Rio de Janeiro 's Teatro Municipal, history, grandeur and culture abound!

Rio Janeiro 's Teatro Municipal is, without a doubt, one of the most resplendent buildings in the downtown area of Rio de Janeioro. Home of one of the largest stages in Latin America and hands down one of Brazil’s most well known venues for opera, ballet, and classical music, the Municipal Theater is a showplace that is a must stop for anyone visiting this mecca of history and culture.

Founded in 1909, the Teatro Municipal was designed after the famed opera house in Paris with close to 1,700 seats. It’s sumptuous interior includes turn-of-the-century stained glass from France, ceilings of delicate rose-colored marble and a 1,000 pound crystal bead chandelier surrounded by a painting of the “Dance of the Hours.” The exterior walls of the building are dotted with inscriptions bearing the names of many famous and significant Brazilians as well as many other internationally known celebrities.

A project of Rio de Janeiro’s mayor, Francisco Pereira Passos, the Teatro Municipal was built during the city’s attempt at reurbanization in the early 20th century. It was hoped that the theater would allow the city to present operas and concerts that would highlight it’s evolving modern culture. Located close to the National Library and the Fine Arts Museum, the theater has proven to have done just that. Overlooking the famous and beautiful Cinelândia Square, the Teatro Municipal is also home to a bar and restaurant known as the Café do Teatro. It is easily one of the most favorite eating spots for Rio de Janeiro’s many visitors.

Performances at the Teatro Municipal run from March to December. The Nutcracker is the season finale performance. Since the ticket office is often difficult for tourists to find and tickets to performances are often hard to come by, you will be better off if you actually have your travel agent purchase your tickets for you. The best seats are actually located in the upper sections of the theater for classical music performances while you’ll want to be lower and as close to the stage as you can get for opera and ballet.

Many visitors are confused not only by the unorthodox numbering of the seats within the theater (they are numbered outwards from the center) but also by boisterous behavior of the Brazilian audiences.

They tend to be extremely enthusiastic and will often call out requests from their seats. Their exurberance, however, only makes the performance even that much more unique than any other you’ll ever experience.

The Teatro Municipal is located at Praça Floriano. You may reach the theater by phone by calling +55 21 2297 4411.

From Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro back to