Civilizada e civilizadora
by Caetano Veloso

"There are artists who shake us with the power of their genius; many of them, in a desperate attempt to save the world, end up distancing themselves from it, at times turning their backs on art itself, on life itself. Fernanda, a genius of an artist, does not flee from the center in any of these realms: in the middle of the world, in the middle of art, in the middle of life. That’s how I see her, she herself not wholly understanding her own destiny. This destiny which lends her work a dimension that transcends its evident excellence: her creations are like Machado’s novels, Drummond’s poems they discover (invent) the meaning of our way of being; they ground us, filter us, project us. And they call our attention to tremendous tasks.

Fernanda conveys responsibility to us. From the very talented young actor who told me "she was meant to teach" to the president of the Republic who wanted her as Minister of Culture, everyone intuits in this fierce, serene woman the vocation of a moral leader. She is civilized and civilizing. She is the incarnation of what is possible in Brazilian civilization. She is the great dame of Brazilian theater. (…) On stage, she spreads a cloth over a table, in silence; and everything has been said about woman, about elegance, about the human condition, and about theater. Her back to the audience, her very white skin radiates an immense sensual wave, made of fragility and resoluteness, courage and discretion.
in: "Fernanda Montenegro. O Exercício da paixão", Lúcia Rito. Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 1990.

"I discovered Arlette and learned a lot with Fernanda Montenegro. An actress who got her start in radio; who discovered theater, inaugurated television in Brazil; was a disciple of Morineau’s; worked with Maria Della Costa, with the TBC; together with Gianni Ratto, Fernando Torres, Ítalo Rossi and Sérgio Britto, founded the Teatro dos Sete; survived the censors; acted in movies; was invited to be Minister of Culture; received all the awards in Brazilian theater; and continues to thrive, despite the increasing hardships faced by those who make their living in the arts in this country."
Lúcia Rito, "O exercício da paixão". In: "Fernanda Montenegro. O Exercício da Paixão". Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 1990.

Retratos em 3x4 de alguns amigos 6x9
by Millôr Fernandes

"Fernanda is everything, and more, than they ever taught me. The shadow of forty degrees Celsius in the shade. Look for her gestures in her vocabulary, they are all there. For her, life is an illuminated stage. To the right, the stage lights of perfectionism. To the left, the risers of the impossible. Above, the flyspace where the plots are reenacted and relived night after night, throughout eternity. Behind, the wings, the essential mystery. Below, the lower chamber, which makes magic possible and where, so long ago, we buried the prompter."
Veja, junho 1976. In: RITO, Lúcia. "Fernanda Montenegro. O Exercício da Paixão". Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 1990.

"She is technique, in the sense of knowing how to dominate body, voice and not allowing emotions to come in and take over. But she never repeats herself, because for Fernanda theater is life. She is a diva, a special being in the magic universe of the theater, a leprechaun of theatrical magic. When she steps on stage, she leaves a mark. She has charisma, a very strong presence."
Renata Sorrah. In: RITO, Lúcia. "Fernanda Montenegro. O Exercício da Paixão". Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 1990.

"One doesn’t know what to admire in her most: her excellence as an actress or her mature awareness of the actor’s role in this world. She is not only concerned in elevating her art of acting to the highest level, but insists just as much in meditating on the meaning, the function, the dignity, and the social expression of the actor's condition at any time and in any place."
Carlos Drummond de Andrade. In: MONTENEGRO, Fernanda. "Viagem ao outro". Rio de Janeiro: MinC/Fundacen, 1988.