Sunday, March 7, 2010
"Now I know very well what it's like for a great artist to assume the importance of an entire era onto his person. I know about the torment, the profound duality that forms within the famous and public person, who is given a certain amount of power. And the inner conflict between the desire to be important and the desire to be happy."
- Gilberto Gil
In April 1965, Elis was on the cover of magazines. She went up on stage at the Astória Theatre, in Rio, to receive the prize of best interpreter of the First Popular Music Festival (1), interpreting the song that also won the first prize. It was glory. Finally, eight years after having sung for the first time on Guri's Club, six years after having signed her first professional contract, three years after her first LP, Elis arrived where she had wanted to be. Her biggest desire and daydream while in Porto Alegre was to be on the cover of a magazine. This signified celebrity, the proof of recognition, and pure pleasure. Secret dream hidden by the wide-open laughter. Vinícius de Morais could not support so much vibration and, wisely, nicknamed her "Pimentinha" (little pepper).
Forty-eight hours after having received the prize, Elis was already in São Paulo to start a show with the composer and guitarist Baden Powell. But instead of him, the samba-singer Jair Rodrigues showed up, an anti-bossa-nova singer as well, who was fresh from a big national success: deixem que digam, que pensem, que falem... (let them say, think, tell...). Elis and Jair had only one rehearsal together, a few hours before the premiere. The Paramount Theatre, already rented by Walter Silva, who produced this show, was starting to become the temple of MPB (2) in São Paulo. When TV Record started its musicals, it used a smaller theatre, the Record Theatre on Consolacão Street. Later, TV Record also rented the Paramount Theatre and transformed it into the Record-Central Theatre. The 2,000 seats of the Paramount were not enough for the overcrowded public which attended the three shows of Elis, Jair, and the Jongo Trio. A singing duo was born which lasted almost three years and produced three live LPs. The first of the series, "Dois na Bossa" (Two in Bossa), came from this first show produced by Walter Silva.
After the premiere, Elis and Jair received the Roquete Pinto (3), a traditional trophy presented by TV Record to the year's best artists. Backstage, Marcos Lázaro, enchanted with his star, was approached by Paulinho Machado de Carvalho (4): "I need to talk to you". At that time, impresarios were not well looked upon by TV stations. In fact, they were prevented from coming in the door. Excelsior and Record did not allow impresarios to enter their premises without authorization.
Marcos Lázaro was involved in advanced negotiations with TV Tupi, who wanted Elis to replace Wilson Simonal on the show Spot Light, directed by Abelardo Figueiredo. Tupi was offering a fabulous sum of money for that time: BR$ 2,800,000 cruzeiros (5). Paulinho Machado de Carvalho asked Manoel Carlos, a trusted colleague, to talk to Marcos Lázaro and try to pull him away from Tupi. In that conversation, Marcos Lázaro told Manoel Carlos that everything was practically settled with Cassiano Gabus Mendes, of Tupi. Manoel Carlos insisted and Marcos played a hand: "Of course, I told him that Elis would be making more at Tupi than what they had in fact offered".
But at that moment, a complication arose with Tupi. One of the directors of the joint ownership of Associated Newspapers and Broadcasters, which administered Tupi, said that a female singer could not earn that kind of money. The main reason was that, with this salary, Elis would earn more at the end of the month than he, the director. In light of this, Marcos Lázaro felt released and immediately linked up with Record (6) for an even more fabulous contract: six million cruzeiros a month . It was the highest salary ever paid to a brazilian TV artist. Up to that time, the highest earner at Record had been Agostinho de Santos, earning 800,000 cruzeiros a month.
With Elis' first paycheck from Record, Marcos Lázaro bought her an apartment in the same building where he lived, on Rio Branco Avenue. As a matter of fact, Elis' salary in 1965 was enough to buy an apartment each month. Crazy. In nine months, her salary had gone from thirty thousand at TV Rio to six million at Record. And she was barely twenty years old.
