Antônio Carlos Gomes

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Antônio Carlos Gomes
Carlos Gomes (fototipia).jpg
Born11 July 1836
Died16 September 1896 (60 years)
Nationality Brazilian

Antônio Carlos Gomes (Portuguese pronunciation:  [ɐ̃ˈtonju ˈkaɾlus ˈɡomis] ; Campinas, July 11, 1836 – Belém, September 16, 1896) was the first New World composer whose work was accepted by Europe. The only non-European who was successful as an opera composer in Italy, during the "golden age of opera", contemporary to Verdi and Puccini and the first composer of non-European lineage to be accepted into the Classic tradition of music. [1]

Campinas Municipality in Southeast, Brazil

Campinas is a Brazilian municipality in São Paulo State, part of the country's Southeast Region. According to the 2010 Census, the city's population is 1,080,999, making it the fourteenth most populous Brazilian city and the third most populous municipality in São Paulo state. The city's metropolitan area, Metropolitan Region of Campinas, contains twenty municipalities with a total population of 3,656,363 people.

Belém City in North, Brazil

Belém, is a Brazilian city with 2,491,052 people residing in its Metropolitan Region. The capital city itself has 1,485.732 inhabitants. It is the capital and largest city of the state of Pará in the country's north. It is the gateway to the Amazon River with a busy port, airport, and bus/coach station. Belém lies approximately 100 km upriver from the Atlantic Ocean, on the Pará River, which is part of the greater Amazon River system, separated from the larger part of the Amazon delta by Ilha de Marajó. With an estimated population of 1,439,561 people — or 2,249,405, considering its metropolitan area — it is the 11th most populous city in Brazil, as well as the 16th by economic relevance. It is the second largest in the North Region, second only to Manaus, in the state of Amazonas.

New World Collectively, the Americas and Oceania

The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas, and Oceania.


Younger than Verdi, yet older than Puccini, Carlos Gomes achieved his first major success in a time when the Italian audiences were eager for a new name to celebrate and Puccini had not yet officially started his career. After the successful premiere of Il Guarany , Gomes was considered the most promising new composer. [2] Verdi said his work was an expression of "true musical genius". [3] Liszt said that “it displays dense technical maturity, full of harmonic and orchestral maturity.” [4]

<i>Il Guarany</i> opera by Carlos Gomes

Il Guarany is an opera ballo composed by Antônio Carlos Gomes, based on the novel O Guarani by José de Alencar. Its libretto, in Italian rather than Gomes' native Portuguese, was written by Antonio Scalvini and Carlo D'Ormeville. The work is notable as the first Brazilian opera to gain acclaim outside Brazil. Maria Alice Volpe has analysed the historical subtext of the Indianismo movement behind Il Guarany.

Franz Liszt Hungarian romantic composer and virtuoso pianist

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, music teacher, arranger and organist of the Romantic era. He was also a writer, a philanthropist, a Hungarian nationalist and a Franciscan tertiary.


He was born in Campinas, Empire of Brazil, son of Maestro Manuel José Gomes and Fabiana Maria Jaguari Cardoso.

Empire of Brazil 19th-century empire in South America

The Empire of Brazil was a 19th-century state that broadly comprised the territories which form modern Brazil and Uruguay. Its government was a representative parliamentary constitutional monarchy under the rule of Emperors Dom Pedro I and his son Dom Pedro II. A colony of the Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil became the seat of the Portuguese colonial Empire in 1808, when the Portuguese Prince regent, later King Dom João VI, fled from Napoleon's invasion of Portugal and established himself and his government in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. João VI later returned to Portugal, leaving his eldest son and heir, Pedro, to rule the Kingdom of Brazil as regent. On 7 September 1822, Pedro declared the independence of Brazil and, after waging a successful war against his father's kingdom, was acclaimed on 12 October as Pedro I, the first Emperor of Brazil. The new country was huge but sparsely populated and ethnically diverse.

His childhood's musical tendencies were soon stimulated by his father and by his older brother, José Pedro de Sant'Ana Gomes, also a conductor. José Pedro was the most dedicated guide and adviser in his brother's artistic career. He convinced Antônio to visit the Court where he became a protégé of Emperor Dom Pedro II, who, being notoriously interested in the careers of Brazilian artists and intellectuals, made it possible for Antônio Carlos to study at the Musical Conservatory of Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro Second-most populous municipality in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, or simply Rio, is anchor to the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area and the second-most populous municipality in Brazil and the sixth-most populous in the Americas. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's third-most populous state. Part of the city has been designated as a World Heritage Site, named "Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea", by UNESCO on 1 July 2012 as a Cultural Landscape.

