Newsweek

'Secret Rio' Uncovers the Obscurities of Rio de Janeiro

The book is a revelation for a city eternally dogged by stereotypes of beaches, bikinis and crime.
An aerial view of Rio de Janeiro features landmarks Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain.
12_16_Rio_04 Source: Getty

It’s a glorious Monday morning in Rio de Janeiro, and I’m standing outside the city’s Municipal Theatre with Manoel de Almeida e Silva, an author and former spokesman for the U.N. He is a neat man, with a head of soft gray curls, and he is carrying a backpack. He is explaining how a statue of Carlos Gomes, Brazil’s most famous composer, came to be here.

In the 1940s, he tells me, Polish expats in Rio commissioned a statue of composer Frédéric Chopin to replace one destroyed by the Nazis in Warsaw a few years earlier. The Chopin statue was originally placed in Urca, a neighborhood near Sugarloaf Mountain, but in 1951, the city’s mayor had it moved in front of the municipal theater, where the great Polish

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