Teatro Amazonas is an opera house located in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. The Amazon Theater, or Amazonas Opera House, was inaugurated in 1896. It has 700 seats and was constructed with bricks brought from Europe, French glass and Italian marble.
Teatro Amazonas ("Amazon Theatre") is an opera house located in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. More than 120 years old, it represents the city's heyday during the rubber boom.
Near the end of the 19th century, flush with cash, Brazil's rubber barons envisioned a grand opera house (a "jewel") in the heart of the Amazon. Artists, designers and materials were imported from across Europe.
Construction on the neo-classical style theater began in 1884. Work proceeded slowly over the following fifteen or so years, with some stops and restarts from 1885 to 1892. The theater has 700 seats and was constructed with bricks brought from Europe, French glass and Italian marble.
Teatro Amazonas was finally inaugurated on December 31, 1896, with the first performance occurring on January 7, 1897, featuring the Italian opera La Gioconda, by Amilcare Ponchielli.
The theater's architectural style is considered typically Renaissance Revival. The roofing tiles were imported from Alsace, the steel walls from Glasgow, Scotland and the Carrara marble for the stairs, statues and columns, from Italy. The dome is covered with 36,000 decorated ceramic tiles painted in the colors of the national flag of Brazil.
The theater's interior furnishings came from France in the Louis Quinze style. Italian artist Domenico de Angelis the Younger painted the panels that decorate the ceilings of the auditorium and of the audience chamber.
The curtain, with its painting "Meeting of the Waters", was originally created in Paris by Crispim do Amaral. The theater's 198 chandeliers were imported from Italy, including 32 of Murano glass.
As the rubber trade dwindled, the wealthy left town and the opera house eventually closed down. It remained in limbo for 90 years, without a single operatic performance.
In 2001, the new provincial government decided to allocate funds to revive the theater. The plan worked and today Teatro Amazonas is the location of the annual Festival Amazonas de Ópera (Amazonas Opera Festival).
Teatro Amazonas is also the home of the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra, which regularly rehearses and performs at the theater. Other performances, along with choirs, musical concerts and an annual film festival are also held here.