After having graduated with honors, Carlos produced his first opera, A noite do castelo (September 1861), which was a big success. Two years later, he repeated it with his second opera, Joana de Flandres, which was considered superior to the first. These two pieces convinced the Emperor to offer him a Royal scholarship to study in Italy in 1864. He studied in Milan at the local conservatory with Lauro Rossi and Alberto Mazzucato and completed in three years a course which was normally completed in four years, obtaining the title of Maestro Composer.

<i>A noite do castelo</i> opera

A noite do castelo is an opera seria in three acts by the Brazilian Romantic era composer, Antônio Carlos Gomes. The libretto in Brazilian Portuguese by Antônio José Fernandes dos Reis was based on António Feliciano de Castilho's 1830 poem of the same name. The work premiered at the Theatro Lyrico Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro on September 4, 1861.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

Milan Italian city

Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,372,810 while its metropolitan city has a population of 3,245,308. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.

Interested in composing an opera which dealt with a truly Brazilian subject, Carlos Gomes chose as the theme of his next work the romance novel O Guarani , by Brazilian writer José de Alencar. The opera was given an Indian subject and setting and it premiered in May 1870 at the La Scala Theater in Milan as Il Guarany .

<i>The Guarani</i> novel by José de Alencar

The Guarani: Brazilian Novel is a 1857 Brazilian novel written by José de Alencar. It was first serialized in the newspaper Diário do Rio de Janeiro, but due to its enormous success Alencar decided to compile his writing in a volume. A plausible explanation for this success might be in the fact that the novel spoke of freedom and independence, arguing for a nativeness that could be found in tropical Nature and in the indigenous people of Brazil.

José de Alencar Brazilian writer

José Martiniano de Alencar was a Brazilian lawyer, politician, orator, novelist and dramatist. He is considered to be one of the most famous and influential Brazilian Romantic novelists of the 19th century, and a major exponent of the literary tradition known as "Indianism". Sometimes he signed his works with the pen name Erasmo.

La Scala Opera house in Milan, Italy

La Scala is an opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala. The premiere performance was Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta.

The success was enormous. Even the most strict musical critics compared the Brazilian musician to the great European maestros, such as Rossini and Verdi. The King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, decorated the creator of the opera, which was presented in all major European capitals. Before that year was over, Gomes returned to Brazil, where he organized the premiere of Il Guarany in Rio de Janeiro. The piece achieved the same success Gomes had seen in Italy.

O Guarany Guarany -Gomes.png
O Guarany

Returning to Italy, Carlos Gomes married Adelina Peri, an Italian pianist he had met while studying in Milan.

He wrote the hymn Il saluto del Brasile for the centenary of American independence which was performed in Philadelphia, on July 19, 1876.

In 1883 the maestro traveled to Brazil, receiving homages in every city he visited. When he returned to Italy, he dedicated himself to the composition of an opera themed against slavery, inspired by the liberation struggle of black slaves in Brazil, which got the title of Lo schiavo . The composition, which had been suggested by a great friend of Antônio's, a black engineer named André Rebouças, only debuted several years later in 1889.

When the Brazilian republic was proclaimed in 1889, Carlos Gomes, who at this time was in Campinas, sailed once more to Italy. Faithful to the monarchy and Dom Pedro II, Gomes refused the opportunity given to him by president Deodoro da Fonseca to compose the new Brazilian National Anthem. In the following years, he composed the opera Condor and the cantata Colombo, for the Columbus Festival (October 12, 1892), in celebration of the fourth centenary of the discovery of America.

Invited by the governor of the Brazilian province of Pará to direct the Musical Conservatory, the maestro traveled to the capital Belém, willing to take the position. However, shortly after arriving, Carlos Gomes, by then an elderly man in poor health, died on September 16, 1896. Besides his eight operas, he composed songs (3 books), choruses, and piano pieces.

Many honors were given to conductor Carlos Gomes throughout Brazil and abroad where he ruled and made fame.

Antônio Carlos Gomes's operas

See List of works for the stage by Antônio Carlos Gomes

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  1. Rubem Fonseca – O Selvagem da Ópera, Nova Fronteira 1994.
  2. Batta, András, Editor (2009). Opera – Composers, Works, Performers (p. 184) Könnigswinter: Tandem Verlag Gmbh.
  3. Boccanera Jr, Sílio (1904) A Bahia de Carlos Gomes (p.306-307) Bahia: V. Oliveira e C.
  4. Cernichiaro, Vincenzo (1926) Storia della Musica nel Brasile (p. 359) Milano: Fratelli Riccioni.