Manaus

Amazonas Opera Festival

You may have been to an opera festival before, but have you ever been to one in the heart of the Amazon? Manaus, the capital city of Amazonas state in Brazil, hosts an opera festival every year between April and May and has been doing so for 16 years this year.

The Amazon Theater is host of most of the festivals main events, but there are several other surrounding vendors that host events as well. The theater is a stunning piece of Brazil’s history, and seeing it during the festival is the best way to experience the phenomenal sights and sounds it has to offer. Living up to Manaus’ vision of it standing out as a jewel in the heart of the rainforest, the theater is dotted with Italian columns and statues, beautiful French interior furniture, 198 Italian chandeliers, and an enchanting “meeting of the waters” curtain.

The official orchestra of the festival is the Amazonas Philharmonic, which is a relatively new orchestra formed in 1997 and features lead conductor Luiz Fernando Malheiro. The orchestra performs concerts of classical arias, recitals, and provides the music for full length operas held during the festival. You can catch a preview of the orchestra below.

Amazonas Philharmonic

There are a number of packages that travel companies have designed to make your Opera Festival stay an easy and pleasant one. Our favorite and most inclusive that we’ve seen so far is:

  • VisionofBrazil.Com – A 3 day package is available with meals, hotel stay, concert performances, transportation, and flight all scheduled for you. If interested, the link to this package is:  http://www.visionofbrazil.com/Destination/Manaus/Package/Opera-Festival-of-the-Amazon.aspx

Official site of the Amazonas Opera Festival

 

Manaus: Perfect Combination of City Living and Outdoor Adventure

Located on the Rio Negro River on the northern branch of the Amazon, Manaus is a city with beautifully designed buildings and smatterings of trees lining the streets. The weather is hot, the residents are friendly, atmosphere is relaxed, and the food offers a true taste of Brazil. Manaus is the perfect Brazilian city to visit if you want something a little in between – a little bit of city life and a little bit of rainforest. A perfect combination.

Manaus is easily reached by plane from Sao Paolo and Rio de Jainero, and is also a major stopping point for boats traveling the Amazon River. Its presence on the Amazon River also makes it a departure point for tours on the river. Its position along the river also makes its port one of the most active and important ports in Brazil. If you travel a bit further down the river you can see something unique – the “Meeting of the Waters”, which is where the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimoes rivers meet together.

While in the city, there are a number of attractions and local delights to experience. The Teatro Amazonas, which is a copy of the Grand Opera de Paris, is the home of the annual Festival Amazonas de Opera and the Amazonas. There’s also the Palacio Rio Negro, which is a must-see arts center in the heart of Manaus. Interestingly, the city founders actually designed Manaus to be the tropical version of Paris, and you’ll notice touches here and there that really represent this concept.

Outside of the city is where you can experience some true Brazilian outdoor adventure. For starters, taking a visit to Ponta Negra Beach is always a good choice as this is a clean and popular beach that lies west of the city and features a choice of bars and restaurants. Paricatuba Waterfall is also a tourist hotspot, located on the Negro River, and can only be reached by boat – but definitely worth the trip.

The National Park of Jau is a sightseeing adventure that should be a definite stop on your Manaus adventure as well. It is one of the largest national parks in Brazil and features a great number of trees and beautiful canopies. If you’re looking for some true rainforest adventure, Manaus is definitely the place as its forest has some of the most beautiful foliage in Brazil and also some of the most intricate canals. There are fewer animals in this are than you will find in other parts of the Brazilian rainforest, but scenery alone makes up for this.

To get a guided tour of the rainforest area of Manaus is really the best way to experience it. There are several companies in the area you can make reservations with, such as Amazon BackPackers tour, the Amazon Juma Tour, or even the Amazon Tree Climbing Tour – which actually gives you the best chance of observing some wildlife close up.

There’s no short selection of great food to consume while in Manaus. Enjoy some savory local Paella, delicious and fresh seafood, and traditional Brazilian dishes like none you’ve ever tasted. Peixaria Morongueta is a highly recommended open air local restaurant that not only features some of the best traditional Brazilian dishes in the area, but also boasts a mesmerizing view of the “meeting of the waters”.