Orchestra, chorus, corps de ballet and schools

Municipal Theatre of Rio de Janeiro

Opened in 1909, the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro is one of the leading venues in Brazil. For over a century of activity, the beautiful building in the eclectic style - whose architecture is a separate show - has received on its stage the most renowned artists, great orchestras as well as national and international dance companies.

It is the only theater in the country to maintain three artistic bodies: a symphony orchestra, a chorus and a corps de ballet.

The Municipal Theater Symphony Orchestra was established on 2 May 1931, by virtue of Decree No. 3506, by decision of the Federal Interventor of Rio de Janeiro, Adolfo Bergamini.

The Orchestra debuted on 5 September 1931, under the baton of Maestro Francisco Braga, its first principal conductor.

The presentation cast included Italian tenor Tito Schipa as a soloist.

After 85 years of activity, the Municipal Theater Symphony Orchestra, one of the oldest in Brazil, remains alive and active, led by Tobias Volkmann as its principal conductor.

The Municipal Theater Chorus was created along with the Theater's Symphonic Orchestra in 1931.

However, it was only in 1933 that the Chorus performed for the first time as an organized and complete ensemble, under the direction of Santiago Guerra, its principal conductor until 1975.

The Chorus performs in operas, choral and choral-symphonic concerts.

Jesus Figueiredo is currently its Principal Conductor.

The history of the Municipal Theater Corps de Ballet begins in 1927, when dancer Maria Olenewa founded the first Brazil School of Dance, seated at the Municipal Theater.

Initially, the Corps de Ballet and the School of Dance were a single structure in the presentation of shows, until 1936 when the Corps de Ballet was officially created, with the definitive separation between the school and the professional company.

The First National Ballet Season came in 1937, under the direction of Maria Olenewa.

Since then, the company has been directed by dance icons in the country, Brazilian or not, including Vaslav Velchek, Tatiana Leskova, Eugenia Feodorova, Dalal Achcar, Nora Esteves, Dennis Gray and Jean-Yves Lormeau.

The Municipal Theater Ballet is now directed by principal dancers Ana Botafogo and Cecilia Kerche.

The country's first and most important ballet educational institution, the Maria Olenewa State School of Dance, belonging to the Foundation of Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theater, completed 89 years of uninterrupted work in 2016.

During its history, the School of Dance has formed excellent principal dancers of Theatro Municipal including Nora Esteves, Aurea Hammerli, Claudia Mota and Márcia Jaqueline, along with other successful artists such as Marcia Haydé, who was one of the top names in the Stutgart Ballet (Germany) and Roberta Marques, a star principal dancer of the Royal Ballet of London.

The Bidu Sayão Academy of Opera was founded in the second half of 2015, in order to give young singers the necessary experience in the operatic repertoire. It is currently managed by tenor Eduardo Álvares.

The Bidu Sayão Academy operates in a system of residencies of up to two years within the framework of vocal, stage and musical studies. The activities include lectures, master classes, repertoire study, rehearsals and concerts, with work focused on musical and drama expression.

The opera Serse, by Haendel, was presented by the students of the Academy, marking the debut of the Chamber Opera in Concert series with two productions in May 2016.
The Bidu Sayão Academy of Opera is managed by tenor Eduardo Álvares.

Credits: Story

Documentary sources
Collection of the Foundation of Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theater Documentation Center - CEDOC / FTMRJ

Curatorship
Fátima Cristina Gonçalves

Text
Carlos Henrique Braz
Fátima Cristina Gonçalves

Photos by
Jorge Campana
Júlia Rónai
Louis Melancon
Sheila Guimarães
Vânia Laranjeira

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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