This week’s entertainment guide for São Paulo covers a bar with draught beer and traditional cuisine in Vila Madalena, a club with a contemporary style and lighting to match in Barra Funda, three museums that are part of a biomedical research institute, an art exhibition as FIESP and a Metro station, and this week’s recommended cinema release.

CamarDraught Beer (Chopp in Portuguese) and Paulista cuisine is to be found at the Camar bar. More restaurant perhaps than bar, it opened in April 2004, with the aim of representing the culinary experience from within Brazil (the so called “interior” in Portuguese). Reflected in such plates as Chicken with Cachaa, and Salmon with Maracuj and Oreccihiette sauce with broccoli and squid. On Saturday you can also try the traditional Feijoada, and on Sundays Paulista style barbecue. Camar also has its own draught beer, produced in Amparo. Rua Luiz Marat, 308. Vila Madalena. Tel. (11) 3816 6765. http://www.barcamara.com.br

D-EdgeThe club D-Edge has only been open a year or so in São Paulo, but is proving very popular. The club features an innovative design in that the sound and lighting all around the club are linked, which include not just the ceiling but also the walls and floor. The lighting system itself uses over 10 kilometres of cable. There are also three large working graphic equalisers, situated behind the bar, the dance floor, and the DJ’s area. The innovative design has featured the club in several Brazilian as well as world-wide magazines, as well as drawing international DJs. The music varies by day so check the web site for the latest programme. It varies from 80s to contemporary music of various genres. Alameda Olga, 170. Barra Funda. Tel. (11) 3667 8334. http://www.d-edge.com.br

Butantan InstituteThe Butantan Institute (Instituo Butantan) is a biomedical research centre for the Secretary of Health for São Paulo, but also has 3 museums, covering Biology, History and Microbiology. The Biology museum opened in 1912 and holds all sorts of weird and wonderful critters, such as snakes, spiders, scorpions, lizards and amphibians. The history museum opened in the late 1980s, and documents some of the research work that was carried out in the 100 year history of the institute. The Microbiology museum is a relatively new addition, and opened in 2002. The primary aim is to attract teachers and their students for a somewhat hands-on experience with the microbiological world, including use of microscopes, as well as scaled up replicas of viruses and bacteria. Av. Vital Brazil 1500. Tel. (11) 3726 7222 http://www.butantan.gov.br

International Festival of Electronic LanguageThe FILE exhibition (“Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletronica”, International Festival of Electronic Language) will be on show both at the FIESP cultural center and a Metro station, starting from the 1st November (Tuesday). The exhibition will feature more than 300 artists from 30 countries, including of course Brazil, as well as Canada, USA, France, Spain and Germany. As per last year’s exhibition the works will be subdivided by room. The work from 200 of these artists will be displayed in the “Digital Interaction room”. The “Hipercinematividade” presents interactive films and installations like the “IStory box”, a compilation of work from the German Florian Talhofer. In the “Hipersonica” music and sound align with the image. New to the exhibition is a work in the Metro entrance (station Trianon-MASP), the installation “Idades” (Ages), from five Spanish artists. This work allows the viewer to change the trajectory of a virtual ball depending on the position of their silhouette. http://www.file.org.br

The Corpse BrideAlthough already on show for a week or two this week’s movie recommendation is The Corpse Bride, from Director Tim Burton. A suitably spooky tale for Halloween, the animated feature tells the story of a young man (voiced by Johnny Depp) who can’t remember his wedding vows. He goes into the woods to practise, and places the ring on a twig which turns out to be the finger of a female corpse. Said corpse had died in the woods many years earlier from grief after her own fianc didn’t appear for a rendezvous. Despite the serious sounding story it’s pulled off in true lighthearted Tim Burton style, albeit with the dark edge that he’s famous for. It received a PG certificate in the USA and UK, so ideally for the less sensitive younger teens and older. http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0121164/

If you have been to a restaurant, club, park, or anywhere that you would like to recommend to other readers in future Entertainment Guides then don’t hesitate to contact us!

What’s On Guide, October 24 – October 30 2005
What’s On Guide, October 17 – October 23 2005
What’s On Guide, October 10 – October 16 2005
What’s On Guide, October 3 – October 9 2005
What’s On Guide, September 26 – October 2 2005
What’s On Guide, September 19 – September 25 2005
What’s On Guide, September 12 – September 18 2005
What’s On Guide, September 5 – September 11 2005
What’s On Guide, August 29 – September 4 2005
What’s On Guide, August 15 – August 28 2005
What’s On Guide, July 28 – August 14 2005
What’s On Guide, July 7 – July 27 2005
What’s On Guide, June 22 – June 28, 2005
What’s On Guide, June 15 – June 22, 2005
What’s On Guide, June 6 – June 15, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 26 – June 6, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 20 – May 25, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 13 – May 19, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 6 – May 12, 2005
What’s On Guide, Apr 29 – May 5, 2005
What’s On Guide, Apr 21 – Apr 28, 2005
What’s On Guide, Apr 6 – Apr 20, 2005
What’s On Guide, Mar 31 – Apr 6, 2005

By Mark Taylor
Although not a traditional Brazilian holiday, Halloween is increasingly celebrated here. Of course the primary influence for Halloween is North American, who themselves were influenced by their Celtic immigrants.

One place you’re likely to see Halloween celebrated is at one of the many English schools around São Paulo. They can go to surprising amounts of effort, including outfit competitions, decorations (with the inevitable pumpkins, spiders webs and witches brooms), and trick and treat, albeit typically localised to classes in the school.

Children aren’t the only ones to celebrate, and you are likely to see some bars and clubs, and even Bingo halls getting in on the Halloween action and being suitably decorated as well as running corresponding events.

If you are aware of any Halloween events you would like to advertise please contact us at gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Halloween” in the subject. Here are the events we have so far:

The American Society of São Paulo Halloween Party for Adults!!!

AmSoc is teaming up with the English Speaking Union in hosting their annual Halloween Fun Party for adults!!!

When? October 29th
What Time? from 8 PM to 1 AM
Where? At the British Cultural Center
How Much? Tickets for the party will be R$120 per person, including drinks and dinner

Have fun in a costume while contributing to multiple causes. The split revenue from the event will provide the ESU with money for scholarships for Brazilians to study in Anglophone countries, and will provide money for AmSoc’s chosen charities.

The evening will include drinks, dinner, dancing, and lots of spooking!!

Tables can be reserved for eight to 10 people. There will be a “Novice Vampires” section as well, where four or more tables will be especially reserved for singles and young couples.

For more information, contact Marlene Rubeiz (3815-3762)
To make reservations, call AmSoc (5182-2074) or e-mail amsoc1@americansociety.com.br

Don’t miss AmSoc’s first year participating in the Halloween Fun Party!
http://www.amsoc.com.br

Parque Monica

The famous “Parque Monica” for children, based around the legendary comic created by Mauricio de Souza, has several new events especially for Halloween aside from the rest of the park, including themed characters such as ghosts, mummies and vampires, a scary house, and an animated cemetry.

Other programmed activities include “Dance of the broom”, Hot Pumpkin, among others.

Ticket Price: R$ 27.90, crianas; R$ 19.90 adultos.
Open: Monday to Friday, 10h to 17h; Saturday, 10h to 21h; Sunday, 10h to 20h.
Location: Avenida Rebouas, 3970. Shopping Eldorado. Pinheiros
Tel: 3093-7766
http://www.parquemonica.com.br

Playcenter

The famous São Paulo theme park has been holding a special “Halloween Kids” party during October, that finished on the 15th November.

This mixes Brazilian folklore, Halloween traditions, and fun games.

Staff will help children produce items that relate to Brazilian folklore.

There will also be a special Halloween show with “Familia do Terror” (the Terror Family).

Ticket Price: R$ 27.00
Open: Monday to Friday, 12h to 20h; Saturdays and Sundays, 11h to 20h.
Location: Rua Jos Gomes Falcão, 20. Barra Funda.
Tel: 5696-2822 / 3350-0199
http://www.playcenter.com.br

Halloween Festival at Caf Aurora

The club Caf Aurora is running a special Halloween Festival on the 29th of October with an open bar and breakfast served at 5am for those who stay long enough.

Aside from the live music and decoration there will be a show with monsters, skeletons, beasts, and coffins.

The club itself has two floors, with a bar on each floor.

Ticket price: Up to 29/10 R$20 for Men, R$15 for Women. On the door R$25 for Men, R$20 for Women.
Time: 22h to 06h
Location: Rua Treze de Maio, 112. Bela Vista.
Tel: 3214-6420
http://www.cafeaurora.com.br

Kia Ora Pub

Recently voted best Pub by Veja, Kia Ora is Australian and Kiwi in style, with a balcony in the shape of a Boomerang.

They are holding a special Halloween night on the 2nd November (Wednesday), where you can buy 5 pints of Guiness and get a free a T-sirt.

Location: Rua Dr. Eduardo de Souza Aranha, 377.
Tel: 3846-8300
http://www.kiaora.com.br

Lone Star

The Lone Star Tex-Mex bar/restaurant will be having a Halloween night on the 29th October (Saturday).

If you go suitably dressed for Halloween you’ll get a free drink.

Location: Alameda Ministro Rocha Azevedo, 1096. Jardim Paulista
Entry price: R$15.00
Time: 18h to late
http://www.lonestar.com.br

By Max Hodgkin
This column is for all you lovely classical music lovers in São Paulo. This week’s suggestion list includes an opera for the buffs, and a charity concert for the children.

Prices normally are ridiculously low in SP so don’t miss the opportunities! Often there is price for children and senior citizens.

Oct 20th
Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de São Paulo. Panfnik, Mendelson and Shostakovich.
At the Sala São Paulo, (part of the railway station) Praca Julio Prestes. Tel. 3337 5414
With its own parking. Entry R$25 to R$79.

Oct 21st and 23rd

Opera ‘A Dinner Dance’ by Sir Lenox Berkley.
At the Theatro São Pedro, Rua Barra Funda 171, Barra Funda. Tel. 3667 0499
Limited parking at the side. Entry R$25 to R$79.

