Monday, December 2, 2013
"You walk off the plane in Rio, and your blood temperature goes up. The feel of the wind on your face, the water on your skin, the taste of the food, the music, the sexuality; Brazilians are very comfortable in their sexuality." - Amy Irving
Rio de Janeiro is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th largest in the Americas, and 26th in the world. Part of the city has been designated as a World Heritage Site, named "Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea", identified by UNESCO on 1 July 2012 in the category Cultural Landscape. Rio de Janeiro is one of the most visited cities in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. Some of the most famous landmarks in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugar-loaf mountain with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival; and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world's largest football stadiums. The 2016 Summer Olympics and the Paralympics will take place in Rio de Janeiro, which will mark the first time a South American or a Portuguese-speaking nation hosts the event. It will be the third time the Olympics will be held in a Southern Hemisphere city. On 12 August 2012, at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, Mayor Eduardo Paes received the Olympic Flag, via Jacques Rogge, from London Mayor Boris Johnson. Rio's Maracanã Stadium, which held the final of the 1950 FIFA World Cup, will host the final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Rio de Janeiro also hosted the World Youth Journey in 2013.
1. Sugarloaf Mountain
First, if your schedule allows it, go in the late afternoon/evening so you can see the spectacular sunset. Next, if you have people in your group between 7-20 years old, bring a copy of their passport (or the original) and they will pay half price. We had young children who were clearly not 21, but they would not budge off of their rule that you must have an official photo ID. So if you want the discount, bring the ID.
2. The Theatro Municipal of Rio
After the Proclamation of the Republic (1889), in 1894 playwright Arthur Azevedo launched a campaign for the building of a new theater to host a local company, to be created along the lines of the Comédie Française. However, in those hectic days, the campaign resulted in only one Municipal Law, which ordered the construction of the Municipal Theater. This law was not enforced, despite the existence of a levy to finance the work. Thus, that the new tax revenue was never used for the construction of the theater.
Building began in 1905 on a foundation of 1,180 wood poles rooted in groundwater. To decorate the building, the most important Brazilian painters and sculptors of the time were summoned, such as Eliseu Visconti, Rodolfo Amoedo and the Bernardelli brothers. European artisans were also recruited to work on stained glasses and mosaic tiles.
That same year the Central Technical Production, responsible for all of the shows running in the house, was created. In 1996, the construction of an annex building began to relieve the building due to the intense practicing and other activities throughout the year. With the inauguration of the annex, choir, orchestra and ballet crews gained new rehearsal rooms and greater space for artistic practices and rehearsal.
Today, the Theatro Municipal mostly shows productions of ballet and classical music. In its early heyday, it featured only foreign opera and symphonic orchestra shows, especially from Italian and French companies. In 1931, the Municipal Symphonic Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro was created and celebrities such as Arturo Toscanini, Sarah Bernhardt, Bidu Sayao, Eliane Coelho, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith and Alexander Brailowsky highlighted the programs of the Theatro.
Today, it houses the Petrobras and the Brazilian Symphonic Orchestras. The interior of the theater is as luxurious as the facade, with sculptures by Henrique Bernardelli and paintings by Rodolfo Amoedo and Eliseu Visconti, the latter responsible for the majestic drop curtain, the frieze on the proscenium, the nave ceiling and the decorations of the foyer ceiling. The restaurant Assírius in the basement is peculiar in its impressive Assyrian decor.