At last night’s Opening Ceremony, a samba musician called Paulinho da Viola sung the most beautiful version of Brazil’s national anthem – making it seem as delicate as patriotism itself.
But as wonderful as that was, you should be praying Brazil’s anthem gets played at the Games many more times, for two reasons:
1) Its intro, which spirals upwards, getting faster and faster, as if trying to force you to your feet. Brazil’s is one of the great, rambunctious, operatic anthems of South America. Its composer, Francisco Manuel da Silva, was so obsessed with Italian opera (he set up an academy for it in Rio) it’s no surprise he mimicked its style.
2) Because if it is played, Brazilians will carry on singing it long after the music’s been stopped, creating the most powerful, inspiring sound of the Games. They did it during the World Cup as the below recording shows, so why not at the Olympics too?
Is there any hope it’ll get an airing? Apparently so. Look out for Mayra Aguiar in the women’s -78kg judo category, which gets going around Aug. 11. She got bronze in London 2012 and will be seeking revenge here.