On the northern side of the Eixo Monumental is the Teatro Nacional. Built in the form of an Aztec temple, it’s a marvellous, largely glass-covered pyramid set at an angle to let light into the lobby, where there are often good art exhibitions with futuristic and environmental themes. Inside are three halls: the Martins Pena, the Villa-Lobos (the largest, seating 1200) and the much smaller Alberto Nepomuceno. Most theatre productions are in Portuguese, but all three venues are also used for concerts – Brasília has a symphony orchestra, and popular musicians often play here as well. As the main city venue for ballet and dance, the theatre is always worth checking out; thanks to the presence of the government and diplomatic corps, you might luck out and catch an illustrious visitor like the Bolshoi.

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