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Marcos Portugal




Portugal, Portogallo, Marcos António (da Fonseca)

b. 24 March 1762 in Lisbon, d. 17 February 1830 in Rio de Janeiro.  Portuguese organist and composer.  From 1771 studied composition under João de Sousa Carvalho at the Seminário da Patriarcal, Lisbon, as well as singing and the organ.  On 23 July 1783 he was admitted to the Irmandade de Santa Cecília as composer and organist of the Patriarcal.  A long and fruitful collaboration with the Royal Family began in 1782, with the composition of church music for religious feasts at the Royal Chapels. As maestro at the Teatro do Salitre from 1785, he composed a number of entremezes, as well as Portuguese operas using translated Italian libretti and royal birthday odes. In September1792 he left for Italy, where he began the string of successful operas that rapidly earned him an international reputation.  Visiting Lisbon briefly in 1795, he returned in 1800, becoming master of the Seminário da Patriarcal, and maestro at the Teatro de São Carlos until Carnival 1807.  Here he wrote 12 opere serie, mostly for Angelica Catalani as prima donna, and the opera buffa, L’oro non compra amore, for Elisabetta Gafforini. The year 1807 was exceptional due to an unusually large number of religious works Portugal employing the 6 organs of the Mafra Basilica when the Prince Regent, later King João VI, and court resided at the Palace. When Napoleon’s troops entered Lisbon in November 1807, Portugal remained in the capital and revised Demofoonte for Napoleon’s birthday in 1808.  He was intermittently maestro at the Teatro de São Carlos until January 1811. The Prince Regent called him to Rio de Janeiro, where the Royal Family had been living since March 1808. Upon arriving, on 11 June 1811, he was appointed music master to the sons and daughters of Prince João, and became the official Royal Composer. Although he composed the stage work A saloia namorada, his main activity here was church music. When the Portuguese Court returned to Lisbon in 1821, he remained at the service of his pupil, Prince Pedro, later Emperor Pedro I of Brazil, being confirmed as master of music to his daughters on 10 December 1824. In September 1822 he composed the Hino da Independência do Brasil, which, together with a Missa Breve dated December 1824, are the only two known works of this last period. Apparently he left no descendants, but Maria Joana, his wife for at least 35 years, survived him.



A.    Vocal Music

I. Mass settings

Missa, 4v., b.c. (1788), P- Lf, Ln, VV, EVc, EVp, BRc <> Missa Grande (Kyrie and Gloria), 4v, orch. (1790 ?), P-Lf, Ln, Lant, EVc, VV, FAs, BR-Rem <> Credo (Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei), 4v., orch. (1795), P-Lf, BR-Rem <> Missa, 5v., 4 organs (1806), P-Mp, VV <> Missa breve, 5v., 5 organs (1806), P-Mp, Ln <> Missa (Kyrie and Gloria), 4 v., 6 organs (1807), P-Mp, 2nd version, 4v, orch (1814), P-La* <> Credo (C., S., B. and A. D.), 4v., 6 organs (1807), P-Mp, 2nd version, 4v, orch. (1808), Sindicato dos Músicos, Lisbon, Portugal*, La <> Missa Festiva (Kyrie and Gloria), 4v, orch (1810), private collection*, P-La <> Credo (C., S., B. and A. D.), 4v., orch. (1810), P-La*, BR-Rn <> Missa de Requiem, 4v., Orch. (1816), F-Pi*, Cabido Metropolitano, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil <> Credo (C., S., B. and A. D.), 4v., orch. (1817), P-La* <> Missa festiva, 4v., orch. (1817), P-La*, Cabido Metropolitano, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil <> Missa Breve, 4v., orch. (1824), BR-Rn*, Rem, Cabido Metropolitano, Rio de Janeiro <> 8 other masses, another Credo (C., S., B. and A. D.), all undated.