According to what Marcos Lázaro told me, purchasing this apartment was the only investment that he did in her name, in the ten years that he spent as her impresario. After that deal, she demanded that he give her all her money, period.
Elis was dazzled. She used to tell me that at times, she would feel like Cinderella who had put on the right shoe, thanks to a fairy godmother, TV Record. Elis went crazy with all that money. She would go out and buy things that she had always wanted, like an absurd quantity of shoes with matching handbags (she told me seventeen, but there are some who say she had a hundred), a great variety of wigs, teddy bears, jewelry, outfits and more outfits. She used to go shopping with Elisa Lázaro, Marcos' wife. Elisa brought Elis to Madame Boriska's house, a well-known São Paulo stylist in the 1960's. Her first attempt at merchandising with Elis was a fiasco. Elisa recalls:
- I said that Madame Boriska could offer clothes for Elis to wear on the TV show in exchange for a credit. Do you know what she told me? "Do you think I'm going to wear borrowed clothes?"
Intoxicated with the amount of money that gushed from her throat, and tired of advice of the type: "My girl, you should keep money in the bank, buy dollars, real estate, don't waste...",
Elis gave up on Elisa's company for shopping:
- We were at a jewellery store once, and the salesman asked: "Do you want jewelry for investment purposes or to adorn yourself?" She didn't know, she was only a young girl. He talked her into buying a diamond, a solitary, because you know that people who buy jewellery are buying money. She had earrings and necklaces. We would see her wear them once and then never see them again. At that time, she gave many presents.
Record took advantage of the name (O Fino da Bossa - The Best Of Bossa) and the formula of the Paramount shows to start a show on May 17, 1965 headed up by Elis Regina. It was recorded on Mondays at the Record Theatre on Consolação Street, and was a show especially made for television - which was innovative for TV, for music, and for that time. Practically all popular music artists of that time appeared on O Fino da Bossa. Elis was the representative of a talented generation, the first immediately following bossa-nova, occupying space in a communication vehicle of national scope. It was also a vehicle which featured protest songs against the military regime which had asserted itself a year before. Elis had already felt political vibes from Solano Ribeiro, and from contacts with thinking students of that time, like João Evangelista Leão, who received Elis in his house for long conversations, to listen to records and to define the repertoire of the show.
Paulo Machado de Carvalho's station had received Elis Regina with open arms. It was a family-run station. Paulinho, the oldest son, took care of the administrative part. Elis liked to confess herself to him, as they had a father-daughter relationship. The station's creative nucleus, named the A Team - Manoel Carlos, Tuta, Nilton Travesso, Raul Duarte - had to create programs for auditoriums because a violent fire had destroyed their studios, equipment and archives. Within this team, the production of O Fino was headed up by the very dedicated Nilton Travesso, until then a TV man.
"At that time, Elis would get to the stage at one o'clock in the afternoon and would practice three or four arrangements to sing that night with the Zimbo Trio (7)", Nilton Travesso told me. "No one else did that. She was active, argumentative, discussed things with me and with other people, with the Zimbo Trio. She took things seriously and never argued on the job. She seemed to be providing a service to the people who went to the theatre."
The only thing that greatly bothered Elis the star was the presence of her father at certain rehearsals. Nilson Travessa recalls:
- He would come to look for money and Elis would become very upset. She became nervous, ebellious, and suddenly people would know that she was upset, because she was never normally like this. She thought that she had been used and abused.
When Elis entered the Record Theatre to record the first O Fino, she wanted to know right away who was going to look after the sound. It was José Eduardo Homem de Mello, nicknamed Zuza, who had a double function at the station: he travelled to foreign countries to sign international attractions, and he was also the main sound technician. Zuza told Elis that he was a bass-player, and they got along right away. He recalls:
- She wasn't very nervous, no, but she didn't know that the whole show would be recorded that night. There was commotion and great confusion. It was Cyro Monteiro who brought order in the place. I was going crazy with so many microphones, but Elis didn't make a single mistake.
