Current champion, Imperatriz shines in Sapucaí with cordel and

Current champion, Imperatriz shines in Sapucaí with cordel and

The first day of presentations by the samba schools of the Rio de Janeiro Special Group showed that Imperatriz Leopoldinense has a good chance of winning the title again. Closing the night with the theme “With luck turning to the moon according to the will of the gypsy Esmeralda”, the current champion raised the avenue.

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“Seeing the Empress making the stands sing, jump and follow the school in the dragnet was the image of the night. The Empress created a carnival that has rarely been done in its history”, summarized journalist Luiz Gustavo Thomaz, a specialist in carnival parades and with long experience on the avenue and in samba school huts.

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Thomaz pointed out the Beija-Flor and Grande Rio parades as positive highlights. On the other hand, Salgueiro was evaluated as “the disappointment of the night”, while Porto da Pedra and Unidos da Tijuca were below the others.

The second night of performances, this Carnival Monday, will have, in order: Mocidade, Portela, Vila Isabel, Mangueira, Paraíso do Tuiuti and Viradouro.

Check out the highlights from the first day of Rio de Janeiro Special Group parades below.

Unidos do Porto da Pedra

Porto da Pedra battery was the first to raise the avenue on Carnival Sunday / Vitor Melo / Rio Carnaval

Porto da Pedra returned to the Special Group after ten seasons of absence. The school opened the first night of parades with a tribute to the Perpetual Lunar, a historical book written by the Spanish mathematician, astronomer and naturalist Jerónimo Cortés, originally published in 1594. The work, which gained new editions over the centuries, became a reference for agriculture, highlighting the behavior of insects and the influences of the moon on plantations and had a great influence on popular wisdom in the Brazilian Northeast.

On the avenue, the school impressed with the grandeur of the presentation, especially at the opening, but had serious problems concentrating with the last car. There were “holes” in the parade that, according to Thomaz, should take the school back to the access group, unless there are bigger problems with second-day schools.

Nilópolis Hummingbird

Beija-Flor spoke about the capital of Alagoas, with emphasis on the city’s carnival / David Normando / Rio Carnaval

Third biggest winner of Rio’s carnival, Beija-Flor went to the avenue in search of the 15th trophy telling the story of the capital of Alagoas, Maceió, with a dive into the city’s carnival. The central character of the plot is Rás Gonguila, a shoeshine boy born at the beginning of the 20th century and founder of the Cavaleiro dos Montes block, who made history in the city, taking to the streets for decades with great resistance.

The parade was the school’s first under the leadership of carnival artist João Vitor Araújo. The group had a very beautiful presentation, and the plot was well developed. However, there were problems with the evolution of some members and they had to run. Samba also didn’t make enough money on the avenue.

Salgueiro Academics

Salgueiro Parade paid homage to the Yanomami / David Normando / Rio Carnaval

“The Disappointment of the Night”. Named as one of the favorites by specialized critics before carnival, Acadêmicos do Salgueiro presented a plot that pays homage to the Yanomami indigenous people, talking about their mythologies, and raised an alert in defense of the Amazon. However, according to Luiz Gustavo Thomaz, the presentation was below expectations.

“It’s a very strong plot, of message, of narrative. The carnivalesque [Edson Pereira] He’s very good at car plastics and images, but he often doesn’t have much to say. In a plot like this you need to send a very clear message. The plot even had its critical part, but it developed in a bad way”, said Thomaz.

Big River

An 8-meter-high LED jaguar was one of the highlights of the Grande Rio parade / David Normando / Rio Carnaval

The indigenous theme was also present in the Grande Rio parade, which in 2022 was champion for the first time. The school presented the plot “Our destiny is to be a jaguar”. The animal is considered powerful and a divine symbol according to Tupinambá mythology. The presentation sought to show the representations of felines in Brazilian culture in different ways.

The school went very well, with emphasis on allegories and fantasies. The samba and the drums were a hit on the avenue. The plot has some subjectivities, and it is not possible to predict how it will be evaluated, but the school can dream about the title, also depending on the second presentations.

Unidos da Tijuca

Unidos da Tijuca took to the avenue a story about the history and culture of Portugal / David Normando / Rio Carnaval

Unidos da Tijuca decided to tell the fables of Portugal with the plot “Contos de Fados”. The school presented facts, legends and mysteries about the formation of the country and the centuries that followed. The time of slavery was not forgotten: “Portugal of the glories that reveal the past, to the monster that bled enslaved people”, sang the school’s samba, which won the title of the Rio carnival for the last time in 2014.

For Thomaz, Unidos da Tijuca presented a “square and dated” plot and had a weak front commission. It was a problematic and “sleepy” parade, and it would have had problems avoiding relegation if it weren’t for Porto da Pedra’s problems.

Empress Leopoldinense

Carnival artist Leandro Vieira and drum queen Maria Mariá celebrate the beautiful performance of the Imperatriz in Sapucaí / David Normando / Rio Carnaval

Champion of the Special Group in 2023 with a story about Lampião, Imperatriz Leopoldinense closed the first night of parades with more references to northeastern culture. The plot “With luck turned to the moon according to the testament of the gypsy Esmeralda” was based on a cordel written more than a century ago by the Paraíba poet Leandro Gomes de Barros. The original text talks about a gypsy who left a will that became a true luck manual.

The school had a parade that was almost flawless. The samba was exciting, the drums did very well and the set worked. Two floats had lighting problems and this could cause the school to lose a few tenths in the judges’ evaluation, but, overall, it did very well.

Editing: Geisa Marques


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