The Amazon Theatre is an opera house located in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. It is the location of the annual Festival Amazonas de Ópera (Amazonas Opera Festival) and the home of the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra which regularly rehearses and performs at the Amazon Theater along with choirs, musical concerts and other performances.
The Amazonas Theatre was built during the Belle Époque at a time when fortunes were made in the rubber boom. Construction of the Amazon Theatre was first proposed in 1881 by a member of the local House of Representatives, Antonio Jose Fernandes Júnior, who envisioned a “jewel” in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
In 1882, the State legislature approved some limited financing, but this was considered insufficient. Later that year, the president of the Province, José Lustosa Paranaguá, approved a larger budget and initiated a competition for the presentation of plans. The chosen project was made by the Gabinete Português de Engenharia e Arquitectura, an engineering and architecture office from Lisbon. By 1884, construction was ready to begin under the Italian architect Celestial Sacardim. Work proceeded slowly over the following fifteen years with some stops and restarts from 1885 to 1892.
By 1895, when the masonry work and exterior were completed, the decoration of the interior and the installation of electric lighting could begin more rapidly. The theatre was inaugurated on December 31, 1896, with the first performance occurring on January 7, 1897, with the Italian opera, La Gioconda, by Amilcare Ponchielli.