II. Psalms, other liturgical forms

Matinas da Conceição, 4v., orch. (1795), P-La <> Te Deum, 4v., orch. (1795), P-Lf <> Te Deum, 8v., orch. (1800), P-La*, Ln <> Vespro della Beata Virgine (without Magnificat), 5v., 2 Fag., 2 Vc., organ [1800/1803], P-Ln, Lf <> Matinas da Conceição, 4v., orch. (1802), P-Ln, Lf, VV <> Te Deum, 4v., orch. (1802), P-La, Ln, Lf, BR-Rem, Cabido Metropolitano, Rio de Janeiro, E-Mc, Mpg <> Matinas de S. Francisco, 4v., 4 organs (1804), P-Mp, Ln <> Vésperas alternadas, 5v., 6 organs (1804), P-Mp, Ln, VV <> Matinas de S. António, 4v., 5 organs (1807), P-Mp <> Matinas de Sexta-feira Santa, 4v., 6 organs (1807), P-Mp, 2nd version, 4v, orch (1813), P-La* <> Matinas de S. Pedro Regalado, 4v., 6 organs (1807), P-VV <> Matinas de defuntos, 4v., orch (1812), F-Pi*, P-Lf <> Miserere para Quinta feira Santa, 4v, 6 organs (1807), P-Mp, 2nd version, 4v, orch, organ (1813), P-La* <> Te Deum, 4v., 5 organs (1807), P-Mp, 2nd version, 4v, orch (1813), P-La* <> Matinas do Natal, 6v., orch. (1811), P-La*, Ln <> Matinas da Epifania, 4v, 5 organs (1807), P-Mp, Ln, 2nd version, 4v., orch., organ (1812), P-La* <> Vésperas de Natal, 4v., orch., organ (1812), private collection* <> Matinas de S. Sebastião, 4v., orch. (1814), P-La*, BR-Rem <> Te Deum, 4 v., orch. (1817), P-Ln* <> another Vespers set, another Te Deum, undated, 10 responsories, Benedictus, 30 Vespers psalms, 5 Magnificats, 2 Litanies, Cantata a Nossa Senhora, hymns, sequences and other sacred works, at least 30 of which lost.


III. Occasional works

Hymno de agradecimentos a Lord Wellington [1809/10], P-Ln* <> Cantata em louvor de Lord Wellington [1810], P-Ln <> Hino Patrótico (1809), D-HVs, F-Pn P-Ln <> Augurio di felicità, o sai Il trionfo d’amore (M. A. Portugal, after P. Metastasio) serenata (7 November 1817 Rio de Janeiro), P-Lant <> Hino para a Aclamação de S. M. F. o Senhor D. João VI, (1817), BR-Rem <> Hino da Independência do Brasil (1822), BR-Rem, BR-Rn.


IV.  Songs

9 modinhas and Duetto italiano in Jornal de Modinhas, Lisbon, [1792-96, 1801].


