Horacio Loriente

ome years ago, interested in his figure, we asked Héctor Artola —who was his friend— if Atilio Supparo was born in San José, because we had been told that he spent his childhood and youth there. Right away he told us: «No, Atilio Supparo was from Salto». In fact, our character had imprinted his mark on both cities, but, the truth is that he was born in Montevideo.

We also turned to the important work by Tito Livio Foppa, Diccionario teatral del Río de la Plata, from which we know that in 1889 Supparo made a stage in his own home to perform, together with other young people, the plays of the Spaniard Francisco Camprodón: “Flor de un día” and “Espinas de una flor”. Foppa regarded him as an intuitive poet that wrote countryside poetry with grace and spontaneity.

He was literary adviser of the Podestá Brothers’ Company in 1900 at the Teatro Doria of Buenos Aires (later Marconi). He was for a short time with Florencio Parravicini and later he switched to lead the cast headed by Pablo Podestá.

Thereafter in 1912 he formed a theater company with the actor Enrique Arellano. They were performing in Montevideo at the Teatro Cibils on Ituzaingó Street when in the early hours of Tuesday July 2, 1912 a fire destroyed the theater. The play was staged then at the Teatro Politeama, on Colonia and Paraguay.

On February 15, 1914 the Uruguayan government appointed him as substitute director of the Escuela experimental de arte dramático to replace Jacinta Pezzana.

To conclude this brief information about Atilio Supparo in theater, let us say that he was author of several plays. The first was Taco, suela y punta (1906) and, until his regretted death, he was an outstanding, beloved, respected figure in the theater milieu.

He appeared as actor alongside Libertad Lamarque in Ayúdame a vivir (1936), first hit of the renowned actress and singer in the movies.

We shall mention some of his lyrics for popular music and we think that his stanzas for urban music are of a good taste as the sincerely beautiful folk songs he wrote. His “Ya pa’ qué” and “Pa’ qué más”, two tangos immortalized by Carlos Gardel and the estilo “Gaucho sol” and the cifra “Luna gaucha” are exquisite expressions that, regretfully, are absent in the contemporary repertoires.

The newspaper El Pueblo of Salto, in a note published on January 17, 1993 said that Tarvas chicas was his only book of poems, edited and published there and that his death took place on the stage of the Teatro Apolo of Buenos Aires after a standing ovation that received the performance of the cast he led.

Maybe many ones may think that Supparo was rather a theater figure than a tango figure, but his contribution to popular music, we think, was so honorable as important and that it deserved this memory.

His lines for popular music:

“Alfombrita de flores” (criollo song), with José Vázquez Vigo.
“Alhaja falsa”, “Cursilona” and “Por donde andará” (tangos), with Salvador Merico.
“Amén” and “Cabecita negra” (tangos), with Agustín Bardi.
“Ayudame a vivir” (tango), with Héctor Artola and Alfredo Malerba.
“Canto a la vida” (march), with Artola.
“En la trampa”, (tango) with J. A. Salido.
“Es mía” (tango), with Malerba.
“Gaucho sol” (estilo), with Santiago Rocca.
“Luna gaucha” (cifra-milonga), with Virginia Vera.
“Mi pibe” (tango), with Orestes Castronuovo.
“Nota policial” (tango), with Francisco Canosa.
“Pa’que más”, “Saludó y se fue” and “Veneno” (tangos), with José Ceglie.
“Pobre muñequita” (tango), with Emilio Iribarne, Víctor Troysi and Emilio Sola.
“Rezongame en las orejas”, “Ya sabe por qué” and “Y se apagó el puchito” (tangos), with Luis Bernstein.
“Se va la canción” (tonada), with Fernando Catalán.
“Te llevo en la cruz” (zamba), with Julio Sánchez Gardel.
“Tierra adentro” (tango), with Julio De Caro.
Volveme el cariño” (tango), with Iribarne
“Ya pa’ qué” (tango), with Rafael Iriarte