Theatro Lyrico Fluminense

The Theatro Lyrico Fluminense (also spelled as Teatro Lírico Fluminense) was one of the main theatres in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the mid-19th century and was for many years the primary theatre for opera performances in that city.

The firs opera composed and premiered in Brazil was José Maurício Nunes Garcia‘s I Due Gemelli ; the text has since been lost. A Noite de São João may be considered the first truly Brazilian opera, with a text in Portuguese by Elias Álvares Lobo. The most famous Brazilian composer was Antônio Carlos Gomes. Many of his operas premiered in Italy, with texts in Italian. However, Gomes often used typically Brazilian themes in his work, such as in his operas Il Guarany and Lo schiavo.

Melesio Morales was the most important opera composer in 19th-century Mexico

The nineteenth-century opera Guatemotzín by Mexican composer Aniceto Ortega was the first conscious attempt to incorporate pre-Hispanic elements into the formal characteristics of opera. Other important 19th-century Mexican operas are Agorante, rey de la Nubia by Miguel Meneses (premiered during the commemorative festivities for the birthday of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico), Pirro de Aragón by Leonardo Canales, and Keofar by Felipe Villanueva (STUB). The operatic works of Melesio Morales are the most important in Mexico in the 19th century. His operas Romeo y Julieta, Ildegonda, Gino Corsini, and Cleopatra were very successful among the public of Mexico City, and premiered in Europe. The last opera by Melesio Morales, Anita, which was composed in 1908, did not premiere until 2000.

Morales’s last period of composition coincided with the the creation of operas in Mexico by his son Julio Morales, and the operas of Felipe Villanueva, Ricardo Castro, and Gustavo E. Campa. The work of Ricardo Castro is a part of the tradition of historic, nationalist operas, such as Guatimotzin by Aniceto Ortega, Il Guarany by Antonio Carlos Gomes, Ollanta and Atahualpa by José María Valle Riestra, Huémac by Pascual de Rogatis, and Quiché Vinak by Jesús Castillo. This tradition formed part of a turn-of-the-century operatic movement, in which other important figures included Eliodoro Ortiz de Zárate (Chile), José María Ponce de León (Colombia), Augsto Azzali (Colombia), León Ribeiro (Uruguay), Francisco Hargreaves (Argentina), Miguel Rojas (Argentina), and Edoardo Torrens (Argentina).

The first Venezuelan opera was El maestro Rufo Zapatero, an opera buffa composed by José María Osorio in 1847. (However, many have called Virginia by José Ángel Montero, the first Venezuelan opera, though it premiered in 1877 under the auspices of “Ilustre Americano” Antonio Guzmán Blanco.) Earlier, various zarzuelas has been composed, but the first to premiere is believed to be Los alemanes en Italia by José Ángel Montero in the 1860s. Montero also premiered the one-act zarzuelas El Cumpleaños de Leonor, El Charlatán Mudo, La Modista, and many others. Another major Venezuelan composer was Reynaldo Hahn, who was greatly influenced by his teacher Jules Massenet. In zarzuela, other important another important figure was Pedro Elías Gutiérrez, who incorporated typically Venezuelan rhythms into his work.

Tomás Giribaldi‘s La Parisina is considered the first Uruguayan opera. It premiered in September 1878. The work was very successful and awakened public interest in operas written by Uruguayan composers. Because of this success, the Uruguayan Oscar Camps y Soler wrote his opera Esmeralda, la gitana, based on the Victor Hugo novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame; the opera premiered in Montevideo in 1879. Other Uruguayan composers that wrote opera in this era, motivated by the success of La Parisina, include León Ribeiro and Alfonso Broqua. León Ribeiro premiered his opera Colón en 1892 during the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America. Alfonso Broqua wrote one opera, Tabaré, based on the eponymous 1888 poem by José Zorrilla de San Martín.

In the 19th century, a number of operas were produced in Latin America in which conflict between Europeans and indigenous peoples was a theme. Among the most important operas of this type are Liropeya León Ribeiro (Uruguay); Guatimotzin by Aniceto Ortega (Mexico), based on a novel by Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda; Il Guarany by Antonio Carlos Gomes (1836-1896), based on a novel by the Brazilian José Martiniano de Alencar; Atzimba by Ricardo Castro (Mexico, 1864-1907); the three eponymous operas based on the Tabaré by José Zorrilla de San Martín, written, respectively, by Arturo Cosgaya Ceballos (Mexico, 1869-1937), Heliodoro Oseguera (Mexico), and Alfonso Broqua (Uruguay); and the three Ecuadorian operas based on the novel Cumandá o un drama entre salvajes by Juan León Mera, namely Cumandá by Luis H. Salgado (1903-1977), Cumandá o la virgen de las selvas by Pedro Pablo Traversari Salazar (1874-1956), and Cumandá by Sixto María Durán Cárdenas (1875-1947).