B.     Stage Works

I. Operas

A noiva fingida (trans. of G. M. Diodati Le trame deluse) drama jocoso 2 acts (1790 Lisbon) <> Os viajantes ditosos (trans. of F. Livigni I viaggiatori felici) drama jocoso 2 acts (1790 Lisbon), P-VV (one aria) <> O lunatico iludido (trans. of C. Goldoni Il mondo della luna) drama 3 acts (1791 Lisbon) <> La confusione della somiglianza, o siano I due gobbi (C. Mazzini) dramma giocoso 2 acts (Spring 1793 Florence), A-KR, D-Dl, Hs, E-Mc, F-Pc, GB-Lbl, I-Fc, Mr <> Il poeta in campagna (F. S. Zini) [dramma giocoso] 2 acts (9.1793 Parma) <> Il Cinna (A. Anelli) dramma serio 2 acts (Autumn 1793), I-Fc <> Rinaldo d’Aste (G. M. Foppa) commedia con musica 1 act (4.1.1794 Venice), I-Gl <> Lo spazzacamino principe (G. M. Foppa) commedia com musica 1 act (4.1.1794 Venice), D-Dl, F-Pc, I-Fc, Mr, PAc <> Demofoonte (P. Metastasio) dramma per musica 3 acts (8.2.1794 Milan) B-Bc, I-Mr*, P-Ln (Act 1), US-Wc (Act 1), P-Laa (Act 2) <> La vedova raggiratice, o siano I due sciocchi delusi (anon.) dramma giocoso 2 (Spring 1794 Florence), D-Dl, I-Fc <> Lo stratagemma, ossiano I due sordi (G. M. Foppa) intermezzo 1 act (Carnival 1795 Florence) <> L’avventuriere (C. Mazzolà?) farsa 1 act (1795 Florence) <> L’inganno poco dura (F. S. Zini) commedia 2 acts (Carnival 1796 Naples), I-Nc <>, Zulima (F. Gonella di Ferrari) dramma per musica 2 acts (Spring 1796 Florence), F-Pc, I-Fc, Mc <> La donna di genio volubile (G. Bertati) dramma giocoso 2 acts (5.10.1796 Venice), A-Wgm, D-Dl, E-Mc, F-Pc, I-Fc, Mr, Rsc, US-Bp <> Il ritorno di Serse (F. Gonella di Ferrari) dramma serio 2 acts (4.1797 Florence), I-Fc, Mr, Pac, P-VV <> Le donne cambiate (G. M. Foppa) farsa 1 act (22.10.1797 Venice), E-Mc, D-Dl, Hs, F-Pc, I-Fc, P-VV <> Fernando nel Messico (F. Tarducci) dramma per musica 3 acts (16.1.1798 Venice), GB-Lbl*, P-La (Act 1), P-VV (Act 2) <> La maschera fortunata (G. M. Foppa) farsa 1 act (5.2.1798 Venice) E-Mc, F-Pc, I-Fc, Mr <> L’equivoco in equivoco (G. M. Foppa) farsa 1 act (Spring 1798 Verona), E-Mc <> Gli Orazi e i Curiazi (S. A. Sografi) Tragedia per musica (2.9.1798 Ferrara) I-Fc <> La madre virtuosa (G. M. Foppa) operetta di sentimento 1 act (30.10.1798 Venice), E-Mc <> Alceste (S. A. Sografi) tragedia per musica 3 (26.12.1798 Venice) I-Mr <> Non irritar le donne, ossia Il chiamantesi filosofo (G. M. Foppa) farsa 1 act (27.12.1798 Venice) F-Pc <> La pazza giornata, ovvero Il matrimonio di Figaro (G. Rossi) dramma comico per musica 2 acts (26.12.1799 Venice) F-Pc, I-Fc <> Idante, ovvero I sacrifici d’Ecate (G. Schmidt) dramma per musica 2 acts (13.2.1800 Milan) I-Mr* <> Adrasto re d’Egitto (G. de Gamerra) dramma per musica 3 acts (21.12.1800 Lisbon) <> La morte di Semiramide (G. Caravita) dramma serio 2 acts (23.12.1801 Lisbon) P-Ln*, La <> La Zaira (M. Botturini) Tragedia per musica 2 acts (19.2.February 1802 Lisbon) P-La, <> Il trionfo di Clelia (S. A. Sografi) dramma serio 2 acts (Winter 1802 Lisbon) <> La Sofonisba (del Mare) dramma serio 2 acts (Carnival 1803 Lisbon) <> La Merope (M. Botturini) dramma serio 2 (12.1804 Lisbon), P-La <> L’oro non compra amore (G. Caravita) dramma giocoso 2 acts (Winter 1804 Lisbon) E-Mc, F-Pc, GB-Lcm, I-Mr, Nc, P-Lant (Act 1), VV (Act 2), US-Bu <> Il duca di Foix (G. Caravita) dramma per musica 2 acts (Winter 1805 Lisbon) <> Ginevra di Scozia (G. Rossi) dramma eroico per musica 2 acts (Winter 1805 Lisbon) <> La morte di Mitridate (S. A. Sografi) tragedia per musica 2 acts (Carnival 1806 Lisbon), P-La <> Artaserse (P. Metastasio) dramma serio 2 acts (Autumn 1806 Lisbon), GB-Lcm <> A saloia namorada (D. Caldas Barbosa) farsa 1 act (1812 Rio de Janeiro).



