Tchakovski’s Evgeni Onegin, Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass, Wagner’s Tannhäuser and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre. In 1991, Europália Celebrations took the Chorus to Brussels to perform in Verdi’s Requiem. (1991). Within the scope of Expo-98, the Chorus performed at the closing concert and has sang under the direction of some of the most prestigious maestri such as Antonino Votto, Tullio Serafin, Vittorio Gui, Carlo Maria Giulini, Oliviero de Fabritiis, Otto Klemperer, Molinari-Pradelli, Franco Ghione, Alberto Erede, Alberto Zedda, Georg Solti, Nello Santi, Nicola Rescigno, Bruno Bartoletti, Heinrich Hollreiser, Richard Bonynge, García Navarro, Wolfgang Rennert, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Franco Ferraris, James Conlon, Harry Christophers, Michel Plasson and Marc Minkowski, among others. The TNSC Chorus was awarded the Classical Music Award by Casa da Imprensa (The Press House) and has also participated in operas and concerts conducted by the most important Portuguese conductors, Pedro de Freitas Branco being of special note. Maestro Andreoli is its present Choir Master.
The Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa (OSP - Portuguese Symphony Orchestra), formed in 1993, is one of the São Carlos Opera House Theatre's performing arts groups. OSP has been carrying out its own symphonic activity, including regular concert programmes which have included its participation in Portuguese and international music festivals. Within the sphere of other types of cooperation, the Orchestra presence at the following events should also be pointed: the 8th Eurovision Young Musicians Contest broadcasted by Eurovision to fifteen countries (1996), the Granada 47th. Music and Dance International Festival Final Concert (1997), the Frankfurt Book Fair Opening Gala Concert, the Lisbon Expo 98 Final Concert, Alicante Contemporary Music Festival (2000) and the Mérida Festival of Classical Theatre (2003). OSP cooperates regularly with RTP – Rádio e Televisão de Portugal which was responsible for radio broadcasts of its concerts and operas on Antena 2 and televised broadcasting of Wagner’s Der Ring Des Nibelungen on RTP2. RTP also joins forces with OSP in the Pedro de Freitas Branco Award for Young Conductors, in the RDP Young Musicians Award and in the International Young Performers Showcase. OSP has performed in opera and concert seasons under the direction of renowned conductors such as Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Alain Lombard, Nello Santi, Alberto Zedda, Harry Christophers, George Pehlivanian, Michel Plasson, Krzysztof Penderecki, Djansug Kakhidze, Milán Horvat, Jeffrey Tate and Iuri Ahronovitch among others, and OSP discography includes two CDs for the Marco Polo label with Joly Braga Santos’ Symphonies No. 1, No. 5, No. 3 and No. 6 recorded under the direction of Álvaro Cassuto, by-then its Principal Music Director and “Crossing Borders” with music by Wagner, Gershwin, and Mendelssohn conducted of Julia Jones in a live recording for Antena 2. The position of OSP Principal Music Director was occupied by José Ramón Encinar (1999/2001), Zoltán Peskó (2001/2004) and Julia Jones (2008/2011); Donato Renzetti was Principal Guest Conductor from 2005 to 2007 and Joana Carneiro is presently OSP Principal Music Director.