Elis' fan-club started to form: many people arrived at the theatre's ticket office at four, five in the morning. At the artists' exit door, a confusion of screams and autographs. Many young girls from that time know each other up to this day, and several are part of the group "Elis em Movimento" (Elis on the move). Sonia Dorothy Gomes attended practically all the shows and events of Elis' career. Her collection of clippings and photographs is fantastic. She began to infiltrate the backstage areas. After a while, Elis even began to receive her. Dorothy refused to talk with me if I were to classify her as a fan. At the time of O Fino, Dorothy watched the rivalry between Elis and the singer Cláudia, a novice brought to the show by a musician in the orchestra. Right away, people began to compare the two. An animosity quickly developed.
Luís Loy, keyboardist of the famous Luís Loy Quintet, who accompanied Elis on O Fino and went on various concert tours with her, told me that Elis started to get annoyed at all the comments and comparisons. Many people said that Cláudia was better. Sonia Dorothy was witness to an incident: in a discussion on stage, Cláudia pushed Elis, who lost her balance and almost fell into the pit. Luís Loy told me that Elis went to see Paulinho Machado de Carvalho to demand that Cláudia not appear on her show. Paulinho said that he could not remember this story and would not confirm it. The fact is that Cláudia went to Rio de Janeiro, into the hands of Ronaldo Bôscoli, who prepared a show for her titled Quem tem medo de Elis Regina (Who's Afraid of Elis Regina)?
There was another disagreement, musical this time, with the Zimbo Trio. At the beginning, Elis and the Zimbo Trio were almost one. One complemented the other. With Zimbo (Luís Chaves, Amilton Godoy, and Rubinho), Elis discovered another musical universe: they were all nightclub musicians, and good ones at that, who adored jazz and improvisation. Normally, they would be the opening act for O Fino: they would play two or three numbers and warm up the audience.
Musicians with strong personalities, they would use those moments to show what they were capable of. Elis didn't like it when they ended their set on a climax, thereby spoiling her entrance.
Besides, she began to consider the Zimbo Trio (7) as being her band. This wasn't what the three musicians thought or wanted, however. The bassist Luís Chaves already knew Elis from the show Primeira Audição (First Audition), when the two of them had split the set, and he had done some arrangements on her first LP with Philips. He recalls:
- She wanted her band to be well behaved. She thought very much like a musician. She realized that she knew less about music than we did, but we also realized that she knew what she wanted. She wasn't only a soloist, she was also a musician in the group.
It was something in common with the professional colleague Gal Costa, who would say years later:
"I met Elis in Salvador, when she went there to do a show. We went out together. I was going to sing in a music festival and she went with me.
"The first time that I did O Fino da Bossa, there was no dressing room for me and she invited me to share hers. I know that Elis was a very difficult person, but she always behaved in a very caring way with me. At the time of Fantasia, when the press violently criticized the show, she called me. She always had a special thing with me. She sent me postcards.
"I went to see Falso Brilhante and afterward she sent me a little note. She was calling me seeking work for the musicians. And when I did that special for Globo, I said to Danilo Filho: 'I'm going to invite Elis'. He said: 'Come on! Elis won't come'. And I: 'But of course she will come'. We called her in Los Angeles. She answered: 'Of course I'll come, tomorrow'. And she came. When we sang together, she wouldn't look me in the eyes. I said: 'Elis, look at me, I want to see you'. She: 'I am cross-eyed, bu're going to laugh at my eyes'. I said: 'Come on! I want to see your face, your eyes, I want to share this with you'. And she: 'No, I am cross-eyed, you're going to laugh. I have a problem because I'm crosseyed'.
But she was happy.
"At times I found her a little cold as a singer. It's funny, because Elis could manage to cry and sing, and I am unable to. When I start to cry, my voice shakes right away. When I say cold, I mean very technical.
"As a singer, she was the best. She spoke the words, on top of the notes, very sophisticated in the way she emitted the notes. I admired her a great deal. She had a fantastic musicality. Like me, she thought of herself as one of the musicians in the orchestra".