Oct 22nd
‘Tucca’ is presenting A medley of Audio and visual effects titled ‘What use is music?’ Includes acrobats and various musics from religion, films, theater and animated films etc. Interesting for your kids?!
At the Sala São Paulo, (part of the railway station) Praca Julio Prestes. Tel. 3337 5414
With its own parking. Entry R$25 to R$35.

Oct.24th
Carlos Moreno, piano solo in Brahms 1st plus Mahler and Janacek.
At the Sala São Paulo, (part of the railway station) Praca Julio Prestes. Tel. 3337 5414
With its own parking. Entry R$30.

For classical music on the radio tune to Cultura (FM 103.30MHz). On some late nights they transmit Jazz. More extensive details can be found in a monthly magazine called Concerto and is available via Tel. (11) 5535 5518

For previous articles by Max Hodgkin see below:

Brazil: São Paulo’s Classical Music Roundup – Oct 20th to 24th
Brazil: São Paulo’s Classical Music Roundup – Oct 5th to Oct 16th
Brazil: São Paulo’s Classical Music Roundup – Oct 5th to Oct 12th”

This week in our continuing foreigners through Brazilian eyes series we have an interview with Elizabeth Sacknus, a System Analyst from São Paulo who has also travelled to various other countries. Read on as Elizabeth tells us about her impressions of Gringos, and gives some helpful advice also.

1. Where are you from in Brazil and what do you do?

Im in São Paulo and Im a System Analyst, working with SAP.

2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?

The language – it is not common to meet Brazilians who talk in English, or other languages besides Portuguese.

3. What are common mistakes that foreigners make in Brazil?

I think every tourist should travel here with a pocket dictionary, knowing basics about Portuguese. Another remark is about baths – Brazilians take showers every day, even more than once a day because of the hot weather. Some cultures dont have this habit, due to the weather in their country. But here, if somebody doesn’t smell good this is considered shameful. Another mistake comes from the gesture meaning ok; the same symbol that Americans, for example, indicate as ok” means a bad word here.

4. What characteristic of other nationalities strikes you as the most different (eg. sense of humour, formality, dress)?

I think Europeans dress very well, and in some cases they dont acept jokes. On the other hand, mostly when a European says something, he/she means it, differently from Brasilians, who are sarcastic a lot.

Mexicans, Americans, Latin American countries have more humor, but they can also be more sarcastic. People from Asia are direct.

5. Which English accent do you prefer and why (eg. Scottish, American, Australian)?

I think I prefer American, from the North of the country, because Im more used to this. But I think English from other parts of the world has its charm. The ones that I have difficulty understanding are English from Texas or with an Indian accent.

6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?

I loved Cascais, in Portugal, near to Lisbon. It has a unique geography, a pleasant place. I also loved the pyramids near Ciudad del Mexico. I like Buenos Aires a lot also.

7. Favourite foreign food?

I liked “duck rice” (arroz de pato) in Portugal and Tacos in Mexico (although without chilli/ pepper, which I cannot stand). There is also the “Pastel de Santa Clara” in Portugal, really nice.

8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?

Band: A-ha, Alphaville, Movie music.
Book: Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown), Stephen King’s and Edgar Allan Poe books, technical (how things work and SAP), historical, management, curiosities. I love reading.
Movie: The Bicentennial Man, The Black Stallion, All the Back to the Future movies, X Files, Star Trek, Love Potion Number 9, Two spies and a Baby, and so many more. I love movies.

9. What is the difference between dating a Brazilian and Foreigner (if this applies to you or perhaps a friend)?

I didnt experience that, but I hear that foreigners are delighted by the Brazilian softer way with relationships.

10. Can you share an incident, misunderstanding or ‘culture shock’ that you have
experienced with a foreigner?

Mostly the signs between cultures are different. Some gestures, like I mentioned before. And in food – in Mexico I went to a KFC store to have dinner to go. I asked for chicken and french fries. When I arrived at the hotel room, and started to eat, I noticed that everything was covered with hot chilli… I starved that night, after trying to get some chicken pieces, and didn’t have a great time in the bathroom the next day!

11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?

Go to the beaches – I would recommend Fortaleza, Recife, Maceió. If in São Paulo, go to the bars at night – you can choose whatever food in the world you would like, and there are a lot of shows and events. But always travel with a trustworthy company, because there are also a lot of pickpockets here.

To read previous interviews in the Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series click below:

Geberson Coelho
Rosaly Loula
Andreas Saller
Elvis Renato Barbosa Lima
Bruno Santos
Maria Cecilia Schmidt Maluf
Marta Dalla Chiesa
Cludia Ramis De Almeida
Vivian Manasse Teixeira Leite
Fernando Saffi
Gabriela Kluppel
Patrcia C. Ribeiro
Fabiano Deffenti

If you are Brazilian, or know a Brazilian, who has traveled abroad or has considerable experience with different nationalities here in Brazil, we would like to hear from you. Please send an email with contact details and a brief description of yourself to gringoes@www.gringoes.com

By John Fitzpatrick
By voting not to ban the sales of guns and ammunition in the referendum held on October 23, Brazilians have condemned thousands of their fellow citizens to death in coming years. Angry husbands will shoot their wives during domestic rows, irate middle-aged men will shoot their teenage neighbors because they are fed up telling them to reduce the volume of their CD players, motorists will shoot other motorists for denting their cars, while physically or mentally handicapped people will kill themselves in moments of despair. The killers and thieves among us will see the vote as a declaration of war and become even more trigger happy. The flow of guns into private hands will continue, enriching arms manufacturers, gun dealers and feeding Brazil’s parasitical private security industry. The pro-arms lobby was so effective in selling the message that guns are good that one can expect to see a surge in sales. Perhaps guns will become popular Christmas presents this year along with cellular phones and Ipods. Members of the family can then compete to see who will be the first to fire the weapon and kill a criminal.

