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João Villaret

(10 May, 1913 - 21 January, 1961)

João Henrique Villaret was born in Lisbon on May 10, 1913. His theater skills were revealed very early and, after finishing high school, he took a theater course at the National Conservatory.

His professional career included interpretive acting in classical theater plays and in revista theater, where he participated several times in the authorship of the texts. João Villaret made several appearances on the big screen and stood out as a reciter of poetry, a feature that in the 1950s made him very well known to the general public, through radio programs (including the cast of "Parodiantes de Lisboa") and, in particular, of a program on RTP, where it divulged the great authors of national poetry.

After the Conservatory, João Villaret joins the cast of the National Theater, in the Amélia Rey Colaço-Robles Monteiro Theatre Company, where he remains between 1931 and 1944, and debuts in the play "Leonor Teles," authored by Marcelino Mesquita, where opposite with Palmira Bastos Raul de Carvalho and António Pinheiro (Reis: 284).

The revista theater was also the stage for the exhibition of his qualities, as Luiz Francisco Rebello rightly mentions, João Villaret was “animator of all the revistas brought to the scene in Nacional between 1937 and 1942, and author and co-author of some of them”, as are the cases of “A nossa revista”, in partnership with Maria Clementina, or “Diz-se por Música” in co-authorship with Lucien Donnat, until he joined the play "O Jogo da Laranjinha", in 1941, staged by Rosa Mateus. In the following year, the cast of the play "Belezas de Hortaliça", where it was evident in the interpretation of the theme “C'est mon homme” where, in a disguised allusion to Salazar, he winked at the audience and sang: “The one to whom I give everything, everything smiling / C'est mon homme / and to whom I give the chemise if he ever asks me, / C'est mon homme (…) ”(Rebello: 122, 126 and 158).

João Villaret was also present as a film actor. He premiered in 1937 in the film "Bocage", directed by Leitão de Barros. Appearances followed in several films, some of which were made by António Lopes Ribeiro: "O Pai Tirano" (1941), "Frei Luís de Sousa" (1950), "O primo Basílio" (1959); and by Leitão de Barros: "Inês de Castro" (1945) and "Camões" (1946).

There are countless representations of exceptional character on the various stages of Portuguese theater, until his last presentation in the revista “Champanhe Saloio”, in 1959. But the history of fado does not forget his magnificent interpretation of the theme “Fado Falado”, in the revista "Tá Bem Ou Não 'Tá", at Teatro Avenida, in 1947. João Villaret turned the “Fado Falado” by Aníbal Nazaré and Nelson Barros into an iconic interpretation, giving strength to the words due to his unique declamatory style, bringing to the stage of theater, with his presence, “a cosmopolitan irony, a dramatic good taste, a literary level, which he imposed and intransigently knew how to maintain” (Vítor Pavão dos santos quoted by Rebello: 158).

His declamatory feature is recorded in different editions where, in addition to the aforementioned “Fado Falado”, we can hear themes of great Portuguese poets such as José Régio (“A procissão”), or Fernando Pessoa (“O Menino de sua Mãe”) , among many others, that allow us to relive the drama and soul with which João Villaret endeavored to make known the great works of Portuguese authors.

 

Source:

Rebello, Luiz Francisco (1984), “História do Teatro de Revista em Portugal”, Vol.2, Lisboa: Publicações Dom Quixote

Reis, Luciano (2011), “O Grande Livro do Espectáculo: Personalidades Artísticas Séc. XX”, 3º Volume, Lisboa: Fonte da Palavra