A certain composer, recently-arrived from Bahia (8), then entered Elis Regina's life. Hired as administrator at Gessy-Lever (9), Gilberto Gil (10) appeared at Elis' apartment on Rio Branco Avenue dressed in a suit and tie, 007 briefcase in hand. Elis thought he looked funny. But she listened to Louvação (Praise), Lunik 9 and many others. Moreover, she greatly impressed the young composer:
- For me, Elis was the symbol of everything, of newness itself. She even legitimized my own ambitions. I thought that our time had arrived. She was different from all other singers, all her gestures, her voice, her way of singing, her repertoire. And I became immediately oppressed the first time I saw her. All those artists oppress me. With Maria Bethânia (11) I have the same sensation.
They are all my peers, but I feel oppressed. But this is a deformation of my own personality, a certain envy, a difficulty. And I had this very much with her. I saw her in her house, then, relaxed, the thing was very palpable. I was tense. I was crazy about her. She didn't know anything about it, although maybe she suspected it, because I was very endearing with her. My career was launched by her, even though Gal (12) had been the first to record my music, but Elis made it a point to always include some of my songs on her records. Elis treated me with great arrogance, but with great calm. This is because I was gentle and sweetened everything, because I am generally like this with almost everyone, and with her, I was inspired by the oppression that I felt, by everything that she gave me, a passionate thing also. I was there, servile and fragile, and then she took advantage of this to inject her arrogance. But I had the impression that she was like this with artists in general, that she had to be like this with them, important musicians for her, important colleagues.
She must have had a relation where the feeling of competition dominated everything. This isn't something that I can infer from my personal relation with her, I think it's a generic thing. But in time this became more designed, like an architecture, a constructed thing. It became more like an armoured model for her.
Elis found a way to sophisticate her arrogance, to stereotype it. She became more stereotyped and sophisticated, by the conversation subjects she chose, the kind of humour she chose to use, the spicy character of her personality, which was very much at the forefront. I have the impression that she had different criteria for different people. She became very civilized. She acquired a certain finesse, and dreamed of becoming more polished. And together with this, she solidified the crust of difficulty. She became more difficult. At the time of Tropicalismo, it was a scene. She was very resentful, I think. She must have become resentful, with a character that was always surprising, unpredictable. At that time, we seldom saw each other.
"I was with her during the famous 'march against electric guitars', which left the Paramount Theatre and wound up at the São Francisco plaza. It wasn't really against electric guitars. In reality, it was a general resentment of the people that was manifesting itself, a mixture of xenophobia and nationalism: let's go, on behalf of brazilian music. This march was against many things, but the rhetoric of the slogans was against foreign music, which was alienating music. It was somewhat like a Geraldo Vandré thing (13). I don't know for sure, but I was on the side of solidarity with the artists. At the bottom I was very naive on one hand, and I also resisted criticizing them, to understand what criticism I should give to all that. I didn't do it. I abstained from delving into my degree of requirement, and began to think that everything was well, that there was something fair in all the things that they wanted. Besides, that march was something partly manipulated by the fandom of that time, invented by Jacaré, by Telé. It was a bit like fans grouping at the stage door.
Because one must realize that the Record Theatre, at that time, was a permanent fixture. Every day of the week there were musicals, and all of these defended sectors, tendencies.
"At the time of Domingo No Parque (14) (Sunday in the Park), Elis wasn't talking to me. During those festivals, there were interviews backstage and everyone went there to listen. Elis was interpreting O Cantador (15) (The Folk Singer), and when she was interviewed, she said: 'Gil is a deteriorating composer, an artist that is destroying himself'. I thought this meant that she thought that we were through. I was hurt. But at that time it was a shock for everyone, magnetized by her, a whole circle that she magnetized, thus the relations were shaken between us.