II. Entremezes

Os bons amigos (1786 Lisbon) <> A casa de café (1787 Lisbon) <> A castanheira ou a Brites Papagaia (J. C. de Figueiredo, 1788 Lisbon) <> O amor artifice (?after Goldoni, 1790 Lisbon) <> O amante militar (?after Goldoni, 1791 Lisbon), all lost.


III. Occasional stage works

Pequeno drama (17.12.1787 Lisbon), P- La <> Licença pastoril (1788 Lisbon), P-La <> Idilio (J. P. Monteiro) (25.7.1788 Lisbon) <> A inveja abatida (J. P. Monteiro) dramma (13.5.1789 Lisbon) <> O amor conjugal (J. P. Monteiro) drama (25.7.1789 Lisbon)


C. Instrumental Music

Sinfonia, D, 6 organs, P-VV <> Sinfonia, D, orch., P-Lf, Lant <> Sonata e variações, D, US-Wc <> 2 sonatas, minuets.


            D. Pedagogical Works

            Solfejos para uso de SS. AA. RR. (1811), P-Ln <> arrangements of opera excerpts, P-Ln*


Marcos Portugal was not only the most prolific Portuguese composer ever, but also the most successful, both in Portugal and abroad.  His European fame rests above all on his comic operas, especially La confusione della somiglianza, Lo spazzacamino principe, La donna di genio volubile, Le donne cambiate and L’oro non compra amore, and on the prima donna showpiece arias in La morte di Semiramide and Gli Orazi e i Curiazi.  In Portugal and Brazil, however, he was equally famed as a composer of sacred music, which he composed throughout his working life apart from the Italian period. His three best-known works remained in repertory for a century or more: the Missa Grande (c.1790), the Matinas da Conceição (1802) and the Te Deum (1802).

Portugal’s operas were rooted in the Neapolitan style of Cimarosa.  Yet as early as 1794, in Le donne cambiate he was more melodious and forward-looking, using such devices as a ‘stupefaction ensemble’ and certain turns of phrase more readily associated with Rossini. His Lisbon operas were perhaps less adventurous musically, relying more on Catalani’s virtuosity.  In his church music the elaborate stile concertato of his early years for the Patriarcal, gradually developed into a pompous, grandiloquent style fit to exhibit royal power at the Royal Chapels. This is particularly so with the works for male voices and 6 organs at the Mafra Basilica, many of which were reworked for mixed voices and large orchestra in Rio de Janeiro, where the virtuosi castrati, much appreciated by the King, played a very influential role.




I. F, da SILVA, Marcos António Portugal, in: Archivo Pittoresco, Vol. XI, 1868, 241-42, 290-92, 311-12, 334-36, 350-51 <> E. VIEIRA, Diccionario biographico de musicos portuguezes, Lisbon, 1900, Vol. 2, 191-230 <> M. P. P. A. CARVALHAES, Marcos Portugal na sua musica dramatica <> A. DE ANDRADE, Francisco Manuel da Silva e seu tempo, Rio de Janeiro, 1967 <> J.-P. SARRAUTE, Marcos Portugal: ensaios, Lisbon, 1979 <>, C. P. de MATTOS, José Maurício Nunes Garcia. Biografia, Rio de Janeiro 1997 <> D. CRANMER, Opera in Portugal 1793-1828, Diss. London 1997 <> A. J. MARQUES, Marcos Portugal (1762-1830) e o Brasil, in: Sonoridades luso-afro-brasileiras, Lisboa 2004, 61-85.