Vingança da cigana, A (‘The Gypsy’s Revenge’)
- Manuel Carlos De Brito
(‘The Gypsy’s Revenge’)
Drama joco-sério in one act by António Leal Moreira to a libretto by Domingos Caldas Barbosa; Lisbon, Teatro de S Carlos, 1794.
The libretto, by the Brazilian mulatto poet Caldas Barbosa, paints a vivid social picture of late 18th-century Portugal. The opera is set in the working-class Ribeira district of Lisbon, near the river Tagus, and the characters include the gypsy Pepa (soprano), the fishmonger Tarelo (bass), the sergeant Chibante (baritone), the servant Lambisca (soprano), the barber Grilo (bass) and his black friend Cazumba (bass). There are only two middle-class characters, the French-Italian hairdresser Monsieur Pierre (tenor) and the widow Camila (soprano). The peaceful co-existence of the three couples is momentarily disturbed by a row between the two suitors for the hand of Pepa. The opera follows contemporary trends in its extensive use of vocal ensembles, and it also alternates spoken dialogue with arias, duets and recitatives. The general style of the music betrays the influence of Paisiello and Cimarosa; Monsieur Pierre’s picaresque aria in which he recounts his travels in a mixture of different languages recalls Figaro’s similar aria in Paisiello’s ...