"Our encounters became very rare. Sporadic. We would always meet each other after a disturbed relationship. During the whole thing there were three or four shaky periods. The first was during tropicalismo (16). After that we started to see each other again, when she recorded Oriente (Orient) and Doente Morena (Sick Brunette) (17). She never called me on the telephone. She always sent a message: Elis wants to talk to you. She must have noticed that I was crazy about her. I became curious again when she sang Oriente, because she sang a sentence, a mistaken word in the song which I later pointed out to her. I didn't manage to talk to her about it, but she found out.
It's the part that goes: 'the spider lives from what it weaves'. Elis recorded: 'I doubt what the spider weaves'. She must have picked up the recording and not understood the lyrics. When I heard it, I was astounded by this, such a mistake was different and funny, like doubting something. What a strange thing that Elis wouldn't know the saying, 'the spider lives from what it weaves'. And I remember that she didn't like the fact that I had said something about it.
"After a year or two, she established contact again and I sent her O Compositor Me Disse (The Composer Told Me). That song was made for her. It was something that I wanted to say because of the tension that I perceived in records of that period. I wanted to send a message with the song. It was a sort of therapy which said to relax, as if she had come to me to put a message in it. It was a period when I spent a lot of time at home, very macrobiotic, Preta was born, and I was living in Rio, very withdrawn, in a cave. It was around that time that I did Copo Vazio (Empty Glass) for Chico (Buarque) and Barato Total (What A Gas!) for Gal Costa.
My head was in a world of relationship between unity and duality. I composed O Compositor Me Disse for Elis, without guitar, just voice. And when the recording arrived, it seemed to me that she had assumed an attitude completely opposed to what I had thought would be conveyed. It was as if I had given her a massage and her muscles had become even more tense, and in the end, she had become like a rock.
When I listened to it I had this feeling. I commented on this to someone, and everything becomes public. It was a time when Elis had troubled relationships with everyone. She had difficulty with Tom (Jobim), after the record they made together in America (18). She was having troubles with Milton (Nascimento) (19). No matter where you went, there were signs of little problems with Elis.
"Our last thing together was another song. Once again, we didn't talk to each other. I had done Rebento (Sprout) and she hadn't recorded it. She sent me a message: 'I didn't hear the harmony'. She only recorded Rebento after I had recorded it. Then, in Se Eu Quiser Falar Com Deus (If I wanted to talk to God), there was a problem of a different order.
It's incredible, my life with Elis was an impressive thing. Without wanting it to be. I was going to record this song and she asked me for a song for her record. I sent her Palco (Stage), which she didn't manage to record. I was in the studio when she called me and said: 'I recorded Se Eu Quiser Falar Com Deus and I'm going to release it'. I said: 'But I am releasing a single with that song. What are we going to do?' That's how this situation happened. She recorded the song but never put it on her record (20). Odeon released it after her death. My publisher told her that it is common practice when someone records something that exclusivity be retained for a period of sixty days.
"Now I know very well what it's like for a great artist to assume the importance of an entire era onto his person. I know about the torment, the profound duality that forms within the famous and public person, who is given a certain amount of power. And the inner conflict between the desire to be important and the desire to be happy.
"Elis would change her mind every five minutes. But she always had an idea - it wasn't like she would have an idea right now and not have any five minutes from now. She had an idea now and another one later. She was always clearly on one side. It was as if she made it a point of always being only on one side. She had a bit of manichaeism (21).
Whenever she adopted an opposite point of view, she would treat with irony the point of view which she had held previously. It was thus, she saw things in such and such a way and nothing else eexisted. Everything on the other side was absurd. But, all of a sudden, she would move to the other side. It's the so-called verbal unconscious. A complicated thing. Especially to be something that is never defeated by doubt, or defeats doubt itself. Elis identified this with frankness, I don't know. But this owed much to her upbringing. She was raised with something always arriving and saying: memorize, read this or that. And she read all that. She didn't resign herself to doubt. Nothing ntered, nothing sank deep, a kind of empty resignation. Who knows, I see it that way, but we are speculating about her apparent personality, this level of her verbal conscience."
