Show Opinão Nara Leão, Zé Keti, João do Vale
Recorded August 23, 1965 at Teatro Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Released as Philips 632.775 in 1965 CD Reissue, 2002
Musical director: Dorival Caymmi Filho
Theatrical director: Augusto Boal
Dorival Caymmi – guitar
Franciso Araújo – drums
Carlos Guimarães – flute
Iko Casto Neves – bass
Bruno Ferreira, Ângela Menezes, Vânia Ferreira, Ângela Santa Rosa – vocal chorus
Audio engineer: Jorge Cardoso
Produced by Oduvaldo Viana Filho, Paulo Pontes e Pichinpla
Today marks the anniversary of Nara Leão’s death in 1989, when she left this world far too early due to a brain tumor, only 47 years old.
This year would also have been the 15th anniversary of our marriage, had she been alive to accept the love letters and propositions I was making to her, unaware that she had passed away. She seemed to have been everything I want in a woman – intelligent, politically engaged, breathtakingly beautiful, and from a wealthy family thereby eliminating my need to work for a living.
This album was recorded on the closing night of the original run of the “Opinão” theatrical production, which would go into a second run with Maria Bethânia taking Nara’s place. A combination of factors – her distancing herself from the bossa nova circle after Ronaldo Boscoli had an affair with Maysa without even the minor courtesy of discretion; her increasing preoccupation with the dire sociopolitical climate of Brazil, her interest in samba, and her marriage to cineaste Ruy Guerra – had led Nara Leão to changing her musical orientation rather quickly after becoming a star. Within a year of her first album release she was throwing in her lot with Carlos Lyra and others more involved with arts of the engajada (engaged) sort that had been evolving alongside initiatives from groups like the CPC in Rio (Centro Popular de Cultura) and MCP in Recife (Movimento Cultura Popular). The idea of bringing the arts “to the people” by staging performances in factories was actually rather elitist in its vanguardism, but its premise of breaking down the barriers between students, workers, and artists isn’t a bad one. This was the climate in which some interesting work emerged alongside the stuff that played out like tedious political tracts. “Opinão” seems to be one of the more creative attempts at synthesizing politics, music, and theatre. It took place in that curious period between March 31, 1964 when the military dictatorship began and 1968 when the decrees of Institutional Act No.5 severely restricted civil, political, and artistic liberties. For that brief period, social critiques like “Opinão” were still able to find a platform and in fact become a phenomenon playing to sold-out theatres. By the early 1970s, such a scenario would be almost unimaginable.
The liner notes claim that the recording is not an attempt to translate the theatrical production of Opinão to the medium of a phonograph recording but rather a “condensation of the spectacle” made to communicate something about it in an authentic manner. The listener will note the immediate difference this makes to an approach like the dry, humorless P.U.C. / João Cabral de Melo Neto / Chico Buarque collaboration posted last week at Flabbergasted Vibes. Even without the benefit of the staging or sets, you get an idea of what Opinão was all about. And there was quite a lot of fooling around and satire going on as well. Your mileage may vary on this..
Snatches of songs that were part of Cinema Novo films by Nelson Perreira dos Santos and Glauber Rocha appear alongside songs by Vinicius de Moraes and Carlos Lyra, and of course compositions from Zé Keti and João do Vale. The version of “Carcará” on here may be the best I’ve heard, much better than Maria Bethania’s interpretation when she took over the role. And one surprise treat is the inclusion of the Cuban song “Guantanamera” here, which had just been a huge hit a few years earlier both in Cuba and Brazil. Apparently there is some Pete Seeger mixed into the lyrics somewhere on this interpretation although my throbbing headache today has kept me from figuring it all out. The band is recorded so well on this album that I have my doubts whether or not the songs were actually recorded live (my guess is they were not, and that the dialogs were edited in between studio takes). Whatever the case, this album is a historical and musical treasure and something of a rarity these days. Hope you enjoy it.
Nara Leão, Zé Keti, João do Vale – Show Opinão (1965)
Nara Leão, Zé Keti, João do Vale – Show Opinão (1965)in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO
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