The sheer size of the majority against the ban – 63% to 36% – was almost unbelievable considering that polls showed an overwhelming majority in favor at the start of the campaign. Not one of the 26 states and Federal District returned a majority in favor and even then only seven states had more than 40% voting Yes”. The “Yes” vote was highest in violent states like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Alagoas and Bahia. On the other hand, voters in the equally violent “Wild West” states of Acre and Roraima voted against the ban by 83% and 85% respectively. Rio Grande do Sul had the dubious distinction of the highest “No” vote in the whole country (almost 87%) showing that the gauchos still revel in their historical martial image.

The “Yes” camp has been asking itself what went wrong. There has been no shortage of gleeful commentators in the media, which was overwhelmingly biased and against the ban, telling them. According to these pundits, the vote showed that the people were not prepared to have a legitimate freedom taken from them by a bunch of left-wing do-gooders pandering to drug traffickers, kidnappers, bank robbers, MST agitators and squatters. President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva was blamed, of course, since a part of the media is still furious that Lula has survived the ongoing political crisis unscathed. According to this view, voters were protesting against the government’s failure to protect them and to show their disdain for the inefficiency of the police. Others said the referendum had been unnecessary since it was up to the legislators in Congress to make the laws and not the people as a whole. There may be some merit in some of these points but, at the end of the day, people did not vote for peace and love but guns and death.

This was a depressing result for someone like me who has always been impressed by how Brazilians manage to get along with each other in this disorganized, semi-lawless society. Violent crime has always been the dark shadow which hangs over Brazil and everyone knows that. However, this vote has blighted the spontaneity and innocence which is one of the greatest attractions of this country. October 23 was the day the music died – a sad day for all of us and future generations.

John Fitzpatrick 2005

John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish writer and consultant with long experience of Brazil. He is based in São Paulo and runs his own company Celtic Comunicaes.This article originally appeared on his site http://www.brazilpoliticalcomment.com.br. He can be contacted at jf@celt.com.br.

Previous articles by John Fitzpatrick on www.gringoes.com:

Brazil’s Gun Lobby Launches Hysterical Campaign Against Arms Ban
Jews and Arabs Find Success in Brazil
Brazil’s Politicians Start Looking Ahead to Next Year
Brazil: Lula Down but Certainly Not Out
Brazil’s Congress Struggles to Cope with Ongoing Crisis
Brazil: Scandal Threatens Presidential Mandate System
Brazil: If Lula is to Survive He Needs to Change His Tactics
Brazil: Many Parties – Few Ideas
Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Helping the Helpless in Brazil
Pinheiros – São Paulo’s Best District
Growing Old (Dis)gracefully in Brazil
Canudos, Still With Us 100 Years Later
The Rise of the Brazilian Empire
Brazil and Portugal – The Samba and the Fado
Brazil – Just A State Of Mind
Brazil: For Lula, is Ignorance Bliss?
Brazil: Pay Day – or Pay Dirt?

By Mark Taylor
So the votes are almost in (99.99%), but it’s a foregone conclusion that Brazil has decided to say no” to the banning of firearm and munition sales.

The precise split of the vote was as follows: 63.94% “No”, 36.06% “Yes” (based on 92,441,300 votes). In Brazil you have the unusual ability to place what is called a “white” vote, arguably for the apathetic, you give your vote up to whoever wins increasing their share. There were 1.09% white votes. You can also cast a “null” vote, where you don’t vote for anyone, which was cast by 1.68% of those who voted.

21.85% of registered voters abstained. If you’re a registered voter it’s mandatory to vote, or at the very least indicate why. If you don’t then you have to pay a fine, as well as losing the right to get a passport and enter the entrance exam to work in or as a contractor for the government.

The Brazilian president, Luiz Incio Lula da Silva, declared that he was voting “yes”, to ban firearms, and placed his vote on Sunday Morning in São Bernardo do Campo (São Paulo). He gave his reason as being that he didn’t feel that the “pessoa comum” (common person) needed guns to give security.

A lot of paranoia in the populace and press abounds that the government want to get rid of guns from the public to have greater control, although this flies in the face of any evidence to date. Opposition party members, such as PTB and PFL-DF, were spearheading the “no” campaign, citing self defence and the fragility of public security as reasons. Of course the latter argument may well be more politically motivated.

The church was perhaps not surprisingly supporting the “yes” vote, based on comments by both Catholic and Evangelical denominations.

