The Amazonas Theater, located in Manaus, is an icon of the Rubber Cycle peak. Amazonas Theater is considered one of the most important in the country and the world and, of course, one of the postcards of Manaus.
It was inaugurated in 1896, in Largo de São Sebastião, center of the Amazonian capital. Built in Renaissance style, with project chosen by the Portuguese Institute of Engineering and Architecture of Lisbon. The idea was that the Amazonian capital had an opera house that could match the power of the local elite. And so it was done. A house of masonry, whose cornerstone was laid in 1884. Most of the technical workmanship was brought from Europe, but the interior decoration was in the hands of Pernambuco Crispim do Amaral and Italian Domenico de Angelis.
With capacity for 700 people, the concert hall is divided into an audience and three levels of cabins.
Amazon Theater Ceiling Light
The four allegories that refer to tragedy, opera, dance and music are represented in this work. Noteworthy in the opera’s performance is the celebrated Carlos Gomes, the great name of the opera in Brazil at the end of the 19th century.
What is striking is the fact that the paintings were made of canvas, imitating the typical tapestries of the eighteenth century, and eternalized by the Gobelin family. This explains why the work is called the fake Gobelin.
History tells us that the painter idealized in his work vaulted arches simulating the support of the chandelier, originating from Casa Italiana Murano. Legend has it that the structure is a tribute to the French symbolizing the structure of the Eiffel Tower. Historians defy the legend by claiming that the tower, at the time of painting, did not have the representativeness it gained over time and was still much questioned by the French at the time. The work was not signed and so it is not known if it was done by Crispim do Amaral or a painter of the hired studio.
The name itself gives the artistic dimension of this space for the theater. Upon entering the hall it is impossible to remain staring somewhere. The head turns, the neck bends, and the sight leads to an ecstasy of perceptions.
On the ceiling, De Angelis’s painting, “The Glorification of Fine Arts in the Amazon”, presents us with regional and classic elements from his perspective and look. A counterpoint between the coming civilization and the beauties that are here.
The walls of the Salon depict the beauties of the rainforest, technological advances (such as the steamboat) and, one of the most striking works, shows Peri saving Ceci in José de Alencar’s classic novel “O Guarani”.
Amazonas Theater Mouth Cloth
Originally, three front stage cloths were made using oil painting on fabric. Today we have only two preserved, one in use and one in restoration. The cloth seen in the photo above represents the end of the Monarchy in Brazil and, if you notice, you can see the design of a curtain overlapping the coat of arms of the Royal Family. End of act!
The second cloth, under restoration, features the painting “The Meeting of the Rio Negro Waters and Rio Solimões” by Crispim do Amaral.
An important detail is that the cloth is not folded or rolled, it is fixed, moving only vertically. This care is fundamental for the preservation of the works.
Designed by the Koch-Frêres House of Paris in 1895, it has a steel structure and a polychrome ceramic coating. The glazed and enameled tiles came from Alsace, a region between Germany and France, in the form of fish scales. They received the colors green, yellow, red and blue, representing the colorful of the forest and birds of the Amazon.
Because it was not part of the original design and was in disagreement with the building’s architecture, it received much criticism from the press at the time. Nowadays, it is an inseparable part of the work, remaining accessible whenever there is any artistic activity in the theater.
The Amazonas Theater is a symbol of the Brazilian prosperity that until today attracts visitors from all over the world. A jewel stuck in the Amazon.
- The first staged opera was La Gioconda, based on Victor Hugo, 17th century, and originally set in Venice, Italy.
Throughout its history it underwent two important restorations, 1974 and 1990. Some features have changed over time due to contemporary needs, such as the ventilation of the Theater that was planned at a time when there was no air conditioning and that, due to of the city’s growth and the known heat of Manaus, had to be rethought. Even changing the armchairs used today.
- In 1926, a “criminal” renovation altered parts of its interior by removing pieces of iron, wood, Riga pine floors and sculptures. Until 1930, there are still reports of assaults on public assets.
Its original color, from 1897, was gray and white and only in 1960, receives the color pink. In the restoration of 1974, it returned to the original colors, but under controversy. In 1990, it is painted in a rosy color especially designed for the theater.
- Due to its beauty and magnitude, both internal and external, Amazonas Theater has served as the setting even for international films such as Werner Herzog’s “Fitzcarraldo” in 1982 and the cartoon “Rio 2”. It was also a backdrop for miniseries and books.
- The central cabin was treated with more pomp and refinement than the others and was intended for the authorities of the time. Tradition maintained to this day, where only the Governor of the State can use it, being empty most of the year.