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The Coliseu do Porto or the thousand and one lives of a classic
5 March, 2020 / ,

In Porto’s imaginary, the Coliseu do Porto occupies a very special place and is, without detriment to the others, the first showroom in the city, perhaps because it has been regularly and from the beginning involved in controversies.

 

Whoever is in the city center and crosses Praça D João I, on the east side sees Rua Passos Manuel. Going up on the left side, you come across a modernist building whose exterior does not reveal the singularity of its interior. This is the Coliseu do Porto.

 

For decades this area of ​​the city has been the center of entertainment and nightlife in Porto. In the neighborhood, there was, and coexisted, most of the city’s concert halls: From the sadly celebrated Bachet theater on the street of Sto António, which on 20 March 1888 burned in a dreadful fire during a rite with more than one hundred fatalities ; The later theater of Sá da Bandeira, rebuilt in the same place as Bachet and which still has its doors open; The theater of S. João à Batalha, also victim of another fire, this time empty, in 1909, and later rebuilt with the risk of the architect Marques da Silva; and also the curious Jardim Passos Manuel lounge, opened in 1908 and built just below the Coliseu, on the street of the same name and which had an ephemeral life for three decades.

 

The idea of ​​building a large concert hall in Porto dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, but it was not until the early 1930s that a group of notables from the city encouraged the administration of Companhia de Seguros Garantia to design and materialize the Coliseu.

 

About the dismantling of Jardim Passos Manuel in 1938, the Coliseu was built. The first architectural studies are by José Porto. Artist without academic training but with eclectic knowledge of construction. The risk of the main room is yours. Then came the collaboration of Yan Wills, Dutch and belonging to the modernist movement De Stijl. Although he elaborated several studies, none was carried out on site.

Initial hesitations in the program and a lead from the Aesthetics Committee of the Porto City Council led to the removal of the third designer – Arch Júlio de Brito- who had replaced colleagues José Porto and Yan Wills, who had already been consumed in the maelstrom of changes to the project and variations of language.

 

In 1939, the insurance company Garantia hired the services of Arqº Cassiano Branco (1897-1970), then a rising star in the Portuguese architecture world of the 1930s. In the short space of two years, Cassiano finished the work, although in I disagree with the prosecutor, who dismissed him by letter on October 10, 1940, for “very serious errors and deficiencies in the works”. Without prejudice, it was Cassiano who most marked the general image and above all the exterior image of the Coliseum. His performance for the whole of the work was decisive to the point of being able to attribute the authorship of the building that is there.

 

Meanwhile, at the invitation of Cassiano Branco, Frenchman Charles Siclis also collaborated by introducing some changes to the interior of the building, namely the design of doors and lamps.

 

The last architect to work at the Coliseu was Mário de Abreu. That made changes to several elements, namely the alteration of the tower designed by Cassiano, which initially envisaged the assembly of colored neon lighting elements and which he removed.

 

Finally, on December 19, 1941, just two years after the beginning of the work, Joaquim José de Carvalho, chairman of the board of directors of the insurance company Garantia, solemnly inaugurated the Coliseu, with the recital of a concert by the Orchestra of the Issuer National directed by maestro Pedro de Freitas Branco. Then there was a ball in the Atrium. About the date, the writer at O ​​Comércio do Porto wrote: “the modern, comfortable, elegant and well-succeeded tendency of the building”. And yet “the facade to which Cassiano leaves his name attached contributes to making the Coliseum a big box of surprises”.

The building plan shows affinities with the organization of the famous Teatro Total by Walter Gropius. There are also formal affinities with the post-World War I German and European functional movement. The room has a capacity of 3000 seats. In addition, it has a large bar next to the audience on the ground floor, a complementary room, with capacity for three hundred people and dedicated to medium-sized events, and on the top floor, a restaurant with a terrace with a good view of the city.

 

The interior of the Coliseu is magnificent in its fluid forms and organic circulation. The seduction of the circular room is difficult to describe in words, but evident to those who visit it. The friezes and cabins follow each other on several floors, ending at the upper level, involving the circular audience on the ground floor vertically.

