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Madalena Sotto: The Figueirense Actress Star of Portuguese Theater and Cinema



Maria Madalena Pereira Othão, with the stage name Madalena Sotto, was one of the leading Portuguese actresses. He was born in Carvalhais de Lavos, Figueira da Foz, on July 21, 1916. The illustrious actress from Figueiredo was a leading figure in the Portuguese theater scene, having been part, among others, of the Rey-Colaço / Robles Monteiro company and that of Vasco Morgado.

In 1926, at the age of 10, he moved to Oliveira de Azeméis, where his father, the painter Othão Luís, was the first director of the School of Arts and Crafts (now Soares Basto Secondary School), and his mother, Aida Augusta Pereira, was a sewing, embroidery and tapestry teacher.

Madalena Sotto completed the upholstery course at the school and then taught as a workshop assistant. In 1939, he returned to Figueira da Foz, when his parents were transferred, on service commission. It was then that journalist Artur Inês, a friend of hers, introduced her to Leitão de Barros, a director who took her to her first movie, in “A Varanda dos Rouxinóis”.

The journalist Arthur Inês met her from the trailer “Dois corações… um destino”, by J. Oliveira Santos, projected at the Casino Peninsular in July 1938, a project to promote tourism in Figueira da Foz that was never completed and whose director of photography was the great Figueiran photographer Manuel Santos.

In 1940, Madalena Sotto made her theater debut alongside Alves da Cunha in the play “Os velhos”, by D. João da Câmara, at the Teatro Sá da Bandeira, in Porto.

Still in 1940, he participated in “Feitiço do império” and, in 1945, in the film “A vizinha do lado”, both by António Lopes Ribeiro. In the latter, he acted, among others, with Carmen Dolores, Ribeirinho and António Silva, playing the main role, that of the actress Isabel.

In 1945, he also performed at the National Theater in Shakespeare’s “Othello” and in Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan”. In the same year, 1945, she was awarded the prize for Best Film Actress by the National Information Secretariat (SNI).

In 1947 he was cast in Ladislao Vajda’s film “Three Mirrors”.

In 1956, he took part in “Vidas sem rumo”, by Manuel Guimarães.

In the 1950s, he was part of the Rey-Colaço/Robles Monteiro Theater companies and the Ginasio Theater.
Between 1955 and 1960, he was part of Vasco Morgado’s company, in which, among other plays, he participated in “A Severa”, by Júlio Dantas, alongside Amália Rodrigues, Assis Pacheco and Paulo Renato.

In 1956, he was part of the cast of the movie “Vidas Sem Rumo”, by Manuel Guimarães.

In 1957, he took part in the film “A Morgadinha de Vale d’Amores”, by Herlander Peyroteo.

In 1959, he acted in the movie “Casa de pais”, by Herlander Peyroteo and Francisco Ventura, in which he starred with Manuel Lereno, Raul de Carvalho and Anna Paula.

In 1960, he was part of the founding nucleus of the Estufa Fria Theater, where he acted, among others, with Augusto Figueiredo, Assis Pacheco, Alberto Ghira, Vasco de Lima Couto and Alina Vaz.

In 1972, he took part in the movie “Sinal vermelho” by Rafael Romero Marchent.

In 1978, he interrupted a career that spanned all genres (tragedy, drama, comedy, high comedy, farce and revue).

She reappeared in 1982 in C. Malaparte’s play “Women Also Lose the War”. In 1993, exceptionally, she returned to the screen in the telefilm “Oito mulheres”, by Helder Duarte, shown on RTP, in which she participated, among others, Clara Joana, Cucha Carvalheiro and Cristina Carvalhal.

He died in Porto on August 18, 2016, at the age of 100. Madalena Sotto has her name on a street and in a library in Oliveira de Azeméis.



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Fernando Curado