(*) Ewa Procter
I want to start this article with a comment: in recent years, different Brazilian producers staged a number of musicals that were homage to famous Brazilian musical divas. I had the occasion of reviewing some of these musicals for “The Umbrella”: the most recent ones were on Emilinha Borba last year in “An Actress and Two Performances”; and those on Angela Maria and Elizeth Cardoso this year. Not to forget the musical on the most famous on them all, Bibi Ferreira who besides singing, is also a very well-known actress, director and producer.
Now I have the occasion of giving you some information on another musical in the same line. This time it brings us the life and songs of Isaura Garcia (1923-1993). Known as Isaurinha Garcia, she was a famous singer in the golden era of Brazilian radio.
Born in São Paulo, the daughter of a Portuguese father and an Italian-Brazilian mother, Isaurinha Garcia was considered one of the greatest singers of Brazilian popular music. Although at the beginning she mirrored herself on Carmen Miranda and Aracy de Almeida, very soon she followed her own artistic path. Her career lasted for over fifty years. At the time, it was even said she was the Brazilian Edith Piaf!
Isaurinha started her career when she was still very young. Her father did not approve at all of her choice; however, Isaurinha had the help of her mother when trying to get into contests at different radio programs. The family was poor, but Isaurinha had talent and loved singing. Before achieving her successful radio career, she used to sing at home when she was helping her
mother with the laundry; and she also sang at her father’s bar while pouring wine into different bottles. However, nothing would stop her from her pursuit to become famous… And due to her great dedication to achieve her goal, she was successful! Being poor, there were many occasions when she had no money to pay for her bus fare, in order to go to the radio station. So she walked there and back: she would not miss any chance! And her effort paid its dividends. She came from a poor environment, had very little support, but recorded over three hundred songs during her career. Nothing would make her give up her dreams. Here I quote Walter Horatio Pater (1839-1894) when he said: “To burn always with his hard, gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.” These days, however, one would say that, due to the fact that she never gave up, Isaurinha Garcia was a woman ahead of her time!
In “Isaura Garcia – O Musical”, three actresses play the leading role: Kiara Sasso, as young Isaurinha; Soraya Ravenle, during her adult life; and Rosamaria Murtinho, in her late years. Written by Júlio Fischer, and under the general direction of Jacqueline Laurence, this musical is produced and has the artistic direction of Rick Garcia, Isaurinha’s grandson. Here, Garcia is assisted by Klebber Toledo and Márcia Martins. The very interesting sets are all in 3D, thus changing places and environments with projections, instead of having the usual heavy scenery. Thus only the necessary furniture and props are moved onto the stage. The musical has a large cast of actors and dancers, and goes through both the personal life and the career of Isaurinha. Although her professional side was a success, the same cannot be said by what was happening off stage. Her marriage to a known pianist – the father of her only daughter, Monica – brought a number of unhappy situations and unpleasant moments.
Although the “Isaura Garcia – O musical” has been on for a couple of weeks, I was only able to watch it at the special performance “by invitation only” in the last couple of days. Must say that the reaction of the audience was excellent!
“Isaura Garcia – O Musical” plays at the Teatro Oi Casa Grande, on Avenida Afrânio de Melo Franco, 290 – Leblon. Box office telephone number is 2511-0800. The theatre is located on street level at the Shopping Leblon, and paid parking is available inside the Shopping. Also the Metro station (Jardim de Allah) is at walking distance. If you prefer, there are plenty of taxis waiting at the theatre door, once the musical is over. Performances take place on Thursdays and Fridays at 08:00 P.M.; on Saturdays at 05:30 P.M, and 09:00 P.M.; and on Sundays, at 06:00 P.M. The prices of tickets range from R$ 50,00 (fifty Reais) to R$ 150,00 (one hundred and fifty Reais). There should be a 50% (fifty percent) discount for students and senior citizens. It lasts for two hours and ten minutes, with a ten-minute interval between Acts I and II. Censorship is for young people under the age of twelve. The run is scheduled to finish on the 14th of October. So, I believe there will be plenty of opportunities for you to go and watch this very entertaining musical!
(*) Ewa Procter is a writer and a theatre translator, and
Chair of the Instituto Cultural Chiquinha Gonzaga.