Tourists from around the globe are awestruck when they first set their sights on The Manaus Opera House located in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. You read that correctly. There is an opera house in the jungle!
A true piece of Renaissance architecture, the Opera House is a historical landmark still open to visitors today. Over the years, it has accommodated theAmazonas Philharmonicand has hosted the annualAmazonas Opera Festival.
CanadianGeorge Freundlich博士, a retired medical doctor and career musician, has not only visited this unique locale, he’s had the pleasure of attending a classical guitar festival (in 1996), on the 100th anniversary of the Opera House. An avid traveller, George hasvisitedover 100 countries and enjoys taking in the culture at as many destinations as he can — and the Opera House is one of the places that left a lasting impression on him.
The area, due to its abundance of rubber, was undergoing what was known as the ‘rubber boom.’ Because of its extraction, Manaus became a wealthy city – in fact – one of the wealthiest cities in the world.
乔治·弗伦德里希:“我相信,剧院的furnishings came from Paris and of course, the marble for the stairs, statues and columns came from Italy. The Italian artist Domenico de Angelis painted the decorative panels that sit on the ceiling of the auditorium and audience chamber. Today, the Opera House is known as the ‘Jewel’ of the Amazon – and it truly is!”
歌剧院于1896年12月31日落成，第一场演出于1897年1月7日举行，意大利作曲家阿米尔卡雷·庞切利（Amilcare Ponchielli）为《La Gioconda》作了介绍。它有720个座位，由来自欧洲的砖块、法国玻璃和意大利大理石建造而成。
Interestingly enough, when they opened the Opera House, they noticed that you could hear street noise inside, such as horses and buggies passing by. “What they did was, they covered the streets around the Opera House with rubber as if they were huge carpets. This solved the noise problem!”
Through the Years
Unfortunately, the city of Manaus fell on hard times due to rubber trees being planted in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Africa at much cheaper prices. The Manaus Opera House also took a hit, but during the turmoil, it never completely closed. When the economy finally began to rebound, the Opera House underwent major renovations for its 100th anniversary.
Today, it is well preserved and remains a key component of Manaus’ and Brazil’s history.