There were some curiously big differences between the voting patterns in various states. Rio Grande do Sul, Acre and Roraima, voting 87% “no”, against banning weapons. Whereas states like Pernambuco and Cear had the lowest values of the “no” vote, 55%. Although the latter were southern states there wasn’t any clear geographical pattern in which states were pro or anti-guns.

So what lies ahead for Brazil now? Presumably a referendum on this topic will not be run again for many years if ever again. Mrcio Tomaz Bastos, the Justice Minister, has said that with the “no” vote arms will continue to be controlled in the same manner, presumably referring to the current licensing laws and amnesties.”

By Joe Lopes

Home, Bittersweet Home
In the overwhelming majority of Giuseppe Verdi’s grand operas — even an elaborate, four-act spectacle such as the Egyptian-based blockbuster Aida — the Italian-born composer often went to great lengths to provide his audiences with some relief from the pomp and pageantry and show us the human side of his characters.

Certainly by the third act of this exotic masterwork (set on the moonlit banks of the Nile River), the hard-pressed title character is allowed a welcome respite, as she yearns for the verdant beauty of her Ethiopian homeland, expressed in hauntingly exquisite vocal terms:

‘O patria mia, mai pi,
Mai pi ti rivedr!’

Oh my beloved country,
Never more to see you again!

At this point in the drama, she waits for Radames, leader of the Egyptian forces, whom she secretly loves, to confront him with the news that he has been awarded the hand of Pharaoh’s daughter in marriage — an unexpected plot twist that would surely have made legendary Hollywood showman Cecil B. DeMille turn green with envy.

But instead of her beloved, Aida’s warlike father, Amonasro, steps out from behind the shadows to coerce her into tricking Radames to reveal the passage by which the enemy plans to attack.

Mercilessly, Amonasro taunts his daughter into submission, until at last she gives in to his outrageous demands in the glorious, high-lying phrase, ‘O patria, patria, quanto mi costi!’ (Oh country, my country, how much you have cost me).

With that the angry parent leaves, convinced that his offspring would just as soon betray the man she loves, than deny her downtrodden nation its last chance for revenge.

As always, the famed Master from Busseto” spared no musical expense in making this generational clash between love and duty as emotionally shattering as any in opera.

Still, fervent followers of the great man’s music would be pleasantly surprised to learn that the evocative soprano aria that precedes this turbulent duet was written not two months after the work’s 1871 premiere at the Cairo Opera House.

By most accounts, ‘O patria mia’ was an afterthought on Verdi’s part, reserved primarily for the first La Scala performance, which took place on February 8, 1872, and a vital part of the finished score thereafter.

It could well have served as soprano Eliane Coelho’s personal signature tune, were it not for the tenacious qualities to be found in the Carioca singer herself.

While many of her finest achievements would inevitably unfold on the world’s most celebrated stages, the diva’s exceedingly conservative clan members were adamantly opposed to their daughter’s plans for a career in the performing arts.

“It was a terrible time,” Eliane told the Estado de São Paulo press, especially after 1966, when the lure of the theater had so assiduously taken hold of the impressionable neophyte — and on her maiden visit to Rio de Janeiro’s Teatro Municipal.

“At sixteen, my great-uncle took me to see La Traviata. I was absolutely entranced. It was there that I discovered what I wanted to do with my life. But my father insisted I go to a ‘decent’ college and forget about music, so without even speaking a word of German I decided to leave Brazil because I thought I would either sing or die.”

Though no Aida-like confrontation scene has ever been detected or hinted at, the family pressures faced by the young Eliane, as well as by her illustrious predecessor, Brazilian soprano Bidu Sayão, were eerily similar and suspiciously prophetic, too, of what was soon to follow.

Sure enough, in 1971 the courageous and, by now, seriously motivated music student departed the tranquility of her idyllic home life, near the shores of Ipanema Beach, for the scholastic rigors of the Musikhochschule (Higher School of Music) in Hannover.

While there she successfully completed her course load, but not before beginning vocal training in Rio with the French soprano Solange Petit-Renaux, a former star of the Paris Opéra. What did this crucial career move mean to the determined novice, in light of her subsequent long-term stay abroad?

“We’re such a sentimental people,” the emboldened singer avowed. “We cling stubbornly to our families and homes, and many cannot bring themselves to let go, although I realize you need a certain musical fanaticism, such as I had, to be able to leave your country behind.”

By the late seventies, Eliane had done just that, staying true to her family’s surname (which in Portuguese means “rabbit”) by hopping across both German Republics, until the 1983-84 season, when she temporarily gave pause to become a regular of the Frankfurt Opera.

Further operatic exploits on the European Continent, throughout the remainder of the eighties and into the nineties, brought her renewed commitments from the Bregenz Festival in Austria, the Teatro Regio in Turin, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, the Berlin Opera, and the Vienna Volksoper.

Her first assignment at the Municipal of Rio — on the same stage that had once dazzled her with post-adolescent dreams of operatic stardom — occurred in 1991, as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

In and Out of Old Vienna
She later settled in Vienna, where, from the early nineties to the present, ecstatic European audiences have cheered themselves hoarse over her, even going so far as to claim the talented South American for their own, as a permanent and endearing member of the city’s historic Vienna State Opera.

