Copacabana Palace Turns 90

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In 1923, who could have imagined Copacabana would become the most famous beach in the world. At the time, it boasted a few houses and many sand-covered tracts of land, and was no rival for Flamengo, the city’s most popular beach. The Copacabana Palace, which turns 90 on August 13, played a fundamental role in introducing the beach and the borough to the city's residents and to the world.

To celebrate this amazing journey, the Copa, part of Brazil’s historical and sentimental heritage, has planned an extensive schedule of events, including a series of shows at the Bar do Copa, a series of lectures to be given at public schools, special dinners with international chefs and a big party, planned for September 4. 

The celebrations started on July 18 with a series of shows by musician, producer and director Claudio Botelho, with classics from the man that possibly best personifies the glamor of the 1920s, Cole Porter. In his show “Cole Porter e meus musicais de estimação” (Cole Porter and my Favorite Musicals”, Claudio sings while accompanied by a piano, guitar and wind instruments.  Claudio performed in the last show held in the Golden Room 20 years ago, the musical “De rosto colado” (Cheek to Cheek). Other great names have also performed in the Golden Room, such as Marlene Dietrich, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.

These stories and others involving personalities such as Orson Welles, who threw furniture out of his room window after quarrelling with his girlfriend, and Washington Luís, the president who was shot by his lover, will be told by historian Milton Teixeira in lectures he will give to approximately 45 high school students aged 14 to 17 at the three public schools nearest the hotel.

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On August 5, the Copa welcomed teenagers from Roma Municipal School, at 3:00 pm. On the 14th, at 10:00 am, it received guests from Infante Dom Henrique Municipal School. On September 9, the Pedro Álvares Cabral State School will send its students at 3:30 pm. A talk and training session are also planned for children of employees of the same age group, for a date to be set.

The restaurants have also joined in the celebrations. Starting August 1, the Pérgula began serving dishes selected from some of the hotel’s old menus. From the memorable Bife de Ouro, which used to boast the highest concentration of politicians and businessmen per square foot during the years when Rio was the capital of the Republic, and which was closed in 1994, come traditional recipes such as giant prawn cocktail with rosé sauce, steak Diane with sautéed potatoes and braised artichokes, and poached haddock with beurre noir and pommes dauphine. From room service menus such classics as profiteroles, omelet surprise (sponge cake filled with ice cream and Italian meringue) and charlotte were brought back.

The party set to wrap up the festivities will be held on the 4th of September, in the Front, Nobre and Golden Rooms. The area will be decorated to resemble a large cabaret, in black, white and gold, conjuring the atmosphere of the time when the Copacabana Palace was inaugurated. As well as cocktail-style service, there will be gastronomic stations prepared by internationally-renowned chefs from the Orient-Express group of hotels, which manages the Copa.

“We have planned events over the course of several months to involve our guests as well as our clients and Cariocas (Rio residents). We want everyone to be part of our celebration”, says the General Manger of the Copacabana Palace, Andrea Natal.