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Day 40 - Symphony & Pastels in Sáo Paulo - April 7, 2013

The same building that on one end houses the downtown train station has the symphony hall on the other end.  We had noted the night before that the symphony was playing, only 400 Reais (US$200) per ticket.  But the same performance would be repeated on Sunday (today) at 11AM for free.  We agreed to meet Nina there at 11.  After a couple of transfers in the metro and a complicated walk over to the train, we ended up waiting about 25 minutes, watching one train pass by without stopping - maintenance or something.  So we were pretty late.  They symphony started about 11:15, and they would only allow Nina (who made it on time) to get one ticket.  She called us to let us know she was going in, but we could call when we arrived.  No problem.  Except that when we arrived, there were no tickets left at all.  With our near-total lack of Portuguese skills, there was not much we could do.  A quick call to Nina and she appeared.  Some discussion with the ticket agent and waving of hands in our direction ensued.  A couple of guys walked up to go inside, and they had one extra ticket.  The security guard, who had been watching all the drama in amusement, chimed in that he had a ticket as well, so problem solved!  We got box seats just in front of stage right, very nice!  Though we missed half of the performance, the remaining half was excellent.  The conductor and four string players (mandolin, 2 guitars, and a ukelele) were seasoned professionals, backed up by a full orchestra of youth players (college age).  The conductor (Regente Monica Giardini) had selected a medley of traditional Brazilian music and arranged it for the full symphony.  The mandolin took the lead for most of the songs, pausing on occasion for the full orchestra to repeat a refrain.  It was very beautiful and relaxing!  The audience was fully appreciative, and the group came back for an encore, but they told the crowd they must sing along.  Everyone did with enthusiasm.  A great spectacle for us.

We could not take pictures during the performance, so half the orchestra had departed the stage before this photo.

The performances are free every Sunday of the year!


Rick had to work today, so we were back to our agenda of parks and museums.  Right next door we found the Estacáo Pinacoteca, an annex to the Pinacoteca Museum, housed in another (former) train station next door, with displays of art on paper, some permanent fixtures, and Memorial da Resisténcia - a fascinating exhibit of protest art from the era of the military government persecution, which was very severe and happened only 40 years ago.

Pinacoteca Museum Annex - a former train station

Our very modest admission fee also included the original Pinacoteca Museum, a few blocks away across from the Estacáo Luz (Station of Light) train station.  This area has a reputation for being very sketchy, and everyone from our fellow symphony patrons to the museum annex workers warned us to be careful.  As it was Sunday, most of the troublemakers were asleep or otherwise absent, and we had no hassles or worries.   The station itself is quite beautiful, as is the park across from it.

Estacáo de Luz

We were a bit hungry, so Nina bought us huge pastels and soda from a street vendor outside the park.  Delicious!

Gentrification is slowly improving the Luz neighborhood.

At about 3PM, Nina had to return home to take care of her normal life.  We traveled together until we had to change trains, and said our goodbyes.  We made our way back to the apartment to take a rest before our final night in South America.


  1. S and K
    You guys helped me to discover my own city and I do appreciate. Thank you for discovering along with me, and although we walked quite a bit it was a very fruitful journey! :) I will look forward the orchestra more often from now and then



  2. I am very happy that all of us could discover things together. We cannot wait to come back and visit again!