If when you first set eyes upon the Theatro Municipal (Praça Floriano, Centro, tel. 21/2299-1677, www.theatromunicipal.rj.gov.br), you immediately think of Paris, it’s probably because this splendid theater was modeled after Paris’s Opéra Garnier. Since 1909, Theatro Municipal has been Brazil’s premier theater playing host to some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and opera, dance, and theater companies.
The interior is a sumptuous feast of marble, bronze, and gold with ample glitter provided by gilded mirrors and crystal chandeliers. Onyx banisters line the grand marble staircase, and there are some wonderful mosaic frescoes and stained-glass windows.
If you’re without the time or inclination to take in a performance, take a guided tour of the Theatro Municipal (R$10), offered hourly 1–5 p.m. during the week.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition