During the second half of the nineteenth century, Manaus, the capital of Brazil’s Amazonas state, was one of the wealthiest cities in the world. “If one rubber baron bought a vast yacht,” recounted one historian, “another would install a tame lion in his villa, and a third would water his horse on champagne.” A magnificent, publicly-funded opera house, like the one immortalized in the film Fitzcarraldo, opened in 1896.

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May 29, 2018