Brazil Inside Out - Manaus and the Amazon

About Manaus and The Amazon

Teatro Amazonas, the city's neo-classical opera house, was built with iron imported from Scotland, stone from Italy and tiles from France.

Manaus' belle époque only lasted until Englishman Henry Wickham smuggled the rubber plant to Asia.

In 1967, a new law gave tax breaks to factories in Manaus. Since then, the city's changed from a depressed backwater to Brazil's main producer of electronic goods.

Alex Bellos at Teatro Amazonas In the very heart of the world's largest tropical rainforest, in the Teatro Amazonas of Manaus, Alex attended a concert of great artistic excellence. Afterwards, he went to meet Tais Bandeira, the soprano who sung The Bachiana Brasileira Number 5, the most popular piece by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.


  • TAIS BANDEIRA, Soprano:
    The music of this aria is typically Brazilian. But, at the same time, it manages to get to the heart of every person.

    This song seems to come from the earth, a song of nostalgia.
    Brazilian people are typically multi-cultural. So they can feel the rhythm of the black people in the music and the melodic nuance of the Indians. And they also sense the European roots in the Bachiana. The Bachiana was inspired by Bach. So, for the people, these are all Brazilian elements joined together.


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