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Hermínia Silva

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«Hermínia Silva, affectionately known as the priestess of Lisbon, was the most representative fadista(1) of this bohemian and traditional city. One of the most famous names of Fado(2) and one od the most popular artists of “Teatro de Revista”(3), she portrayed with vast joviality and humour the Lisbon she loved.
Only ten years old, Hermínia Silva started working as a tailor apprentice. At the same time, she disclosed her talent for musical comedy, initiating a theatre career as an amateur in a modest recreation society, in her Lisbon quarter, Castelo(4). Her extraordinary artistic performances were almost immediately recognized and she received an invitation to perform at Parque Mayer(5), considered the cradle of national popular songs. Due to her youth and inexperience, she performed in minor “Revistas” at “Parque Mayer”, but her voice and acting skills, gave her an enormous popularity.
Consequently, in 1929, Hermínia starts to perform in larger productions, starring in a great number of operettas and popular plays, as well as cinema. Invited by all companies of light entertainment, she gave “castiças”(6) interpretations of the “alfacinha’s(7) fate, created colourful characters, and starred innumerable productions, leaving a strong trademark at “Teatro de Revista”, with her spontaneity and remarkable ability to improvise.

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