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Municipal Theatre

Municipal Theatre (52)

Impressive. You cannot deny that this huge building, built in the early eighteenth century, has the well-deserved title of Brazil's largest theatre. 

As a curiosity, when construction of the Municipal Theatre and digging for the foundations started, they found remains of the hull of an old boat. That is because the building is located in what was once Lake San Antonio, a lagoon connected with the sea and for sailing ships.

Opened on 14 July 1909, with its design inspired by the Opera in Paris, it has both Baroque and Art Nouveau elements, represented especially in the three main façades of the building, which, topped by the symbolisation of the performing arts in the form of female sculptures, leaves nothing to imagination as to the functions performed in the theatre. Poetry and Music on the central façade, Tragedy and Comedy on the façade facing the Treze de Maio Avenue, and Dance and Singing on the Rio Branco street façade. 

Although the most striking element, in addition to the six impressive marble columns that guard the granite entrance staircase or the gorgeous stained glass with the representation of the muses protecting the arts, are the great bronze domes crowning the Municipal Theatre. Time has turned the domes into a pretty jade green that matches the ornaments covered with 23-carat gold sheets to perfection. But it is the immense golden eagle, which is majestically perched on the central dome almost three metres high and six metres wide, the largest representative symbol of Rio de Janeiro's Municipal Theatre.

For years, it has been a symbol and home to what the performing arts represent in the Marvellous City. In its over one hundred years of existence, it has hosted international artists, such as João Gilberto, Strauss, Isadora Duncan, Nijinsky and a long repertoire of big names. Not surprisingly, it is the only cultural institution in the country with its own ballet company, symphony orchestra and a choir.

Stroll through this stunning work of art, because, if the outside is amazing, the floors decorated with exquisite Venetian mosaics, figures from various artists, the decorative elements of marble, onyx, glass and bronze make the interior of Rio de Janeiro's Municipal Theatre simply a beautiful place. 

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