Critical Study and Translation of AntÓnio JosÉ Da Silva’s Cretan Labyrinth

Price:$259.95 + tax & shipping
(Click the PayPal button to buy)
Labirinto de Creta is one of the eight Portuguese satiric operas, first performed in the Lisbon puppet theatre from 1733 to 1738. Their librettist, AntÓnio José da Silva, is an enigmatic and ill-fated figure. Born in Rio De Janeiro in 1705, he was sentenced to death at an auto-da-fé in Lisbon in 1739, for having practiced Judaism. By profession a lawyer, he frequented music circles, collaborating with the composer AntÓnio Teixeira on at least four occasions. Labirinto de Creta, combining a love intrigue with a comic treatment of the myth of Theseus slaying the Minotaur, is a thinly veiled satire on contemporary Portugal. With spoken dialogue, numerous musical items, and stage effects such as shipwreck, explosions and earthquake, the opera is suited to performance by actors as well as by puppets as in the original production, though unfortunately the score is not extant. Apart from the comedy of situation, the humor derives from the ebullient wit and puns of the servants, who mock their master’s high-flown expressions of love and jealousy, and ridicule the despotic, hierarchical society in which they have to survive. This English translation, the first of any operas, is accompanied by an introduction and notes.


“[This] is a fine piece of scholarship and offers a good model for further editions of António José’s plays….The translation follows closely the original and keeps the flavor of the dialogues. The wit, the funny, the comical is reproduced accurately, making this translation an excellent piece of work and a good introduction to the study of Portuguese theatre.” – Luís de Sousa Rebelo, Emeritus Reader and Visiting Professor, Fellow of King’s College London

“Dr. Juliet Perkins’ [work] represents the culmination of years of rigorous research and scholarship, which have resulted in three major achievements. This scholar has recovered an important work that has never deserved to lapse into obscurity, whether in the Portuguese-speaking world or elsewhere. Her fully annotate edition and translation of this notably difficult eighteenth-century Portuguese puppet play text loses neither the humor nor wit of the original, and can only be described as a tour de force. Finally the impeccably referenced introduction to the volume is of sufficient length, complexity and sophistication to have been published as a separate monograph. This groundbreaking exploration of eighteenth-century Portuguese puppet theatre and opera opens up many new avenues of exploration for scholars of Portuguese Literature and Theatre, those involved in Comparative Literature, as well as more enterprising theatre producers…..[The author has] carried out…painstaking academic detective work….consulted an astonishingly wide range of source….a solid, reliable edition of an important work, underpinned by scholarship of the highest caliber… invaluable contribution to scholarship….” – Dr. Patricia Anne Odber de Baubeta, Senior Lecturer and Director of Portuguese Studies, University of Birmingham

“Perkins has provided us with an exemplary Introduction, ensuring that the reader appreciates the manner in which Silva’s life meshes with the social, musical and theatrical worlds of the Lisbon of his day, as well as examining the impact of Spanish, Italian and French aspects on Portuguese theatre. In particular, the unfamiliar hybrid that is ‘puppet opera’ is well sited among the other contemporaneous forms of theatrical and musical activity…..The translation is a triumph: the Portuguese text, especially in racier utterances, abounds in puns and double-entendres, yet Perkins almost invariably finds (near-) equivalents in parallel English idioms and proverbs, providing explanatory endnotes where appropriate. Indeed, the endnotes both to the Introduction and to the Translation are quite admirable scholarly achievements…..a worthwhile publication” – Emeritus Professor Clive Willis

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations
Preface, Acknowledgements
Cretan Labyrinth: Text and Translation
Textual Variants in the 1744 Edition
Notes to the Translation
Index to the Introduction

Other Theater Books