 

Among so many artists who performed there, the following stand out: Fado singer Amália, pianist Sviatoslav Richer; the best clown in the world Popov; Rudolf Nureyev; the father of Portuguese rock Rui Veloso; Miles Davis or diva Claudia Schiffer.

 

In 1991, the Sala celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with a large tribute concert, in which the inaugural concert was replicated. He was a soloist, pianist and teacher Helena de Sá e Costa, accompanied by Pedro Burmester and conductor Jan Koenig, conducting the Porto Regie-symphony Orchestra.

 

In the mid-90s, the owner of Coliseu do Porto was Empresa Artística SA / Aliança group -UAP. There is a need for improvement works, as well as to face increasing current running costs of maintaining such a large building. In this context, news of the eventual sale of the Coliseum to IURD, commonly known as Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, with roots in Brazil, which had recently bought the emblematic Império cinema in Lisbon, to convert it into a cathedral, in the general passivity of from Lisbon.

Anonymous Portuenses and the city’s artistic agents came together spontaneously and, in a single gesture, they took to the street one morning in August, speaking out loudly against the deal and the closing of the Room, shouting “Coliseu is ours”. In the collective memory was the image of the singer Pedro Abrunhosa handcuffed to the bars of the Coliseu, surrounded by a small crowd who was shouting at the refusal of the deal. Everyone was not too much to continue the Coliseum.

 

Riding the wave of solidarity that was generated, the owners dropped the IURD business. In turn, on November 17, 1995, the Associação Amigos do Coliseu do Porto was set up, chaired by Mr Eng José António Barros, representing the owners, adding to the new association numerous institutions and anonymous citizens of the City.

 

In the meantime, the deed of purchase and sale became the property of the association Amigos do Coliseu do Porto. A few days later, after a Portugal Fashion show, a fire broke out on the stage, destroying it completely. A new wave of solidarity is generated, with ample monetary contributions from institutions and individuals, which allowed the Coliseum to reopen in the same year.

 

Meanwhile, new maintenance works were carried out introducing some technical improvements to the stage infrastructures. Thus, on November 24, 1998 the Porto Coliseum was reopened, giving a recital of the opera Carmen, by Georges Bizet.

 

With this history of almost eighty years, it is certain that the Coliseum will remain in the future as the great theater of Porto. Hopefully away from controversy, as has happened in the past. It will certainly last in the heart of the people of Porto.

 

Christmas Nativity
23 December, 2019 / , ,

Joaquim Machado de Castro (Coimbra, 1731 – 1822) was one of the most important and renowned Portuguese sculptors, having also been one of the
most influential in Europe in the 18th and early 19th centuries. He produced several Christmas Nativity Scenes, so much so that the oldest Nativity scene in the city of Porto, which dates back to the 18th century, is his own, and it is possible to visit it in the Church of São José das Taipas. But, also, in the Church of Corpo Santo de Massarelos it is possible to see one more of his beautiful Christnas Nativity Scenes. His work isspread throughout the country.

Suggestions by Nuno Pestana Vasconcelos
13 December, 2019 / , ,

In this small, big city, I have a habit of leaving without a destination, discovering a new Porto.

In recent years, Porto has been able to respond and reinvent itself, as a consequence of the growing effect of tourism, by presenting a growing and better offer of spaces, services and events. Enough to arouse in me a constant desire to visit the city. And a lot out there is to know.

I leave on foot, sometimes alone, but always accompanied by the camera. Much could be proposed within the traditional and usual circuits for tourists, the must see that we always find in the most varied guides and that are, in fact, not to be missed, also in this my Porto.

For a late afternoon or early evening, the meeting place has invariably been the Capela Incomum. It is an unusual space because it is partially inside an old chapel, with a cozy interior area, ideal for these colder days, but with a small terrace where we can meet and watch the sunset, weather permitting. The wine list is rich enough and the amuse bouche or tapas help to keep up a good conversation with friends, then departing the city within.

The taste and passion for photography set the tone for my suggestion to discover Porto from a more artistic and aesthetic perspective. With the “Aliados” as their starting point, surrounded by some landmark buildings, with new and luxurious hotels that dot the city, historic cafes, buildings that once hosted banks, the City Hall, etc., we can easily choose any direction, which We will certainly not be disappointed.

