Silva, António José da
- Mary Térey-Smith
(b Rio de Janeiro, March 8, 1705; d Lisbon, Oct 18, 1739). Portuguese playwright of Brazilian birth . After his Jewish parents were arrested by the Inquisition in 1712 he was taken by relatives to Lisbon, where he grew up. Despite constant surveillance by the clergy he completed his studies at Coimbra University and became a respected lawyer, as well as engaging in literary and theatrical activities. In 1732 he obtained permission to present operas with life-size puppets at the Teatro dos Bonecos in the Bairro Alto during carnival. He produced seven operas based on his own plays in the five years to 1737, when, on the orders of the Inquisition, he was arrested and tried for sacrilegious libel. He was burnt at the stake in Lisbon’s infamous auto-da-fé of 1739.
Da Silva’s satirical style points to his familiarity with the writings of Cervantes and Molière. The two operas for which music is extant (in ...