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Maria Teresa de Noronha

(17 September, 1918 - 05 July, 1993)

Maria Teresa do Carmo de Noronha de Guimarães Serôdio was born in Lisbon, at the parish of S. Sebastião da Pedreira, on the 17 September 1918. Daughter of Dom António Maria Sales do Carmo de Noronha and Dona Maria Carlota Appleton de Noronha Cordeiro Feio, Maria Teresa de Noronha descended from the Counts of Paraty.

Born an aristocrat, she would become Countess of Sabrosa on the 17 December 1947, when she married the third count, Dom José António Barbosa de Guimarães Serôdio, amateur Portuguese guitar player and composer.

She was very young when she began singing for her friends and family at parties. Maria Teresa de Noronha combined the very particular features of her voice timbre with a vocal and piano musical education, joining the coir by maestro Ivo Cruz; her social status allowed her to enjoy a career pathway outside the fado houses, performing mainly on live TV.

Rehearsed by the Portuguese guitar player Fernando Freitas and the Spanish guitar player Abel Negrão, she started a bimonthly show at Emissora Nacional, presented by Dom João da Câmara, composed by four fados and a guitar performance, which stayed on for 23 consecutive years, until the day the fado singer decided to retire from the artistic life, in 1962.

It is in this context that Maria Teresa de Noronha reaches a rising popularity, becoming an iconic reference in a gender conventionally called “Aristocratic Fado” (Fado Aristocrático).

Thanks to her peculiar timbre, she dared to sing themes of the Coimbra fado at a time this was a male voices’ domain.

Several instrument players accompanied her on shows because Maria Teresa de Noronha was very meticulous and demanded great quality and professionalism. For example, she worked with the Portuguese guitar player for 20 years, and even visited Spain with him in 1946.

Maria Teresa de Noronha performed on many shows and tours. Among her performances abroad, special reference should be made to the Festival da Feira do Livro in Barcelona and Madrid, on June de 1946, by invitation of the Spanish government. That same decade, 1940s, she travelled to Brazil, by occasion of the inaugural flight between Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro.

Two decades later, the fado singer performs for the royal family in Principality of Monaco, and in 1964, after abandoning her artistic activity, she travels to London in order to sing at the Embassy and House of Portugal, as well as in BBC (radio and TV), accompanied by Raúl Nery’s guitar band.

Maria Teresa de Noronha performed in some RTP shows, two of which, in 1959 and 1968, were released by Videofono in a videocassette with the title “Recordando Maria Teresa de Noronha”, which is an extremely important document about one of the most important singers of the entire Portuguese 20th century.

The first record of her career, featuring the theme “O Fado dos Cinco Estilos” was recorded in 1939, at the former Emissora Nacional, followed by some other releases in 78 RPM. The fado singer will record regularly, releasing her last LP in 1972.

Maria Teresa de Noronha based her repertoire on fados castiços, her favourites, instead of fado-canção, interpreting poems often gathered in her family universe, such as “Fado das Horas”, “Sete Letras” e “Fado de Rio Maior”, all by D. António de Bragança.

The fado singer also gave fame to the themes “Fado da Verdade”, “Fado Hilário” and “Fado Anadia”, which thanks to her perfect voice and diction gained an interpretation quality rivalling with the most popular themes in her repertoire, such as “Minhas Penas” or “Pintadinho”, among others.

In 1974 she went to Picadeiro, in Cascais, to listen to Manuel de Almeida, and was asked by him to sing. It was the last time her voice was heard in public.

After that, only her closest friends heard her, in private. Maria Teresa de Noronha died at home, in Sintra, on the 5 July 1993, victim of cancer.

From November 2018 to February 2019, the Fado Museum paid tribute to Maria Teresa de Noronha through a temporary exhibition.

 

  • Minha Dor Maria Teresa de Noronha (Arlete Correia / Franklim Godinho)
  • Pintadinho Maria Teresa de Noronha (José Mariano / Maria Teresa de Noronha)