When the Theatro São Pedro de Alcântara burned down in 1851, Rio de Janeiro was left without a theatre big enough to host the touring European opera, theatre and dance companies that had been performing in the city since the late 1820s. The city decided to build a new theatre as a matter of urgency. The theatre was originally intended to last for only three years, until the Theatro São Pedro de Alcântara could be rebuilt. Its construction was entrusted to a relatively inexperienced contractor, Vicente Rodrigues, and work began on 29 September 1851. Initially called the Theatro Provisório (the Provisional Theatre), it was completed six months later. The contractor held a masked ball there on 21 February 1852, and on 25 March 1852, the theatre was officially inaugurated with a performance of Verdi‘s Macbeth.

Antônio Carlos Gomes whose first opera, A noite do castelo, premiered at the Theatro Lyrico Fluminense in 1861.

By 1854 the Theatro São Pedro de Alcântara had been rebuilt, but it was decided to keep the Theatro Provisório as well. As the theatre was no longer “provisional”, it was officially renamed the Theatro Lyrico Fluminense on 19 May 1854, celebrating with a performance of Verdi’s Ernani. For the next twenty years it was the leading opera house in Rio. The first two operas by Brazil’s most famous opera composer, Antônio Carlos Gomes were premiered at the theatre – A noite do castelo (1861) and Joana de Flandres (1862). In 1871, the theatre saw the Brazilian premiere of Gomes’ most famous work, Il Guarany. In addition to its opera season, the theatre also put on plays and concerts with appearances by performers such as Adelaide Ristori and Sigismond Thalberg.

Located in the Campo da Aclamação, the theatre had a simple neo-classical facade. Its rose painted interior was more elaborate. The ceiling was decorated with portrait medallions honouring various composers and dramatists including Auber, Donizetti, Verdi, Bellini, Meyerbeer, Schiller, and Servandoni. In the center was Rossini surrounded by palm leaves and a laurel wreath. The arena section provided seating for 830 men (514 in seats, and 316 on benches). Seating for women and their escorts was provided by four tiers of boxes built of pine wood. However, the theatre’s rapid and faulty construction led to many problems, not the least of which was the fear that it could collapse at any moment. There were also complaints about the poor acoustics and the ever-present dust that plagued the interior. The theatre was remodelled in 1865 when French tapestries and wallpaper, a ceiling fresco, and gas lighting were added.

Its demise began with the inauguration of the more magnificent Theatro Dom Pedro II in 1871. The Theatro Dom Pedro had better acoustics, a slightly larger seating capacity, and was located in a more fashionable street. The Theatro Lyrico Fluminense gradually went into decline and was demolished on 30 April 1875 to make way for a park.


Virtuoso flutist Mathieu-André Reichert was also a composer, influenced by and an influence to Brazilian music. The impeccable flute technique of Reichert’s in contact with the Brazilian ginga of Joaquim Antônio da Silva Callado Jr. is assumed to be the origin of the Brazilian flute lineage.

The son of nomadic musicians, Reichert began to play in cafés early in his childhood, soon becoming a professional. Taken by professor Jules Demeur and François-Joseph Fétis to the Brussels Conservatory, he had such a fulgurant performance there. At 17, he won the Conservatory’s first prize and was hired as musician of the Belgium court. At the same time, he became an international concerto flutist, playing in Europe and the United States. In 1859, Brazil’s Emperor D. Pedro II hired a group of European virtuosi to play at the palace. On June 8, 1859, Dutch violinists André and Ludwig Gravestein, Italian trompa player Cavalli, Italian clarinetist Cavallini, and Reichert arrived in Rio.

The first performance was at the Teatro Lírico Fluminense, and Reichert became the first flute of the Teatro Provisório. On July 3 of the same year, he opened in the position of soloist and performed throughout São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Pernambuco, Bahia, and Pará and had a great number of noted disciples, among them Manoel Marcelino Vale and Duque Estrada Meyer.

In Rio, he became friends with Joaquim Antônio da Silva Callado Jr., the great Brazilian flutist of those times. But he inadvertently provoked the animosity of the fans of Callado, who pretended to create a rivalry between them that never existed.

Reichert produced more interest around the instrument throughout Rio. Not only was he a splendid player and composer, but he was one of the introducers of the modern Boëhm system of the modern transverse flute, opening new possibilities for the instrument. The system, created by the German Theobald Boëhm, suffered strong opposition by the supporters of the old wooden flute with a variable number of keys.

By and by, Reichert became interested and, finally, passionate by the music of the Carioca chorões (choro players). His several compositions, especially his polka “La Coquette,” are evidences of the assimilation of the Brazilian way of playing. This polka was taken into the choro repertory of those times under the title of “As Faceiras,” being played, according to Batista Siqueira, by all music bands of Rio de Janeiro.

Reichert ended his days in complete poverty, dying of cerebral convulsion caused by meningoencephalitis, eight days before Callado (who died in the same epidemic, which was ravaging Rio at the time). Reichert was buried at the Cemitério de São João Batista, Rio. ~ Alvaro Neder, All Music Guide (from wikipedia and