The Letters

Imagine this:

No internet,
no Skype, no WhatsApp,
no Twitter, no Facebook,
no email, no fax,
no mobile phone, not even a landline…

Thus, it was the letter that was the most important means of communication outside one’s immediate circle in the 19th century – letters delivered by mounted messengers, by stagecoach, or via sea routes.

Such were the conditions for Leopoldine of Austria as she tried to keep in touch with her family in the Hapsburg Empire from Brazil.
The average length of a sea journey between Rio de Janeiro and Trieste or Livorno was three months.
A good six months could elapse, accordingly, until she might have an answer in hand.
However, many of her letters remained unanswered, did not make it through the censors’ hands at the Portuguese-Brazilian or Hapsburg imperial courts, or reasons of state made it inopportune to answer her.

It is fortunate that many of Leopoldine’s letters have been preserved.
They are a moving testimony to an admirably strong woman. She was not to reach thirty years of age, yet she achieved so much in her short life it is almost embarrassing – first and foremost, she wished to serve and to help.

The historian and writer Gloria Kaiser has adapted the letters and edited them for Project Saudade.

The actress Sinikka Schubert has recorded some of these letters, and the recordings have been embedded in Portuguese and Brazilian music from the film’s soundtrack.



Audio sample:


Recorded at
Palais Kuenburg-Langenhof
October 2nd-4th 2013
Mastering: Wolfgang Steininger



The Audio Book has been recorded at Palais Kuenburg-Langenhof, Salzburg (International Salzburg Association) from October 2nd – 4th in 2013. Recording Producer, Balance Engineer & Digital Editing, Mixdown: Wolfgang Steininger. Speaker: Sinnika Schubert, German, 48 Min

Track Title Duration
01 L. Jorge/W. Pillinger: Fado do Retorno – Gloria Kaiser: Saudade (Text) 05:44
02 Botschafter Marschall: Den 12. Februar 1817 01:31
03 Leopoldine: Den 14. Februar 1817 03:02
04 Leopoldine: Den 8. April des Jahres 1817 01:12
05 B. Powell/W. Pillinger: Berimbau 03:01
06 Leopoldine: St. Christoph, den 4. Mai 1818 01:42
07 Leopoldine: Den 15. Juni 1819 01:02
08 Botschafter Marschall: Den 28. Dezember 1819 01:34
09 S. Neukomm: Caprice pour le Pianoforte „O amor Brazileiro“(IR) 08:01
10 Leopoldine: St. Christoph in Rio de Janeiro, den 10. November 1817 01:06
11 Botschafter Marschall: 20. November 1817 01:39
12 Botschafter Marschall: Den 20. Jänner 1822 01:02
13 Leopoldine: Den 2. September 1822 00:32
14 Botschafter Marschall: Am gleichen Tag 00:58
15 M. de Sá-Carneiro/W. Pillinger: Estátua Falsa (FP) 03:13
16 Leopoldine: Den 26. Februar 1822 00:40
17 Leopoldine: Den 4. März 1824 00:50
18 Leopoldine: Den 26. März 1826 01:00
19 F. Schubert: Labetrank der Liebe, D 302 (IR) 03:09
20 Leopoldine: St. Christoph, den 8. Dezember 1826 03:15
21 Leopoldine: St. Christoph, den 8. Dezember 1826 01:59
22 N. Correia/W. Pillinger: Sete Luas (FP) 04:14
Academia Leopoldina, Music:

Werner Neugebauer and Fritz Kircher, Violin
Herbert Lindsberger, Viola
Marcus Pouget, Cello
Johannes Gasteiger, Double Bass
Imre Rohmann (IR) and Florian Podgoreanu (FP), Piano
Julia Schick, Soprano