Lo schiavo

Lo schiavo (O escravo in Portuguese, The Slave in English) is an opera in four acts by the Brazilian composer Carlos Gomes. The Italian libretto was by Rodolfo Paravicini, after a play by Alfredo Taunay. The opera deals with the subject of slavery, a major concern in Brazil at the time (the institution had only been abolished by the Lei Áurea in 1888).

As Béhague explains, "Lo schiavo is considered in Brazil to be the best of Gomes's operas, as it reflects a national subject which required and was given new treatment."[1]

Performance historyEdit

It was first performed at the Theatro Imperial Dom Pedro II, Rio de Janeiro on 27 September 1889. Also in 1889, in his first presentation as the first female Master in Brazilian history, Chiquinha Gonzaga conducted Lo Schiavo in the presence of Carlos Gomes, his close friend, who paid her homage.


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, September 27, 1889
(Conductor: Carlos Gomes)
Ilàra soprano Maria Peri
Condesa Boissy soprano Marie Oster van Cauteren
Américo tenor Franco Cardinali
Ibère baritone Innocente De Anna
Gianfèra baritone Francesco Bartolomasi
Conde Rodrigo bass Enrico Serbolini
Guarûco tenor
Tapacoà tenor
Tupinambà baritone
Goitacà bass
Lion bass


Time: 16th century
Place: Brazil

A drama involving Indians and Portuguese, this is the love story of Américo, son of Count Rodrigo, and Ilàra, who is forced to marry another Indian called Ibère.



  1. ^ Béhague, p. 218


  • Béhague, Gerard (1992), Lo Schiavo in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
  • Casaglia, Gherardo, " 27 September 1889", Almanacco Amadeus, 2005 (in Italian). Accessed 30 October 2010.
  • Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam, 2001. ISBN 0-14-029312-4