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By Culturekiosque Staff

LISBON, 18 DECEMBER 2012 — The tradition of singing the Te Deum on December 31 as an action of thanksgiving for the year gone by gave rise to one of the most impressive ceremonies of liturgical music in eighteenth century Lisbon. After last year’s surprise success of the first ever historical reconstitution of one of these ceremonies, the Gulbenkian Orchestra and Choir return to the Church of Saint Roch, this time with a Te Deum by António Leal Moreira, composed in 1786. The Portuguese state television network RTP  will once more transmit this concert live, thus associating itself to the renaissance of this grandiose tradition.

The Portuguese composer António Leal Moreira (1758 - 1819) was a contemporary of Mozart. He had his early musical training at the Patriarchal Seminary in Lisbon, later serving there as assistant to his teacher, Carvalho, and as organist. In 1787 he became mestre de capela of the Portuguese royal chapel, followed by appointments as music director at the Teatro da Rua dos Condes and in 1793 at the newly opened Teatro de S. Carlos.

The main body of Moreira's work was operas, oratorios, serenades, and sacred music. He set both Italian and Portguese libretti in works influenced by composers such as Paisiello and Cimarosa. He left to posterity very little instrumental music. The brief, standalone Sinfonia is a rare exception that anticipates the overture styles of Rossini and Donizetti.

 Igreja de São Roque (Church of Saint Roch)

Built according to the plans of the Italian architect Filippo Terzi in the second half of the 16th century,  the Igreja de São Roque (Church of Saint Roch) was one of the few buildings in Lisbon to survive the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. As one of the world's first Jesuit churches, it served as the Society of Jesus’ home church in Portugal for over 200 years, before the Jesuits were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula nation.

António Leal Moreira: Te Deum

Gulbenkian Choir and Orchestra
Jorge Matta, conductor

Ana Quintans,  soprano
Benno Schachtner, countertenor
Fernando Guimarães, tenor
Diogo Oliveira, bass
Marisa Figueira, soprano
Joana Nascimento, contralto
Pedro Cachado, tenor
Manuel Rebelo, bass

Te Deum em São Roque
31 December 2011 at 17:00
Igreja de São Roque (no reserved seating)
Largo Trindade Coelho
Bairro Alto
Lisbon, Portugal
Tel: (35) 1 21 323 53 81

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