Bibi Ferreira, the Grand Dame of Brazilian Stage

Brazilian legend of stage and screen Bibi Ferreira is back in New York to debut “4 x Bibi” at Symphony Space September 20 & 23, 2016.

4 x Bibi celebrates the star’s legendary 75-year career through the music of 1) Edith Piaf (French), 2) Amalia Rodrigues (Portuguese), 3) Carlos Gardel (Argentine) and 4) Frank Sinatra. To sing any one of these legends well would be enough. Bibi does it all.

“4 x Bibi” includes classics such as Sinatra’s “That’s Life,” and “The Lady is a Tramp;” Rodrigues’s “Fadinho Serrano” and “Povos Que Lavas no Rio;” Piaf’s “Je Ne Regrette Rien” and “Hymne a l’Amour,” and Gardel’s “Cuesta Abajo.”  Ferreira will be performing with a 12-piece band conducted by her arranger and musical director Flavio Mendes.

It is worth seeing the show just to hear Bibi tell her stories, so many stories about live, love, age, and showbiz.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 8pm
Friday, September 23, 2016 at 8pm
75 minutes in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre

>> Tickets $70-40 | Members, Seniors, Students $60-30

About Bibi Ferreira

Bibi Ferreira is better known in Latin America and Europe than she is in the States. Bibi is the Brazilian Liza Minnelli, an actress of stage and screen who has done it all, and done it well.

In fact, Liza Minnelli famously joined Bibi on stage at Lincoln Center a few years ago. Backstage Minnelli told “New York Post” reporter Richard Johnson that watching Bibi perform was “the highlight of her life, as seminal as when she saw Aznavour in Paris at 16.” Aznavour is the French Frank Sinatra and was dubbed Entertainer of the Century by “CNN,” so that is quite a comparison.

The 94-year old Bibi is a force of nature who just keeps going. She says she will never stop performing.

In fact, Bibi was born onto the stage in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil in 1922. Her father Procópio Ferreira was was one of Brazil’s greatest actors, and also a director and playwright. Her mother was Spanish ballerina Aída Izquierdo of the legendary Queirolo circus family. Bibi’s career started when she was just 24-days old. When nobody could find the prop doll as the curtain was about to rise, someone suggested the baby Bibi who was backstage.

So Bibi was introduced to her first audience in the arms of her Godmother and namesake Abigail Maia (1887-1981), a legend of early Brazilian cinema.

As a child Bibi toured Latin America with her mother. By age three, she was singing and dancing as “La niña de Velasco” (The child of Velasco).

Bibi’s professional debut came in 1941 when she was 18 in the Italian play “La Locandiera” (The Mistress of the Inn) by Carlo Goldoni. A few years later Bibi started her own theater company Companhia de Comédias Bibi Ferreira (Comedy Company Bibi Ferreira). She spent the 1950s charming audiences in Portugal.

Bibi Ferreira singing “Morena Cor de Canela” in 1947

In the 1960s Bibi brought Broadway’s biggest musicals to Brazil. She starred in “My Fair Lady,” “Hello Dolly!,” and “Man of La Mancha.”

In the 1960s and 70s Bibi hosted Brazilian variety television shows. Her style still influences live studio variety shows today. They remain a  popular form of entertainment across the Latin world.

In 1975, Bibi debuted “Gota d’Água” (Water Drop) by Chico Buarque and Paulo Pontes. “Gota d’Água” is one of the most important works of 20th-century Brazilian theatre.

Bibi has been singing Edith Piaf for over thirty years. The French government honored her with its highest award, Le Orde des Arts et des Lettres, twice.

After seeing one of Bibi’s Edith Piaf shows, Portuguese Amália Rodrigues, the Queen of Fado, asked Bibi to portray her on stage. That led to “Bibi Vive Amália” (Bibi Lives Amália) in 2001.

Bibi’s 2010 show was “De Pixinguinha a Noel, passando por Gardel” (From Pixinguinha to Noel going through Gardel). An Argentine newspaper wrote that Bibi taught the Argentines how to sing the Tango.

Bibi first came to New York in 2013 for a sold out show at Lincoln Center. That is when Liza Minnelli was so moved that Minelli joined Bibi on stage for an impromptu “New York, New York.”

Later that year, Bibi sold out The Town Hall with her Edith Piaf show.

Bibi is back in New York once again and not to be missed.

Bibi Ferreira is not just a performer, she is a major multicultural influencer. Bibi helped define the contemporary Brazilian character by bringing European and American culture to Brazil. She also helped define Brazil for the audiences of the world. Muito legal (very cool).

How does Bibi keep going? To preserve her voice, she doesn’t talk in the days before the show. Then just before Bibi steps on stage, she takes a shot of espresso with a spoonful of butter for her throat.

Et voila! Bibi Ferreira.


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