The show O Fino da Bossa had unbeatable audience support, until Elis decided to take a vacation. She spent two months visiting Europe, which proved fatal for her show. Elis' departure from the command of O Fino coincided with the rise of the show Jovem Guarda (Young Guard) and of Roberto Carlos (22). Paulinho Machado de Carvalho did not want Elis to go travelling. He believed in the old theory of TV: when someone isn't on, people forget. Wanting to bring new life into the program, Record suggested that Elis get new producers. And why not Mieli and Bôscoli? Elis got mad, but Paulinho somehow convinced her and she agreed to see Mieli only. From São Paulo, she notified her partner: everything was cleared up.
It was a more serious encounter than one could imagine. At the end of 1967, Elis Regina and Ronaldo Bôscoli surprised the artistic world with a bomb: they were going to be married. In the December 12, 1967 edition of Jornal da Tarde (23) (Evening Paper), an unsigned article titled "A composer carries away Elis Regina" describes the civil marriage of Elis and Bôscoli as follows:
"The civil marriage of Elis Regina with Ronaldo Bôscoli was very simple and lasted four minutes according to the round clock on the wall. What lasted longer was the impatience of the bride and groom, because a member of the groom's wedding party, Paulo Machado de Carvalho (Son) and his wife, only arrived at five thirty. The judge was already there, and the wedding had been scheduled for four thirty. The maid of honour, fashion model Vera Barreto Leite, didn't show up because she had to do a film session. A few hours before the wedding, she was replaced by Wanda Sá.
"Elis and Bôscoli were married among daisies. On top of the table where they signed the wedding registry, there was a vase of artificial daisies. "When Elis signed the book, her eyes were full of tears. She was apparently calm. Moments before, she had taken a Vagostesil.
"It was seventeen minutes after five."
"It had stopped raining. Dona Glória, the cook, was radiant. In the morning, she had asked the youngest of the house, Vicente, to draw a sun in the backyard, to scare away the rain that had been falling since the previous evening. Elis' mother was the only one who cried when she kissed her son-in-law, who said in her ear: 'Why are you crying, mother? We're here'.
"A glass of champagne toasted the event. Elis went to bed at four in the morning. After the show in the Golden Room, the new couple 'stretched their legs' at the Sucata club. "
- "No one has seen a couple say goodbye together to the bachelor life - commented the singer, when she was in her house getting ready for the ceremony. "She didn't sleep well - 'I had a very heavy dream' -, waking up at eight o'clock. She noticed that it was still early, and napped a little longer. One hour later, Elis went to the hairdresser Jambert, who is in Ipanema. Her hair was done by Silvinho.
She only returned home at four o'clock. She barely ate a sandwich, starting to feel sick in the beauty salon. Elis was in long trousers.
"Bôscoli arrived at his house at noon. He was already prepared for the wedding, which would only take place four and a half hours later. He was wearing a dark striped suit, slightly pink shirt with white cuffs and collar. Black tie, socks and shoes. "The house was already full of journalists. Elis arrived in a hurry - she didn't greet anyone - and started picking on Boboca, the dog that was in the middle of the room.
"- Do you see? She is right here - commented Bôscoli.
"Various reporters were amazed with the interview that Bôscoli gave two hours before the wedding. One of the first things he said was that he was getting married with legal separation of estate. He said that Elis was putting a deposit of sixty-five millions on the house, and that he would be paying the rest in instalment payments. He classified himself as 'an ex-adventurer of love' who only decided to marry Elis 'because of all the elements that composed her'.
"Many times, Bôscoli made it a point of saying that Elis was a 'little bourgeois'. He revealed that he influenced her hairdos and clothing. "Bôscoli eulogized his bride's intelligence.
"- I am not rich, but I feel good. She earns fifteen million a month and I earn two and a half. The commonplace in the house will be paid by me, the luxurious by her. I want to be Ronaldo Bôscoli, and not the husband of Elis Regina."
"Bôscoli also said that he was marrying for love, because he had often had opportunities to marry for money but had never wanted to.
