‘Operation Madonna’: Rio Prepares for Singer’s Spectacular Free Concert in Copacabana

May 2, 2024
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Copacabana Beach in Rio will host Madonna's biggest show ever. Photo: People

Madonna’s highly anticipated free concert on Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Copacabana Beach has stirred up excitement in the neighborhood, with over a million fans expected to attend.

“Welcome, Queen,” read posters near the massive stage erected on the Brazilian beach, where Madonna will stage the grand finale of her “Celebration Tour” on Saturday.

The 65-year-old American singer arrived in the coastal city on Monday after completing over 80 shows in Europe, the United States, and Mexico. This marks her only stop in South America.

Accompanied by three planes and 270 tons of equipment, according to her production company, Madonna has taken up residence at the luxurious Belmond Copacabana Palace hotel. The hotel, one of Brazil’s most iconic, is connected to the stage by a suspended catwalk where dozens of fans gathered this week, hoping to catch a glimpse of the pop star.

The “Madonna Effect” at Copacabana Palace

While Copacabana Palace is renowned for its luxury and steep prices, the ‘Madonna effect’ has intensified the cost of reservations. During the week of the historic show, reservations at the Copacabana Palace have soared to as high as R$11,000 (around US$2,200), well above the usual rates. However, reservations for the weekend of the show, March 3rd and 4th, are already fully booked.

But even the wealthiest fan will find it difficult to get close to the pop star. Security has been reinforced, and not even in the famous Copacabana Palace’s pool does Madonna have a chance to be seen. The sixth floor, where the presidential suite is located, boasts a private pool known as the Black Pool, rendering the shared leisure area unnecessary for the artist.

Beyond the hotel, the mayor’s office has initiated an operation equivalent to the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Copacabana, one of the most famous in the world, which typically draws around one million people.

“Operation Madonna” will deploy some 4,500 agents, utilizing drones and facial recognition cameras, with police patrols stationed on almost every street corner in the neighborhood.

The Biggest Dance Floor

With free admission, organizers anticipate Madonna’s concert to create the “world’s biggest dance floor,” potentially drawing up to 1.5 million people — a figure previously achieved only by the Rolling Stones on the same beach in 2006.

Madonna’s fourth performance in Rio is expected to contribute approximately R$293 million (US$57 million) to the local economy, a revenue estimated to be 30 times higher than the city authorities’ investment, according to the mayor’s office.

Around 150,000 foreigners are expected to flood the city, with most hotels already fully booked.

“This will undoubtedly be one of Rio’s biggest international events. It will boost our economy and attract tourists from Brazil, Latin America, and all over the world,” said the city’s Tourism Secretary Daniela Maia.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.

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