Trama has presented us with another treasure from the Elis Regina discography and filmography. Based in part on the last show that Elis Regina performed, Saudades do Brasil, this DVD was produced by Globo TV network in Brazil and features Elis on a circus ring simulated stage. Not only is this historical document essential for Elis Regina fans, it is also a must-have DVD for any Brazilian music lover. Elis was on top of her game when this show was produced and televised on October 3, 1980.
The DVD was well restored to its full glory. The liner notes do mention a few instances of a tape slow down, but it’s hard to notice that given the live atmosphere of the show. The color is phenomenal and enhances the stage set-up and Elis Regina’s tasteful wardrobe. Brazilian colors are present everywhere in the show, from Elis’s wardrobe to a giant back-drop Brazilian flag in one of the show’s segment. The addition of a recent interview with the director of the program, Daniel Filho, gives a whole new meaning and historical background to Elis Regina and that particular time in her life and career. Even personal problems that Elis was having at that time are addressed by Daniel Filho. This interview is simply one extra perk to make this DVD worth its content.
Musicians accompanying Elis Regina are Cesar Camargo Mariano (keyboards, arrangements), Sérgio Henriques (keyboards), Nonô Camargo (trumpet), Cláudio Faria (trumpet), Octavio Bangala (tenor sax), Don Chacal (percussion), Paulo Garfunkel (alto sax, flutes, clarinet), Chiquinho Brandão (flutes), Natan Marques (acoustic and electric guitars), Kzam Gama (bass, acoustic guitar), Bocato (trombone), Picolé (drums) and Lino Simão (tenor sax).
The program opens in the same way that the show Saudades do Brasil was. There is an up tempo instrumental version of the classic “Arrastão,” a trademark of Elis’s repertoire, except that this version is only instrumental. All musicians are fired up for what will be a terrific show. The program flows smoothly, but a careful viewer can see the meticulous set up for distinct segments in the show. The first part of the DVD features Elis as a show woman. After a grand entrance coming down a stairway to the circus ring, she moves around the stage, shows what an excellent singer she was, plays with the music she sings and gives a commanding performance from beginning to end. “Querelas do Brasil” is perfect in her delivery giving Aldir Blanc’s lyrics its full meaning of the dichotomy between ‘Brasil’ and ‘Brazil’. Closing this segment with “Alô Alô Marciano,” Elis Regina shows how playful she can be, and she is even a bit sarcastic as demanded by the song. It is amazing that a song written over 26 years ago still carries such a timely message about war, society and the world we live in.
The mood of the show then entirely turns. WIth a single chair in the middle of the stage, Elis starts drawing from her vast repertoire of classics. “Essa Mulher” is stunning, but when Elis sits down to perform “Atrás da Porta,” the camera closes in. After the first verses, Elis covers her face with one hand as she fights back tears. In a highly emotional performance, she brings “Atrás da Porta” from the deepest corners of her soul. You will also feel the pain she was feeling in this very moving performance. This love trilogy ends with Lupicínio Rodrigues’s classic “Cadeira Vazia.” Here is the video for “Atrás da Porta.”
We are then treated to the highly political portion of the show. “Conversando no Bar” leads into the all-time favorite and amnesty anthem “O Bêbado e a Equilibrista,” which in turn closes with the sad and yet very hopeful message of “Aos Nossos Filhos.”
As with all shows in the Série Grandes Nomes, the next segment features a guest performer. Elis chose Cesar Camargo Mariano. Together they first play “Modinha,” from the anthological disc Elis & Tom, and then give a rousing rendition of “Rebento.” It is clear to see how well together Elis and Cesar performed. They can feed from each other’s art seamlessly and beautifully.
For the final numbers of this show, Elis goes back to Saudades do Brasil. The tribal arrangement for “Aquarela do Brasil” is like no other. When dancers come on stage for these numbers, the mood clearly begins to change to a more lively and optimistic grand finale. The message of optimism in Gonzaguinha’s “Redescobrir” is infectious. As in children’s play, musicians, dancers and audience members hold hands with Elis Regina is a circle of hope and happiness.
If you have never seen Elis Regina live, this DVD is the next best thing. If you only buy one DVD this year, make it Elis Regina Carvalho Costa.
Elis Regina Carvalho Costa:
Série Grandes Nomes TV Globo
Trama DVD 1160-5 (2005)
Portuguese only (no subtitles)
Color – All Regions
Bonus: Interview with director Daniel Filho
Incidental song performed throughout the entire program: Fascinação (Fascination) (F.D. Marchetti – M. de Feraudy – Vs. Armando Louzada)
- Abertura: Arrastão (Edú Lobo – Vinícius de Moraes) (Instrumental)
- Querelas Do Brasil (Maurício Tapajós – Aldir Blanc)
- Agora Tá (Tunai – Sergio Natureza)
- Alô Alô Marciano (Rita Lee – Roberto de Carvalho)
- Essa Mulher (Joyce – Ana Terra)
- Atrás da Porta (Chico Buarque – Francis Hime)
- Cadeira Vazia (Lupicínio Rodrigues)
- Conversando No Bar (Mílton Nascimento – Fernando Brant)
- O Bêbado e a Equilibrista (João Bosco – Aldir Blanc)
- Aos Nossos Filhos (Ivan Lins – Vitor Martins)
- Modinha (Tom Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes) w/ Cesar Camargo Mariano
- Rebento (Gilberto Gil) w/ Cesar Camargo Mariano
- Aquarela Do Brasil (Ary Barroso)
- O Que Foi Feito Devera (Mílton Nascimento – Fernando Brant)
- Redescobrir (Gonzaguinha)