The first thing that strikes you in Rio is the color, masses of it
exploding in a wild palette wherever you look. Rio was cleaner and safer than I expected,
a result of the city’s drive to brighten an image that had been blackened during the 1980s
by reports of tourists being subjected to muggings and theft.
By Brazzil Magazine
Anthologies and Essays:
Prefácio, in vida urbana (1956)
Crítica avulsa (1960)
Seis poetas e um problema, estudos de crítica literária, estilística e ecdótica
Augusto dos Anaw6kx, poesia, antologia, introdução e notas (1960)
Qual prefácio, in A rima na poesia de Carlos Drummond de Andrade, de Hélcio
Introdução, in Reunião: 10 livros de poesia, de Carlos Drummond de Andrade
Crítica literária e estruturalismo, in II Simpósio de língua e literatura
Drummond mais seis poetas e um problema (1976)
Homenagem a Joaquim Cardoso, conferência (1978)
Estudos vários sobre palavras, livros e autores (1979)
Tentativa de descrição do sistema vocálico do português culto na área dita
carioca, dialectologia e ortofonia (1959)
Sugestões para uma política da língua (1960)
O Serviço de Documentação da Presidência da República (1960)
Introdução filológica às Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas, fixação do texto
Elementos de bibliologia (1967)
A crise de nossa língua de cultura (1983)
O português no Brasil (1985)
O que é língua? (1990)
A nova ortografia da Língua Portuguesa (1991)
A defesa (1979)
BrasilO fracasso do conservadorismo (1985)
Brasil-URSS – 40 anos do estabelecimento de relações diplomáticas, colective work
Socialismo e liberdade, with Roberto Amaral (1990)
Variações em torno do conceito de democracia, with Roberto Amaral (1992)
SocialismoVida, morte e ressurreição (1993)
A modernidade no BrasilConciliação ou ruptura? (1995)
Os socialistas e a guerra (1991)
Texts by Classics:
Obras de Lima Barreto, with Francisco de Assis Barbosa and Manuel Cavalcanti
O texto dos poemas, in Gonçalves Dias, poesia e prosa escolhida (1959)
Memórias póstumas de Brás Cubas, de Machado de Assis (1961)
Eu, outras poesias, poemas esquecidos, de Augusto dos Anaw6kx (1965); Edições
críticas de Obras de Machado de Assis (1975).
Anais do Primeiro Congresso Brasileiro de Língua Falada no Teatro (1956)
Novo dicionário Barsa das línguas inglesa e portuguesa , 2 vols., with
Catherine B. Avery (1964)
Grande enciclopédia Delta-Larousse, 12 volumes
Enciclopédia Mirador Internacional, 20 volumes and 1 atlas (1975)
Pequeno dicionário enciclopédico Koogan-Larousse (1979)
Vocabulário ortográfico da Língua Portuguesa (1981)
Webster’s dicionário inglês-português, 2 volumes, with Ismael Cardim and
Magia da cozinha brasileira (1979)
Receitas Rápidas (1986)
A cerveja e seus mistérios (1986)
Writer Mário de Andrade, who nicknamed her "The Nightingale," painted her in
poetic colors: "She has an admirable voice with an impregnating allure. She proves
that a bird’s soul can escalate in passion." Brazilian nightingale Bidu Sayão is
quiet now. She flew away March 13, at age 96, after fighting pneumonia in Penobscot Bay
Medical Center in Rockport, Maine, USA. She lived in Lincolnville, Maine. Sayão had moved
to the area, bitter with Brazil and the treatment Brazilians gave her. She asked to be
cremated and her ashes spread in Lincolnville Bay just in front of her house.
The soprano, admired by Italian maestro Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) who called her
"la piccola brasiliana," was one of the best prima donnas the world has ever
known. Her first performance in the US happened in 1936. From the late ’30s through the
’40s Sayão was one of the most popular stars of the New York Metropolitan Opera. She was
decorated by the U.S. government for her performances for soldiers during World War II.
She was born Balduína de Oliveira Sayão in the Rio beachside neighborhood of Botafogo
on May 11, 1902. Balduína was named after her grandmother and also adopted the Bidu
nickname that her mother had. The artist was only 5 when her father died. Her mother Maria
José Sayão would be her biggest inspiration and her only monetary source during the
beginning of her career. She later complained that no school, company, or government
department would help her when she was starting. She carried some resentment for Brazil
all her life, but at the same time preserved her Brazilian identity, refusing for example
to seek American citizenship.
She was a mere 18 when she premiered in the Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro
interpreting Gaetano Donizzetti’s opera Lucia de Lammermoor. Her work received rave
reviews. After that she went to Europe and in 1922 was admitted in Nice, France, to the
school of renowned Polish tenor Jean de Reszke, with whom she learned the delicate way of
singing that would become her trademark. After starring as Rosina in Rossini’s The
Barber of Seville in Brazil, in 1926, she was invited to Rome and signed a contract
with the Constanzi Theater. Soon she went to the Opera de Paris and then to Scala of
Sayão’s American career began in 1937 following a successful two-year tour in Brazil
during 1935 and 1936. In New York she interpreted 12 roles in 13 seasons, including among
others Violetta, Rosina, Gilda and Mimi. She was petite, not pretty and with a little
voice, but she won the hearts of her public by the intensity of the emotions with which
she interpreted her roles.