"Bôscoli spoke of his plans with Elis. They will spend a three day honeymoon in Correias (24) and, on Sunday, will return to Rio to attend the game between Fluminense and Botafogo (25). Both are fans of Fluminense. On the 15th, she will be in São Paulo, to inaugurate the Blow-up bar. On the 20th, she will do a new show for Record, Elis Especial.
"There were fifteen minutes left before the wedding. Elis was locked up in her room, tidying up. Three hours before, the spring mattress had arrived, which cost three hundred and twenty-six cruzeiros and fifty centavos, according to bill 3511, emitted for Mrs. Elis Regina Bôscoli. Dona Laura, the wife of Abelardo Figueiredo, helped Elis, mainly by calming her.
"Time is passing, and Elis prefers not to put on fake eyelashes because she thinks she will probably cry. Her lips tremble and she has difficulty putting on her makeup. She comments on the absence of her brother Rogério, who couldn't leave Rio Grande do Sul because he was writing exams.
"- But he will be there for the religious ceremony (26).
"And she hums:
"- 'That old one is mine, that old one is mine...' - paraphrasing a song by Sérgio Ricardo. 'Old one' is Bôscoli's nickname.
"It was twenty after four. Dona Laura brought a green glass of ice water and Elis took three sips, after having swallowed a pill.
"Some presents had arrived. The first was from Paulinho Machado - a silver tableware. Elis' mother-in-law sent soapstone drinking glasses from Ouro Preto. Denner sent two candelabrums.
"Hebe Camargo sent a gold-covered silver cup and a card that toasted the couple's wedding and their 'silver anniversary'.
"There were more journalists than relatives and friends in Elis and Bôscoli's 'white house'. The bride and groom were increasingly nervous because neither the judge nor some members of the wedding party had arrived. It was already past four thirty. The engaged couple's mothers were talking, seated on a leather sofa. Dona Ângela, Bôscoli's mother, complained that the maid had spoiled the clothing for the reception. Elis and Bôscoli were posing for the photographers and TV cameramen.
"It was five minutes to five."
"A green Ford, licence plate 43741, arrived on the hill where the couple resided. A gentleman in glasses got out, from the right side, a black cape in his hand. From the other door, a large man came out, with books under his arm.
" - Are you the judge? - shouted Elis.
"The friends were already singing 'the hour is here, the hour is here'. The judge climbed the stairs of the couple's white house, there on Niemeyer Avenue, and informed the reporters: 'Ciro de Luna Dias, from the 1st Zone of the Registry Office'. And he presented the clerk who, when he shook Elis' hand, said he was her fan.
" 'Nice place. I like it', was the judge's first comment, looking at some of the rooms in the house. Less than two years before, Dr. Luna Dias had officiated at the wedding of Eva Tudor (27), as well as Bôscoli's sister.
"Elis and Bôscoli were impatient. Some members of the wedding party still hadn't arrived. Paulo Garcez and Wanda Sá, Bôscoli's wedding party, were already there. Missing were Paulinho Machado de Carvalho, Marcos Lázaro and their wives. They arrived later. Elis asked Luis Eça to prepare himself to substitute for 'Dr. Paulinho'.
"It was two minutes into the ceremony when the clerk Faro realized that he wasn't wearing the black robe. He put it on quickly, nervously, casting a guilty look toward the judge, who said nothing.
"The judge said a few words. He referred to the marriage of Bôscoli's sister and wished happiness to the couple.
"- It's with great pleasure that I perform this wedding ceremony. Your personality, dona Elis, brings youthfulness and happiness to this house - concluded the judge, before asking Bôscoli if he accepted Elis as his wife.
"When the wedding party began to sign the book, Elis and Bôscoli joked:
"- I know that signature.
"- I pay the bills - answered Paulinho Machado.
"Some reporters asked the judge what was the wedding's number:
"- 1241. It isn't to play the lottery, eh?
"- Finally, us - said Bôscoli embracing Paulinho.
"A cup of champagne was served. This completed the ceremony.
