Portugal celebrates life of Fado diva.jpg

Portugal celebrates life of Fado diva

by CHRIS GRAEME [email protected]

Two simultaneous exhibitions exploring the life, art and impact of the legendary Portuguese Fado singer Amália Rodrigues opened in Lisbon on Monday.

The two exhibitions, one at the Museu da Electricidade (Museum of Electricity) in Belém and the other at the Berardo Museum of Contemporary Art at the CCB, form part of the commemorations for the 10th anniversary of the diva’s death in October 1999. Opened by Lisbon Mayor António Costa, with entrepreneur and art collector Joe Berardo and the Director of the Electricity Museum José Manuel dos Santos, the exhibition is the largest and most comprehensive of its kind devoted to the singer in Portugal.

The exhibition is a different and unique way of seeing Amália’s life through the amazing collection of gowns and priceless jewels that she wore, poster-sized iconic photographs of the star from the 1940s to the 1980s and films and documentaries both with and about Portugal’s most famous performing export.

The exhibition, Amália – Coração Independente (Independent Heart), which will continue until January, will later tour various countries where Amália attained iconic status, including France and Japan.

The exhibition does not aim to tell the story of her already well-documented life, but rather explain the star as an icon of glamour through her personal belongings and posters, artworks, advertisements and record covers.

Divided into two parts, the exhibition examines Amália through her artistic facets, which dazzled audiences and media from New York and Paris to Tokyo.  

It also shows the strong impact the singer had as an ambassador for the country and her adoration among the ordinary common people from whence she came.

At the Museum of Electricity, which, ironically, on the exhibition’s opening night suffered two power cuts, the public can admire some of her most beautiful stage dresses, while at the Berardo Museum there is a retrospective of her life in photos, magazine covers, paintings and graphics.

The exhibition coordinator added that original vinyl copies of her earlier works and double CD collections were also to be released as part of the commemorations.

What: Amália – Coração Independente (Independent Heart)

Where: Museu da Electricidade and  CCB Berardo Museum

When: October 6 – January 31 2010.

Times: 10am-6pm daily (Saturdays 10am-9.30pm). Closed Mondays.

Cost: Free entry