In 1998, she received the official designation of Kammersngerin, or House Singer, with the company — a title Eliane took seriously to heart: “I jumped at the chance. In a career as stressful as this one, involving constant travel and contract negotiations, and maximum adrenaline rushes on stage, I opted to work as a resident singer, but I still long for the warmth of Brazil. That’s why I go back as often as I do.”

As good as her word, the fifty-four-year-old spinto continued to make fast forays to her home country’s principal theaters, appearing in 1996 at Rio’s Teatro Municipal, as Mim in La Bohme; then as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, at the Amazonas Opera Festival in Manaus (1999); and back again in Rio, for a proposed run of La Gioconda (2002), to be replaced by a recycled production of Butterfly with the continuously busy Brasileira. She agreed to stay on, despite the last-minute schedule change and a temporary reduction in her fee.

The conductor for those aborted Gioconda performances, maestro Luiz Fernando Malheiro, had previously led Coelho in a 1998 revival of Gomes’ Maria Tudor, in which she recreated the strenuous name part for the National Opera of Sofia, in Bulgaria. Their joint efforts were preserved on video and released in Brazil by Fundaão Nacional de Arte (National Foundation for the Arts), or Funarte, a non-profit organization.

Other stage triumphs included lead roles in Tosca, Arabella, Fedora, Falstaff, Idomeneo, I Lombardi, Rusalka, Hrodiade, and Lulu, as well as two towering Germanic pieces not normally presented with a Latin in mind: Richard Strauss’ one-act operas Elektra and Salome.

Eliane first took on the taxing part of the depraved Judean princess Salome back in 1991, and has since performed it more than one-hundred-and-thirty times over the past decade and a half — undoubtedly, some kind of record for a singer with her sunny disposition.

On a more recent 2001 visit to her beloved homeland, she surprised many of her local fans with the first-ever recording (on the Swedish label BIS) of Jupyra, a short subject for the stage by native composer Antonio Francisco Braga, with the esteemed John Neschling at the helm of Orquestra Sinfnica de São Paulo.

Soprano and conductor had crossed paths before, appearing together in the early to mid-nineties during Neschling’s brief dalliance with the Vienna State Opera.

On her own, Coelho has participated in numerous international productions featuring such world-renowned figures as Jos Carreras, Natalie Dessay, Plcido Domingo, Samuel Ramey, Bryn Terfel, and the late Marcello Viotti.

In a non-stop singing career that has taken her to every major cultural center — the sole exception being New York’s Metropolitan Opera — the energetic and still youthful-looking prima donna (and proud mother of two) has barely had time to entertain such homespun notions as returning to her place of birth: “I’ve been living in Europe for thirty years now, so my life is here.”

She quickly added, “I would live in Brazil again if I didn’t have to work. Then, I’d buy a house in Buzios, with a tennis court on the side…That would be fantastic.”

What advice can she offer to today’s promising young artists interested in pursuing a similar career path?

“It’s important to remember that opera is an art form that represents another musical era that is no longer our own. On the other hand, the basic themes are human ones, and, therefore, always relevant to our time.

“The problem is that in the current climate opera tends to get left behind. Young singers, for example, don’t have the necessary time to develop and are soon thrown into roles they are not properly prepared for.

“Another problem is the recording industry, which, with its antiseptic productions, is selling a musical reality that simply does not correspond to live theater, which is indeed a musical reality.

“On the stage, this reality is produced at a given instant, subject to different sets of circumstances, and transformed into highly emotional moments that stay with the public forever. No singer can hope to compare those moments to his or her studio recordings. We are not robots or computers.”

Having thrilled audiences at the outset with literally hundreds of memorable moments, Eliane now prefers to take the less rigorous concert route, devoting much of her time to solo recitals — at last count, some thirty to forty a year.

“An ideal number,” according to the singer. “This profession remains an extremely demanding one. When you’re on the stage, in front of thousands of people, it’s as if you were being thrown into the arena,” or, heaven forbid, tossed to the lions. Not even poor Aida had to face such an arduous ordeal. But what really draws the singer to her various and sundry stage parts?

“I’m attracted to roles that have strong personalities, that evolve over the length of the work, and that present dramatic challenges for my voice, as well as those that fit comfortably within my range.

“With all the love I have for the art of song, above everything else opera, for me, is theater with music, and not the other way around. I just adore the performance part of it.”

If Bidu could hear her now, she would likely concur with Coelho’s refreshing candor – particularly with regard to her personal and professional honesty, the human side of her character.

Whether in romantic Rio or in good, old-fashioned Vienna, she instinctively strives to live abundantly for her art. In itself, that is certainly something to cheer about.

Copyright 2005 by Josmar F Lopes

To read previous articles by Joe Lopes click below:

A Brazilian Divia Torn Between Europe and Brazil
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest
Brazil’s Musical Polyglots: What Was That You Were Singing?
Did Bossa Nova Kill Opera in Brazil?

By Jessie Simon
Before arriving in Brazil I was given a cookbook on Brazil’s cuisine from my brother. Dave (my fianc) and I had taken a look at it before we came here and were not impressed to say the least: a lot of fish, meat and black beans with bland sounding accompaniments.