Her last presentation on a stage was in 1954. Four years later, however, at the request
of friend Villa-Lobos she agreed to record Floresta Amazônica, conducted by the famous
composer himself. After that she retired.
The musical piece that became her biggest success was her role in Brazilian composer
Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas nº 5, which was recorded in 1945. Sayão was Villa-Lobos’s
favorite interpreter. She became also famous for playing Zerlina in Mozart’s Don
Her last trip to Brazil was in 1995 when she was paid a tribute by Escola de Samba
Beija-Flor, which chose her story to present during the Carnaval Parade. She participated
parading on one of the floats. The singer had plans to return to Brazil for a last time on
her 100th birthday in 2002 and had invited her long-time manager and friend
Hazel Eaton to go with her on this trip. In an interview with daily O Estado de S.
Paulo, Eaton revealed she was very happy with the recent release by Sony of her old
recordings. She felt relieved for not having been forgotten by people after so many years,
something that tormented her during the last few years.
In her last performance at the Rio Municipal Theater in 1937, she was intensely booed.
It’s been said that the jeering was orchestrated by jealous Gabriela Besanzoni Lage, a
famous Carmen who couldn’t accept being outdone by the diminutive Bidu. The singer didn’t
go back for tours in Brazil any more and when her singing career ended she gave up living
in Brazil, buying her house in Maine.
Married twicefirst with manager Walter Mocchi, 40 years her senior and then in
1935 to famous Italian tenor Giuseppe Danise, who died in 1963she preferred to spend
her time with her cats and playing cards with friends.
It could have been much worse, but the biggest blackout Brazil ever had was bad enough.
At 10:16 PM on March 11, the lights went out in 11 southern and central states, plus the
Federal District, leaving more than 97 million Brazilians out of a 160 million
populationincluding those from Rio and São Paulo, the most populated
centerswithout electricity. Those who thought the lights would come back on soon
went to sleep or had to wait up to four hours. Had the disaster hit a few hours earlier
during rush time the chaos would have been much greater.
What happened? The government, taken by surprise, took a whole day to find the answer.
A lightning bolt hit a power substation close to Bauru, a city 220 miles northwest of São
Paulo, disabling five electrical supply lines. The explanation was given by Mines and
Energy Minister Rodolpho Tourinho who insisted: "A lightning bolt is an exceptional
fact, there is no reason for doubting the reliability of the Brazilian electrical
More than anything Brasília’s authorities wanted to dispel the notion that the
blackout had anything to do with the privatization of the power system in the country. The
sale of these state companies is an essential part of an agreement signed between Brazil
and the International Monetary Fund to secure fresh _ and much needed _ loans for the
country. Coincidentally, it was at the beginning of March that the private company
Operadora Nacional de Sistemas de Energia took over government control of the country’s
transmission lines. "No, the privatization is not at fault," guaranteed the
government. Au contraire, they explained, the accident proves that the privatization was
necessary. The country is in need of more transmission lines and only the private sector
has the money today for such an investment.
In Rio the military police placed 1,200 men in the streets to avoid looting. In São
Paulo, traffic authorities announced they closed the city’s tunnels to prevent assaults.
In Botucatu, in the interior of São Paulo, obstetrician Émerson Domingos da Costa was in
the middle of a cesarean delivery when the lights went out. Everything worked out fine,
but everybody in the delivery room was very scared. "At that moment I imagined what
the President would have done if it were his daughter," said da Costa later.
Seven thousand Cariocas (Rio residents) called Light, the company that provides
electricity in the city, to complain about TV sets and other electrical devices that were
damaged by the mishap. Not to worry. Firmino Sampaio, the president of Eletrobrás (the
federal body in charge of energy and power) left it clear the next day that nobody would
be reimbursed for their losses.
There were reports of robberies in almost every big city without electricity, but in
São Paulo the number of murders fell by one third (from the average 15 to 5). That’s
because the bars were closed, explained the police. More than 60,000 people were on Rio’s
subway when lights went out. The evacuation operation required 200 Metro workers and
lasted until 2:30 in the morning. Dozens of passenger, however, afraid of being assaulted
in the dark streets refused to abandon the stations Estácio and Del Castilho, forcing
transit authorities to take them home or to safer places in their vans.
Commenting on the blackout, Rio’s daily Jornal do Brasil editorialized:
"Brazil left it clear that authorities are entirely unprepared to face a grave
emergency situation. During the episode there was no coherent mobilization by the
government. When the crisis was more acute the newspapers had a hard time finding the
Mines and Energy minister Rodolfo Tourinho and nobody knew what had happened to President
Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
"Until Friday afternoon, no one seemed able to find a reasonable explanation for
what had happened, although the government rushed to declare that the episode would not
happen again. How they could guarantee that, before knowing the cause, is a mystery that
should be investigated by the regulating body, the Agência Nacional de Energia Elétrica
(National Agency for Electrical Energy)."
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