Monodrama based on the poetry of Augusto dos Anjos
(Work in Progress)
for solo Baritone and dancer.
Chamber arrangement for piano and violoncello.
Agusto dos Anjos (1884-1914) is a seminal poet in Brazilian literature. A single volume of published poetry called “Eu” (“I”) remains one of the most widely read and highly influential books in the country.
As a teenager I memorized his poems, I was not alone in that. One could often hear some random drunk bohemian reciting his verses in the middle of the night. His sound architecture of metric verse and fluent alliterations, added by an exotic vocabulary and dark existential themes, it had all the elements to seduce the mind of many a young artist who shared the Portuguese language.
Rumors about his mysterious life were often heard. For some reason I constructed a story in my mind: that he had been a doctor who had lost his young wife. I have no idea where I got that story, I imagine some contamination from Poe’s Lenore and the myth of Orpheus must have influenced our young minds. None of this was ever corroborated by his biography which I only read years later. He was in fact a school teacher with a law degree. He did in fact experience close loss, but that of his child, not of his wife.
The libretto for this opera comprises a choice of Dos Anjos verses, organized for dramatic continuity, staged with the female dancer to enact different episodes of his real and imaginary life.
Augusto dos Anjos
Vês! Ninguém assistiu ao formidável
Enterro de tua última quimera.
Somente a Ingratidão – esta pantera –
Foi tua companheira inseparável!
Acostuma-te à lama que te espera!
O Homem, que, nesta terra miserável,
Mora, entre feras, sente inevitável
Necessidade de também ser fera.
Toma um fósforo. Acende teu cigarro!
O beijo, amigo, é a véspera do escarro,
A mão que afaga é a mesma que apedreja.
Se a alguém causa inda pena a tua chaga,
Apedreja essa mão vil que te afaga,
Escarra nessa boca que te beija!