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Baile do Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro


November 2006
Rio de Janeiro, Theatro Municipal

by Preston Palon

© Theatro Municipal

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Ballet is the most beautiful of all art forms, so surely Rio de Janeiro, a beautiful city full of beautiful people, is the ideal ballet destination? Not quite, the energy is so different in this city that even the most hardcore ballet fanatic may prefer more carnal pleasures. Brazil has a good reputation when it comes to music and dance, but it is dancers in G-strings we are likely to think of, not tutus.

Still, Rio de Janeiro has one of the world famous ballet venues, Theatro Municipal, and the resident company, Ballet do Theatro Municipal, so I was eager to check them out and see how their Onegin compares with the Royal Ballet. Getting a ticket was easy and incredibly cheap - eight pounds for a perfect seat in the middle of the fourth row.

When I arrived at the theatre I could see that it's currently in a slightly faded state, but still a very good looking building. The staircase area in particular looks great. I hope that the backstage facilities are good enough that it makes sense to keep restoring this old building.

I cannot make any expert comments about their dancing, but I can say that the orchestra played very well. Before this trip Roberta Marquez, previously a principal of this same company, was the only Brazilian dancer I knew. In this cast I particularly liked Cristiane Quintan as Olga. Her movement had exactly a kind of flow that I'm always looking for. So, now I know one more Brazilian dancer in addition to senhorita Marquez.

And how did their Onegin compare with Royal Ballet's? It was remarkably similar, from what I can remember of the RB version. Their sets are more of a cardboard variety, but that's understandable. In general I'm surprised how traditional Onegin feels. From what little I know about John Cranko, I would expect something slightly more radical.

So, if you ever find yourself in Rio, leave your beach gear to rest for one day and go to check out this beautiful theatre.

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