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On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of The Courts of Jupiter, Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB) challenged the director Ricardo Neves-Neves to adapt this tragicomedy by Gil Vicente. For this “reconstruction”, we invited from the jazz world the composer and pianist Filipe Raposo, whose mission was to build an opera structure around Gil Vicente’s play and music. With the participation of the ensemble La Nave Va and musical direction by António Carrilho. The Alma Ensemble is also a part of the work, with vocal coordination by Filipa Palhares.
This is the first work to come out of the Portuguese Opera Laboratory, created by the CCB in partnership with CESEM and APARM.
Portuguese Opera Laboratory
The creation of a Portuguese opera laboratory particularly dedicated to the recovery of works/pieces written by Portuguese composers or residents in Portugal, is an old dream that is now becoming a reality.
Indeed, for a long time we felt the need to create a structure that would showcase the dramatic/drama/theater works that rose from the investigation that so many researchers have lead, over the years, in the depths of countless national and foreign archives and libraries, with the ultimate aim of bringing to the public the musical dramatic productions that filled the palaces, manor houses and theaters of our country over the centuries.
In addition to an historical investigation of fundamented recovery work, the Portuguese Opera Laboratory pursues another and unavoidable objective: by considering the operatic genre as not just a musical genre but, above all, a theatrical genre, we intend to assume the structure as a forum for the development of an in-depth work, in which the vocal technical requirements of each work does not overlap the drama of the general discourse, allowing the new generations of singers to develop dramatic skills that are still relatively undeveloped today.
Synopsis of The Courts of Jupiter
Garcia de Resende, an eyewitness to the presentation of The Courts of Jupiter, suggests the 4th of August 1521, Sunday, as the date for the presentation for the Court of D. Manuel I.
It is a tragicomedy created for the marriage and departure of Infanta D. Beatriz of Savoy, to the Duke of that city.
In this Vincentian piece – the last to be performed in the lifetime of “The Fortunate”, who would pass away on that same year – Providence, entrusted by God, orders Jupiter, king of the elements, to arrange some good planets and signs for the journey along the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, arriving finally in Savoy.
The sea, the winds, the Sun (Phoebus) and the Moon (Diana) are informed of the undertaking.
The different elements of the Court – who departed in a pompous procession headed by the King himself, followed by the Queen, the Prince and the Infantes, towards the Cathedral and from there, to the manor of the widow Queen, D. Leonor, to bid her farewell – accompany D. Beatriz’s fleet to the mouth of the Tagus, swimming, metamorphosed into fish, for about twenty leagues, until they listen, coming from the open sea, the menacing song of thirty thousand mermaids. Faced with the threat, Mars is called and ordered to protect the splendorous fleet of eighteen ships.
As a friend and admirer of Portuguese achievements, Mars gives enthusiastic praise to Portugal. In the end, an enchanted moorish, summoned by the sounds of romance, brings and gives the Duchess of Savoy magic gifts: a ring, a thimble and a machete sword/knife.
Cast & Creative
Artistic and musicological coordination of the Laboratório de Ópera Portuguesa Jenny Silvestre
Scientific coordination of Laboratório de Ópera Portuguesa Luísa Cymbron (CESEM/ FCSH)
Directed and adaptation Ricardo Neves-Neves
New music composition Filipe Raposo
Soloists Alma Ensemble: Isabel Fernandes, Liliana Sebastião, Rita Filipe, Teresa Projecto, Frederico Projecto, João Barros, Tiago Amado Gomes, Tiago Mota
Musical direction Alma Ensemble Filipa Palhares
Ensemble La Nave Va Catarina Bastos (Violin), Gabriela Barros (Viola), Joana Tavares (Viola), César Gonçalves (Cello), Duncan Fox (Contrabass), António Carrilho (Flautas de bisel), Gonçalo Freire (Flautas de bisel), Stephan Mason (Trumpet), Armando Martins (Horn), Richard Buckley (Percussion), Helena Raposo (Alude, Vihuela, Tiorba), Hélder Rodrigues (Trombone), Jenny Silvestre (Cravo)
Musical Direction La Nave Vá António Carrilho
Coordination of musical historical recovery Nuno Raimundo (CESEM/FCSH)
Correpetição Jenny Silvestre
Design José Manuel Castanheira
Design Assistant António Muralha
Costume Design Rafaela Mapril
Costume AssistantPatrícia Margarida Silva
Confection Lígia Garrido e Helena Jardim
Makeup Art and Hairdressings Cidália Espadinha
Makeup Art Assistants Marco Santos, Catarina Félix, Emma Louise
Light design Alexandre Coelho
Video Rute Soares
Sound engeneering and design Sérgio Delgado
Communication and Press Office Mafalda Simões
Diretor Assistance and scene support André Magalhães, António Ignês, Juliana Campos and Rita Carolina Silva
Production TdE Andreia Alexandre
Executive production TdE Adriana Gonçalves
Production Intern Assistant Eliana Lima
Production Culturproject Nuno Pratas
Co-production Centro Cultural de Belém, Cineteatro Louletano, Academia Portuguesa de Artes Musicais, Teatro do Eléctrico e Culturproject
Lisboa, CCB-Pequeno Auditório, 5 AND 6 FEV
Loulé, Cineteatro Louletano, 28 AND 29 OUT