Monday, April 14, 2008

Evolution and a Singer in Rio

It has become a (good) habit of mine to go downtown every Saturday. There are plenty of reasons: museums, churches, restaurants, antiquarians, traditional Portuguese desserts (your sweet tooth's got to be ready for these, though!) at Casa Cavé, the perfect draft beer at the centenarian Bar Luiz, Art Déco buildings, and rodas de samba. Oh, I'm forgetting the promise of increased security all around...This past weekend a friend and I saw the Darwin exhibition at the splendid Museu Histórico Nacional. I've been reading a lot about Charles Darwin and his travels, which brought him to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, and Alfred Russel Wallace, for whom the Wallace Line and a lunar crater are named. Apparently, being quite content to leave all the credit and glory surrounding the evolutionary theory to his contemporary, Wallace is commemorated in other sciences. At least, Wallace's bones are resting in peace, unlike Darwin's, which must have turned a few times at Westminster Abbey recently. I'm talking about Florida's new science teaching standards and the controversy surrounding the theory of evolution in our beloved United States of America. I remind you that this is going on in the most scientifically-advanced country in the world in 2008, NOT in some backward nation, and NOT in the Dark Ages of mankind.

Anyway, we finally get to the best part of my weekend. Friday evening (weekends DO start with TGIF, right?) I went to a recital at Sala Cecilia Meireles, a temple of classical music in Rio. The program, mind you, were popular serenades from the 1930s and 40s, the kind that were (and perhaps still are in small towns in the interior) performed below a woman's window. Voice and guitar, no more. You don't need anything else when the voice and interpretation belong to Marcos Sacramento and the guitarist is his "partner-in-crime," Luis Flavio Alcofra. Where does this concert tie in with my musings on evolution and the state of things in our country? It's simply that I rejoice in the thought that at least some members of our species have evolved to the point where they're able to really contribute to the happiness of others. That some people are able to write such great songs and others to sing them with so much talent and sensitivity. This was for sure one of the best shows of my life! And I, like Charles Darwin, am glad that I came to Rio for a while.

By the way, this was part of a series that will culminate with a concert by Italian jazz pianist Stefano Bollani in December. Can't wait!


Blogger Michael D. Barton, FCD said...

Looking at your picture, is there a Darwin exhibit in Rio?

April 15, 2008 9:16 AM  
Blogger Sheila Thomson said...

It's the one I saw last Saturday, but the last day was Sunday.

April 15, 2008 12:36 PM  
Blogger Michael D. Barton, FCD said...

Do you know if it was a version of the Darwin exhibit which is touring through North America, curated by Niles Eldredge, or if it is entirely different?

April 15, 2008 12:40 PM  

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