The architectural richness of Porto, from the oldest to the contemporary, would suggest dozens of interesting circuits in the city.

The The small streets and the narrow paths, the staircases, the sidewalks, the islands, the squares, gardens, cafes, restaurants, typical  taverns are all part of this imaginary but so real.

The churches, old movie theaters, theaters, train stations, traditional shops, in a mix of styles, spaces, decoration and experiences, all contribute to this unique beauty of a Porto that is already so European, but still stubborn. remain undefeated and true to their roots and strong traditions.

The surrounding area of ​​the Church and Convent of São Bento da Vitória, the old prison – Cadeia da Relação that hosts the Portuguese Center of Photography, ending in the beautiful Passeio das Virtues are unavoidable places to go, which I revisit and recommend.

In a diametrically opposite plan, but recognizing the effort that has been made by the municipality, promoting a less noble area of ​​the city, the eastern side, but with incredible potential, I suggest something that few have experienced: the Casa de São Roque. This beautiful house, now owned by the municipality and recently restored and adapted to host and exhibit contemporary art, is today an example of the houses of the time in Porto, for its architecture and beautiful garden. It is above all another noble space in the city, which now appears in an area that wants to become thriving and that will surely surprise Porto, its people and tourists.

Not to be missed, still in the Campanhã area, an art space – Mira Forum and Espaço Mira, especially dedicated to photography, where two galleries are born in an area where formerly abandoned warehouses are now part of a cultural circuit where they pass. some exhibitions and other events that cannot be ignored.

Where are we going out tonight?
22 November, 2019 / , , ,

The answer to this question is not always easy for those who like to go out dancing and truly enjoy music.
In most places, you always hear the same music, where you’ll find the latest radio hits, brazilian music and reggaeton.
But there are still some places, in Porto, where the music makes us travel to other times and makes us remember those moments that were special to us, or even spaces for new musical discoveries and where we can get lost in new sonorities.
To remember, the Batô returned with Noites do Baú (on the last Thursday of each month), where indie rock, which was heard in the 80s and 90s, filled the dance floor once again.
To travel back in time, Griffon’s, now in downtown Porto, is back with its matinées, now on Saturdays, which were legendary in the 80s and helped to
sharpen the musical taste of an entire generation that went there.
For new discoveries, Maus Hábitos, a reference in the city since its opening in the year when Porto was the European capital of culture and with a programme that focuses on discovering new sounds.
Also, to get lost in the night to the rhythm of new sounds, Plano B, despite being irregular in its programming, presents an alternative of two dance
floors that ensure some memorable nights.
Today, we no longer have an excuse not to go out. We’ll dance and travel through time or get lost in rhythms and the discovery of new sounds.

Miragaia Legend – Porto Legends
12 November, 2019 / , ,

Ramiro, the Christian King, attacked the Moorish fortress to rescue his wife, Queen Gaia, who had been kidnapped by Alboazar. On his return, Ramiro asked her why she was crying. Gaia, while looking at the ruins of the Alboazar’s castle, replies that she was truly happy there. Enraged, the king said to her: “Then look, Gaia (“mira, Gaia”), look closely because it is the last thing you will ever see”. And he killed her. That is where the name of the neighbourhood of Miragaia comes from.

Find out more about this and other legends of Porto’s history in the show Porto Legends.

Campanhã Railway Station
7 November, 2019 / ,

“El silbido de los trenes, su traqueteo sobre el puente más allá del monte fronterizo, le decía las horas, le delataba la dirección del viento y el tiempo previsto para mañana”. Es así como nuestra Agustina se refiere a ese pulsante ruido cuando el tren rasga la ciudad. Es la paz pobre que se vivía en el fin de siglo. Estancadas las heridas de la nación, degradada por sucesivas guerras civiles, la modernización era el designio y el ferrocarril uno de sus principales símbolos.

La Estação de Campanhã se inauguró el 5 de Noviembre de 1877, junto con el Puente María Pía. Era el resultado de una serie de obras donde había estado la antigua Quinta do Pinheiro. Fue uno de los motores del éxodo rural, con el foco en Campanhã, de una enorme cantidad de gente proveniente del interior del país y que iría a poblar el municipio.

