The second day in Manaus, Lynda and I took a tour to visit the Opera House (Teatro Amazonas). This was designed and built in Europe, then disassembled and shipped to Manaus at the height of the rubber boom in the middle 1800's. It was reassembled and used for opera and symphony productions for the elite of Manaus. It has been used as a set for several movies, and is still in use today. In fact there was a rehearsal going on while we were there.
The exterior is in a sort of French classical style, and the interior is reminiscent of eighteenth century French palaces. The ceilings are exquisitely painted and the floors are intricate parquet. The cupola is covered with ceramic tiles from Alsace. Inside the ceiling has four columns painted on it so that it looks like you are looking up from the bottom of the Eiffel Tower.
The chandeliers are of Murano glass and the painted curtain in the main hall is pulled up into the cupola (not rolled up like modern ones). Both the parquetry and the curtain are said to represent the Meeting of the Waters. It is both opulent and comfortable. The chairs are well-cushioned red plush.
There is a small museum in one of the rooms upstairs that has examples of costumes and props from some of the productions in the theater.
One interesting thing in the lobby is a scale model of the Opera House made entirely of Legos.
In front of the Opera House is a plaza with mosaic pavements that represent the Meeting of the Waters (do you sense a theme here?).
It has an elaborate statue commemorating something or other; each of its four sides is labeled with a continent name (America, Asia, Africa, Europa). There was a church on one side of the plaza. Although the weather had been quite sunny and warm, it began to rain as we were waiting for the bus. We got wet, even though we had ponchos – it takes a while to get them on.