Quando fratres sunt boni, sunt Bonifrates: l'opera di Bonifrates nel Portogallo del settecento

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In the first decades of the 18th century, the city of Lisbon offered several spaces for public entertainment. The Patio das Arcas, the most important theatre of the Portuguese capital, still offered Spanish comedies performed by actors native from the neighboring kingdom. From 1735, Portuguese noblemen could attend performances of Italian operas at the Trindade’s theatre. Also in the 1730s, two
new theatres opened in the capital offering a different kind of entertainment to Lisbon’s audiences: the puppet operas, performed by the so-called bonifrates. These dramatic works were true operas performed at the Bairro Alto and the Mouraria theatres, both of which counted on a complex stage machinery,
with music composed by some of the most important Portuguese composers active in Lisbon on the first half of the 18th century. This paper intends to study the theatrical activity developed in the puppet theatres of Lisbon in the beginning of the 18th century, taking into consideration the Spanish and Italian
theatrical traditions. The research, based on the libretti of the operas performed in these two theatres, architecture and scenography treatises and primary sources recovered from Portuguese archives, aims to reveal how the Italian operatical tradition contributed to the development of the first ‘Portuguese
Operas’, even though they were performed by actors «with souls of wire and bodies of cork».
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationMusica, storia, analisi e didattica
EditorsAntonio Caroccia, Francesco Di Lernia
Place of PublicationFoggia, Italia
PublisherClaudio Grenzi Editore
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print) 978-88-8431-564-9
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Musica
  • Musicologia
  • Bonifrates

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