Fortunately, I am completely over the moon about the food. I can’t believe how many choices there are, not to mention the freshness! You can go to any restaurant or Barraca and taste some of the best food Brazil has to offer.

Let’s start with the Rodizio; you sit down at a big table with an army of a buffet in front of you with salad, beans, sushi (at times), olives, bread etc. One go around and you are already full, I had actually thought that was the meal.

When the servers came by with little disks, green on one side, red on the other, I knew we were in store for something amazing. Each server has a piece of meat on a large skewer that they pass around from person to person at the table. You can either say yes or no, or just use the disk; green for go, red for stop. Every piece of meat is passed around, parts I didn’t even know existed and it’s truly unbelievable.

Our favorite is the picanha, which is literally the tenderest meat we’ve ever had. It is a Brazilian specialty cut from the rump roast and marinated in salt and garlic. My other favorite is the chicken thighs that are cooked with a splash of garlic and oil. I have yet to find a Rodizio that is less than perfection.

My other favorite add on is farofa, which was new to me when I came here. It’s made with manioc (cassava, yucca, or tapioca) flour and sausage or other meats. It adds a little salty, breadcrumb kick to the meal. By the time you flip your disk to red you’ve gained 5 pounds, but it’s well worth it.

In NY they have the Churrascaria Plata Forma that is going up in price by the month. Last I heard it was $44 a plate plus drinks. At these Rodizios in Brazil, you can find them as cheap as $6 a person all you can eat, not to mention the $1 caiprinhas which are a must have!

Let’s now move to the most delicious drink of Brazil, the caiprinha. I was introduced to these by a Brazilian sushi restaurant called Sushi Samba in NY. What I didn’t know was how strong and powerful these little drinks are. I used to down two of them within a half an hour. When I couldn’t walk straight out of the restaurant, I did some research. Cachaca (which is the alcohol and only liquid other than ice in the drink) is made from sugar cane alcohol. The drink is prepared by crushing Cachaca, lime and sugar with a faux motor and pestle. The result: a tangy, tart drink that can make your mouth water just at the sight of it. Since there is sugar alcohol and sugar in the drink, it can double as a drug. I drank 4 of these one night and before I knew it, it was 5am. That’s Brazil for you.

One of my other new favorites is Aa. It’s made from a nutritional Amazonian berry with Guarana powder/syrup. You have to drink with caution because Guarana (natural caffeine and sweetener) has recently been banned in the states due to the similarities to ephedrine (speed). Aa is an interesting looking, thick dark purple gritty drink. It’s one of those acquired tastes and now I’m hooked! My new favorite ritual is stopping for one of these special treats each morning during walk hour” in Fortaleza.

There are many more foods and drinks to rave about, and I’m still getting to know the food. Amazingly, I’ve actually lost weight. Bye bye processed foods of the states!

Jessie Simon recently moved, with her fiance, from New York City to Fortaleza to start a kiteboarding company called Kite Adventures (http://www.kiteadventures.com) that specializes in guided kiteboarding tours around the northeast of Brazil. She can be contacted at jessie@kiteadventures.com.

To read previous articles by Jessie click below:

Brazil: Now That’s What I call Service!
Brazil: Forro in Fortaleza

By D. E. Finley
In March, 1999, when her 19 year old son was killed in a motor cycle accident, Azenethe Ficker recalled, I felt like my heart had broken into a million pieces. I almost went crazy. The world ended for me.”

“After months of darkness,” Azenethe continued, “I had a vision of the holy spirit. I felt like my old heart was pulled out and replaced with a new one. I became happy again. God had taken my son but had given me many children.”

With the help of her church, Novo Jerusalem, in Campinas, and the organization, Compassion do Brasil, Azenethe Ficker, a retired school teacher, created the school, Novo Jerusalem. It is a haven for impoverished children living in the neighboring favela. Novo Jerusalem started out modestly with 62 children, four teachers, a cook, and a cleaning person. Today Novo Jerusalem has 540 children, from ages three to eighteen. There are 33 paid staff, and five to six volunteers.

Because, Novo Jerusalem can’t afford to have a full-time school, they offer a supplemental, half-day program to teach the children what they don’t learn in school or at home. They are taught Christian values, given tutoring, computer and vocational training. There are also programs in the arts, language, and life skills. Azenethe’s daughter, a psychologist, works at the school, with pregnant mothers, teaches drug prevention, and lectures against violence. The children are provided with a nutritious meal and a safe place to go. On Saturdays, a doctor and a dentist treat residents in the favela community. Several of the older children volunteer at the school and help to teach the younger ones. Some of the graduates return as full-time employees.

In order to run the school, Novo Jerusalem receives funding from Compassion do Brasil, Prefeitura Muncipal de Campinas, FEAC (Federacao das Entidades Assistencias de Campinas), Igreja Presbiteriana Novo Jerusalem church, and additional donations. There is also the opportunity to sponsor a child.

Azenethe Ficker is a life long learner. She has a bachelor degrees from Unicamp and a Masters degree from Universidade Mackenzie. She has written a book about losing her son and starting the Novo Jerusalem school titled, Ate Logo Meu Filho. Azenethe has received much recognition, and many awards for her contributions to the community.