"It was nineteen after five."
In the following day's edition of the Jornal da Tarde, was a description of the ceremonial supper. It is worth transcribing because of the richness of detail and the perfect way in which the era was reconstructed by the reporter, anonymous in this coverage.
"In the large three-story white house on Niemeyer Avenue, there were a hundred and twenty guests at the reception. It was a black-tie affair where the supper alone, served by Mirtes Paranhos, cost eight million old cruzeiros.
"If it hadn't been raining in Rio, the party would have been out in the sun. But the weather was rainy, and the party had to be moved to the veranda, which overlooks the sea. Candles provided lighting, the candelabrums being arranged with Christmas motifs (28).
"The limited parking spaces on Niemeyer Avenue forced some guests to arrive before ten o'clock in the evening in order to guarantee themselves a parking spot.
"Three guards, in gala attire, controlled the traffic in the area, to prevent congestions. Still, an old taxi was tied up for many hours in front of the house, because it could not manoeuvrer to get out.
"The guests had arrived: Nelson Motta, Sílvio César, Roberto Menescal, Denner and his wife, Marcos Lázaro, Paulinho Machado de Carvalho. Dori Caymmi arrived last. The singer Tuca embraced Denner in a way that frightened many people. She almost knocked the tailor down.
"Elis was sad because of the absence of Pelé, Roberto Carlos, Chico Buarque, Vanderléia and Jair Rodrigues. Mainly Jair Rodrigues: - Of all people, he who is my friend of always. "At midnight sharp Elis called for maître Souza and told him to serve the meal. She gave the signal two or three times and the guests sat down at the tables. First came the stuffed crab, followed by roasted meat with brown sauce, fruit cupcakes and red potatoes. The dessert was angel cake, ambrosia (29), and chocolate sweets. The wine was domestic, a rosé.
"Dona Mirtes Paranhos, who resembles dona Iolanda Costa e Silva, personally looked after the service. She had a staff of fifteen waiters and four cooks to serve the fifteen tables located throughout the house, each decorated with tropical flowers.
"Before the meal, hors d'oeuvres, and many praises for the shrimp. Mr. Hugo Delamare, friend of Elis, broke the first glass of the evening. His comment came in a chorus: - Hey, it brings luck.
"Ten minutes later, the caricaturist Ziraldo broke the second glass.
"Elis and her secretary Zoraide Aun, who is an employee of Mercedes-Benz in São Bernardo do Campo, kept asking the guests if they were having a good time.
"- Her party was the sweetest one I've seen up to now - commented a journalist.
"Before leaving, dona Mirtes Paranhos offered Elis a book of culinary recipes that she had written herself. A hundred recipes of hors d'oeuvres, cocktails and desserts, in three hundred and nineteen pages.
"Some of the recipes: chicken with garlic and oil à la Abelardo Jurema, salad à la Bibi Ferreira, chicken mincemeat à la Amaral Netto, brain à la José Taveres de Miranda, fried cake à la general Anapio Gomes, and even a green soup à la Carlos Lacerda.
The church wedding took place the following day. It was at the Mayrink Chapel, in the Floresta da Tijuca, a little church thirty feet long, small to hold the 10 yards of the veil of Elis' dress, designed by the couturier Denner. Roberto Menescal said that at one point, Mieli took the priest's bell, which was passed hand to hand through the church; Mieli said that in the absence of a sacristan, he helped out in the ceremony in his place.
The next day, the newspaper said: "Elis was married by a catholic priest and a rabbi". They insinuated that Ronaldo was jewish.
Nelson Motta remembers that someone stepped on the train of Elis' wedding gown, and that she shouted: "Get off my tail, damn it!"
~ ~ ~
Copyright Regina Echeverria – Robert St-Louis
~ ~ ~
A world service of The Montage Communications Group, Inc.
© Copyright 1997. All rights reserved. US Trademarks and content internationally copyrighted by Connectbrazil.com,
Please view our copyright and fair use policies here.