Rio set to dazzle the world with sumptuous parades
RIO DE JANEIRO - Agence France-Presse
Rio faces increasing competition from rival Sao Paulo, which staged sumptuous parades in its own sambadrome Saturday. AP photoRio was set to dazzle the world with a breathtaking display of fantasy pageantry Sunday in a rousing climax to its annual Carnival celebrations.
Sunday night and again Monday night, the city’s top samba schools will send allegorical floats and hundreds of lavishly costumed singers, dancers and musicians down a specially designed parade route to the renovated Sambadrome, “the temple of Samba”. Originally designed 30 years ago by famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, the arena reopened last Sunday after a nine-month makeover. It has now been expanded to offer a 72,500-seat capacity, with access ramps for the handicapped and elevators.
Rio faced increasing competition from rival Sao Paulo, which staged sumptuous parades in its own sambadrome Friday and Saturday, including one in tribute to Brazil’s popular former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is recovering from cancer radiation therapy. But Cariocas, as Rio residents are called, will be keen to show that they can indeed put on “the greatest show on Earth”, one that will be broadcast to a worldwide television audience. Saturday, more than two million revelers, many of them residents of the city’s impoverished favelas, flooded central Rio for a mammoth street bash organized by Bola Preta, one of the oldest Carnival associates.