Del tren al autobús, del autobús al metro, la Estação de Campanhã encuentra el futuro de la intermodalidad en un Oporto que se va transformando en una ciudad inteligente. De diseño neoclásico, sujeto a cambios a lo largo del siglo XX, culminando en la terminal actual, que supera en mucho la superficie de la vieja estación, en esta tranquila convivencia entre lo nuevo y lo viejo, marca cada vez más firme de la ciudad invicta.  Y aquí nos encontramos reviviendo las palabras de Ramalho: “finalmente nos bajamos en la Estación de Campaña”.

Street Art
9 August, 2019 / ,

This is an art not yet understood by many. With a negative history associated, where vandalism and the destruction of public spaces were the watchwords, people look suspiciously at the artists who perform these type of works.

Nowadays, in an attempt to change mindsets and demystify this art form, projects are emerging all over the city of Porto.

Raul Pinto has a degree in Graphic Design at ESAD – Escola Superior de Artes e Design and is know in this world of art as Kilos. In 2018, he had his first solo exhibition at the Dedicated Store Porto, entitled “DEDICATED to Kilos”. This year, Suuuper (Porto) held his second solo exhibition at entitled “Shhh!”. Get to know some of his works!

Parade of the paper costumes is back to Foz do Douro
7 August, 2019 / , ,

Almost two thousand years ago, Saint Bartholomew died skinned in Turkey andnowadays he inspires a curious festivitycelebrated anually, in August, in the city of Porto.
The celebrations of Saint Bartholomew are one of the most anticipated events in the city, with gastronomic activites, animation and musical shows guaranteed until the beggining of September.
The tradition dates back to the 16th century, when local populations used to bath in the expectation of curing diseases such as stuttering, gout or epilepsy.
Oficially, the celebrations of Saint Bartholomew exist since the 19th century.

The festivities in honour of Saint Bartholomew have as a high point the Court of the Paper Costume. With a lot of work and months of preparation, colored paper sheets turn into authentic costumes and props that fill the streets of Porto with colour and happiness.
The parade finishes, as usual, with a dip in the waters of the Atlantic. The tradition dictates that the rictual “holy bath” should always include seven dives.

Only then will the participants be able to thank Saint Bartholomew for his favors and expect ample healing and protection benefits provided by the saint for the following year.
The parade will take place on the 25th of August and the theme of the Union of Parishes of Aldoar, Foz do Douro e Nevogilde will be a tribute to Sophiade Mello Breyner Andresen in her Centenary.
This is one of the most original events in the city and in the country, and a unique tradition in the world that, year after year, attracts a growing number of participants, both national and international.

Miguel Veiga – An illustrious portuense
29 June, 2019 / , ,

Miguel Luís Kolback da Veiga was born in Oporto on June 30th, 1936, where he died on November 14th, 2016.

An illustrious portuense lawyer, Miguel Veiga was famous for his careful, almost literary production of his procedural pieces and for the brilliant way he presented himself in court.

From early on, he integrated academic movements of opposition to the regime of Salazar, which prevented him years later to be admitted as a university professor.

After the April revolution, in May 1974, he was responsible, alongside with Francisco Sá Carneiro, Magalhaes Mota and Francisco Pinto Balsemão, for the founding of the Popular Democratic Party, now Social Democratic Party, of which he was a member until his death and one of its most brilliant members, even when in order to disagree directly with the course followed. Therefore, against the indications of his party, he was a supporter of Mário Soares in his first candidacy for President of the Republic and, more recently, Rui Moreira, current mayor of Porto.

Although requested to do so, he never exercised governmental functions. He said, in response to invitations received, “not wanting to lose his freedom or leave Oporto,” city of his passion.

Alongside his work, civic and political intervention of high level, Miguel Veiga was still a lover of the arts, from literature to painting, from cinema to sculpture, collecting contributions that often illustrated his public interventions.

The name of Miguel Veiga is important to the history of portuguese democracy, for the search and affirmation of the values ​​of freedom and justice, for the frontality, independence and firmness of character that is so much a part of the good men of Oporto.

Miguel Veiga was also the author of several legal and cultural essays, and a voice present in the written press where throughout his life he collaborated.

He is Grand Officer of the Order of Liberty and received the Medal of Honor from the City, the highest distinction of Porto.