Novo Jerusalem is located on the Rua Presidente Alves, 1252 Jd. Das Paineiras, Campinas, SP. Their telephone numbers are (19) 3252-1078 and (19) 3255-8350. Their e-mail address is novajerusalemigreja@ig.com.br.

Translation help for this article was provided by Evangeline Lane.

D.E. Finley is a writer and graphic artist. You can visit her website at http://defDesigns.com

To read previous articles by D. E. Finley click below:

Brazil Humour: Plastic Surgery

Brazil Humour: What’s In A Name?

Brazil Humour: Sizing Up Shoes in Brazil

Brazil Humour: Hiring a Cook

Brazil Humour: Pet Sitting

Brazil Humour: Driving in Campinas

Brazil Humour: Lighting Up

Brazil: Going to the US Consulate

Brazil: Advice to Dialinda

Brazil: Feijoada Anyone?

Brazil Life: Winter in Brazil

Brazil Life: Home Safe Home
Brazil Life: Hose Shopping
Brazil Life: In-Laws In Town
Brazil Life: Got Floss
Brazil Life: Hiring a Maid
Brazil Life: Brazilians are so Nice
Brazil Life: Gringa Goes Shopping at Carrefour
Brazil Life: Amazon Encounter Lodge Vacation
Brazil Life: Keeping Track of My Purse

This week’s entertainment guide for São Paulo covers a bar with a tropical feel in Vila Madalena, an excellent pizza restaurant also in Vila Madalena, legendary rock group Deep Purple playing in São Paulo and Rio, the 29th International Film Festival showing here in São Paulo and a recommended cinema release.

Grazie a DioA bar with a tropical feel is Grazie a Dio, located in Vila Madalena. The tropical feel is sustained by the lush decoration and the equally lush plants placed around the bar. It gives you the feel that you are somewhere in the Amazon. Live music is a fort at Grazie a Dio, and bands covering a wide variety of styles play every night, Monday through to Sunday. The bar menu is very complete, and themed along a Mediterraean style. Monday to Thursday and Sunday, 20h – 0h. Friday and Saturday, 20h – 01h. Rua Girassol, 67, Vila Madalena Tel. 3031-6568 / 3813-9196. http://www.grazieadio.com.br

Vila HarmoniaA recently opened pizza restaurant and bar is Vila Harmonia, located in Vila Madalena. The restaurant itself has a rustic style, and is broken up into four environments, including the main restaurant itself, a deck area, a bar, and a semi-open area for the enormous wood fuelled pizza oven. Rua Harmonia, 21. Vila Madalena. Tel. 3814 9369 http://www.vilaharmonia.com.br

Deep PurpleLegendary rock group Deep Purple are playing in both São Paulo and Rio Janeiro this week, with their “Rapture of the Deep” tour. Their progressive rock beginnings in the late 60s and 70s followed by a change to heavier metal (achieving the Guiness world record of being the loudest rock band) earned them many fans, and despite a somewhat “revolving door” line-up the fans have remained faithful, as well as earning them new fans up to the present. The São Paulo performance is on the 1st (Tuesday) and 3rd (Thursday) of November, with the performance in Rio on the 4th (Friday). Tickets available from Fnac, Ticketmaster, and other outlets. http://www.ticketmaster.com.br

29th International Film FestivalThe São Paulo 29th International Film Festival is being held at various cinemas around the city from the 21st October, finishing on the 3rd November. Aside from hundreds of films on show from many countries, the festival is also hosting workshops with both Brazilian and international filmmakers and producers. http://www.uol.com.br/mostra/29/p_home_en.shtml

CrashA few movie releases this week to choose from, but the pick is Crash (described as “Crash – No Limite” here in Brazil). The film adopts the style of several mini-stories, all relating to racism in various forms, contained within Los Angeles. Inevitably the characters in each story collide at various points in the film. The film has been both critically and publicly well received, Recommended for those who like serious drama. http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0375679/

If you have been to a restaurant, club, park, or anywhere that you would like to recommend to other readers in future Entertainment Guides then don’t hesitate to contact us!

What’s On Guide, October 17 – October 23 2005What’s On Guide, October 10 – October 16 2005
What’s On Guide, October 3 – October 9 2005
What’s On Guide, September 26 – October 2 2005
What’s On Guide, September 19 – September 25 2005
What’s On Guide, September 12 – September 18 2005
What’s On Guide, September 5 – September 11 2005
What’s On Guide, August 29 – September 4 2005
What’s On Guide, August 15 – August 28 2005
What’s On Guide, July 28 – August 14 2005
What’s On Guide, July 7 – July 27 2005
What’s On Guide, June 22 – June 28, 2005
What’s On Guide, June 15 – June 22, 2005
What’s On Guide, June 6 – June 15, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 26 – June 6, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 20 – May 25, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 13 – May 19, 2005
What’s On Guide, May 6 – May 12, 2005
What’s On Guide, Apr 29 – May 5, 2005
What’s On Guide, Apr 21 – Apr 28, 2005
What’s On Guide, Apr 6 – Apr 20, 2005
What’s On Guide, Mar 31 – Apr 6, 2005