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Tiradentes - Oscar Edelstein

Updated on May 12, 2015

Avant garde Dreams

"Tridentes - the Dream of Heroes" is a multimedia site specific opera of Argentinean avantgarde composer Oscar Edelstein.

Having written many operatic works such as "Los Monstruito'" and El Hecho" (that Edelstein prefers to call “Acoustic Theatre”), it is "Tiradentes" that is perhaps the most noteworthy for its scale, vision and political impact. Composed to take place over three days taking over various parts of the city of Brasilia, it was the first opera to speak about the figure “Tiradentes” (Tooth Puller) who Edelstein calls "Brazil's only real national hero.”

Historical Background

"Tiradentes" (Joaquim José da Silva Xavier) led a revolt in 1789, known as the “La conspiración de Minas Gerais” - which for Edelstein was an avant-garde act because it was way before the French Revolution, and was the first act of self-determination in Brazil, contributing many many years later to Brazil's independence. The revolt failed and the body of Tiradentes was quartered into several pieces.


Edelstein’s opera was to be staged throughout Brasilia (Brazil’s famous model city designed by Oscar Niemeyer who was strongly influenced by Le Corbusier) - as if in a symbolic re-assembling of the body of Tiradentes.

Complexity and Controversy

The complex project involved a team of more than two hundred actors, plastics artists, technicians and musicians from both countries, collaborations between Universidad de Quilmes and Universidade de Brasília, and received the backing of UNESCO and funding from prominent foundations. However, the project in its entirety was ultimately postponed by a combination of factors, including the controversy that the history of Tiradentes provoked (such as Tiradentes' known links to the freemasons), political and diplomatic problems between Argentina and Brazil, and political issues in Brazil. Though it is a project that was fully conceived, composed and scored by Edelstein; finally only part of it was performed. Edelstein hopes to one day complete the project.

In 2004 there was a work in progress staging of a part of the opera, “El Artilugio de la Torre y el Mar- La Máquina de la Muerte"

The Art Direction and design was by important Brazilian artists Gê Orthof and Elder Rocha.

Gê Orthof is a Brazilian artist working with installation, performance, drawing, video and photography. He directs a research group in the Visual Arts Program at Instituto de Arte, Universidade de Brasília, intitled: Moradas do Íntimo (Home of Intimacy) which deals with the artist’s creative process from studio to the art spaces to public intervention. He is the founder editor of reVISta, the graduate program’s art journal and has contributed with several publications specialized in art in Brazil, curatorship, and participation in juries, such as: Banco do Brasil Cultural Center, Caixa Cultural Center, Itaú Cultural Center, The National Foundation for The Arts, Brasilia University, Brasilia Cultural Foundation and Central Bank Museum. Has illustrated more than twenty children’s books for major publishing houses in Rio and São Paulo.


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