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The Casa de Mateus Foundation was set up in 1970 by D. Francisco de Sousa Botelho Albuquerque. Over the last five decades, the Foundation has built up an unavoidable presence in the region, in the country and on international cultural circuits, through a continuous programme that extends the Heritage into a concrete cultural and historical vocation.
Its statutes define its mission as the conservation, restoration and improvement of the Casa de Mateus, the study, cataloguing and dissemination of its archives and the promotion of cultural, scientific and educational activities consistent with its heritage. In 1971, it was granted the status of a Public Utility Institution by order of the Ministry of Education. In 1973, D. Fernando de Sousa Botelho Albuquerque succeeded the founder as Director-Delegate. Since his death in January 2022, the position has been held by Teresa Margarida Gomez de Sousa Botelho de Albuquerque.
Casa de Mateus has been telling us about the memory of Music in the House through the Foundation's main actions since the late 1970s, although music has been the soundtrack throughout the generations of the Casa de Mateus family, especially in the 18th century with the creation of the São Paulo Opera House (Brazil) by D. Luís António de Sousa Botelho Mourão (1722-1798), 4th Morgado de Mateus, when he was Governor of the Captaincy of São Paulo between 1765 and 1775.
It was, and is possible to see and hear the presence of music in the House through the instruments that exist in the House, such as the harpsichords and the pipe organ. It was and is possible to feel the music when these instruments are played by musicians from different parts of the world who have passed through and pass through the House, whether with the famous Casa de Mateus International Music Encounters, with the Mateus Baroque Orchestra Concerts, with the Receptions, Artist Residencies or Musicological Days that have filled the House with a peculiar sound. Find out more about Music at Casa de Mateus.
The Casa de Mateus Foundation regularly organises art exhibitions.
In the visual arts, Mateus sought to showcase some of the most significant Portuguese artists in painting and sculpture, such as João Cutileiro, Nikias Skapinakis, Nuno Siqueira, Justino Alves, Margarida Lagarto, Graça Costa Cabral, Frederico George, Emília Nadal, Stuart Carvalhais, Vasco Futcher Pereira, Martha Teles, Manuel Costa Cabral, Jorge Martins, Júlio Resende, Luís Pinto Coelho, Júlio Pomar, Graça Morais, as well as a collective of serigraphs, a collective of sculptors, and exhibitions of engravings, drawings, photography and tapestries by the most diverse artists and nationalities.
The opening conference was held in the Geosciences Auditorium at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro with the following speakers: João Vale de Almeida - Ambassador to the European Union, Rui Tavares, Historian and Miguel Poiares Maduro, Professor of Law. The session was moderated by Teresa Albuquerque and had an interested and large audience, which practically filled the auditorium to capacity.
On 11 March, a conference on the impact of Globalisation on Universities was held in the Geosciences Auditorium of the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, with David Malone, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Rector of the United Nations University.
On 19 November 2016, as part of the partnership with the Douro Vintage Forum, a conference was held entitled "Philosophy and Music between Two Worlds". The session featured a philosopher, Lúcio Marques, and a musicologist, Ricardo Bernardes, who presented their work in these fields, the former more focused on the period between the 17th and 18th centuries, and the latter on the 18th and 19th centuries, moderated by Pedro Braga Falcão, a musician and professor of the History of Religions at the Portuguese Catholic University.
On 29 October, as part of the "Caminhos de Mateus" programme to help frame the intense cultural and knowledge exchange, particularly with Brazil, in the 17th and 18th centuries, a conference was given by Professor Rui Vieira Nery at the Barrão of the Casa de Mateus, entitled "Dialogues of cultures in ancient Portuguese-Brazilian music".
Helping to promote the discussion of issues of strategic regional importance, national policy and scientific and cultural dissemination remains to this day the driving force behind the Casa de Mateus Foundation's organisation and hosting of seminars.
The Casa de Mateus Foundation's activities began with a series of seminars that had a major national impact, such as the "Rethinking Portugal" and "Culture in Debate" seminars in 1978. That same year there were also sessions dedicated to the following themes: "Cultural Action and Decentralisation", "Communication and Regional Information", "The Poet and the Poem", "Homage to Alexandre Herculano", "Homage to Teixeira de Pascoaes" and "Homage to Miguel Torga".
Literature, in all its forms, is one of the constant presences in the programme of the Casa de Mateus Foundation.
In addition to the numerous authors' residencies, the Foundation has created and developed three core programmes in the field of literature since 1980. The D. Diniz Prize has been awarded annually since 1980. The Morgado de Mateus Prize was awarded on a more exceptional basis in 1980 and 2013. In 1990, the International Seminars for the Collective Translation of Living Poetry began.
Music is one of Casa de Mateus' ways of being. The positive organ installed in the Chapel since its inauguration in 1759, as well as the different period instruments that can be found in the House, are symbols of a passionate relationship, which is also evidenced by the creation of the Opera House by D. Luís António, 4th Morgado de Mateus, as an inaugural gesture in his capacity as Governor of the Captaincy of São Paulo, a position he held between 1765 and 1775.
Since the Casa de Mateus Foundation was founded, music has been one of the strongest areas of the artistic and cultural programme. As early as 1978, as a fundamental component of the Culture in Dialogue programme, the Foundation held its first classical music concerts with the participation of musicians Adriano Jordão, Joana Silva, Patrícia Chiti, the Salzburg Academic Camerata and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. The following year, the Baroque Music Courses began. Since then, with the Vila Real Music Festival between 1985 and 1995, the Music in the North Festival until 2004, programmes such as Caminhos de Mateus | Aldeias com Vida, held in 2016 and 2017, the International Music Encounters, the 31st edition of which will be held in 2023, or the countless creation or recording residencies, audiences in Vila Real, in a wider region that includes the centuries-old connection with Galicia and in the country can enjoy a rich and intense programme.
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