Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires (Argentina)

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The Teatro Colón is an opera house in Buenos Aires, Argentina that is often considered among the finest opera houses in the world. The present opera house opened in 1908, replacing the original theater in the Plaza de Mayo. It later underwent renovations and reopened in 2010.

Teatro Colón

The Teatro Colón (Columbus Theater) is an opera house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that is often considered among the finest opera houses in the world. The present Colón replaced the original theater, which opened in 1857, now the National Bank of Argentina site.

First Teatro Colón

The first Teatro Colón, located in the Plaza de Mayo, was designed by Charles Pellegrini and proved to be a successful venue for over 30 years, with 2,500 seats with the inclusion of a separate gallery reserved only for people who were in mourning. The construction started in 1856 and was completed in 1857.

This theater was closed on September 13, 1888, to step aside for a new, improved building, which was opened twenty years later on Libertad Street, overlooking Plaza Lavalle. In that period, the 1890 crisis and its effects were the cause for the delay in the completion of the second theater.

Second Teatro Colón

The present Teatro Colón is bounded by the wide Avenida 9 de Julio (or Cerrito Street), Libertad Street (the main entrance), Arturo Toscanini Street, and Tucumán Street. It is in the heart of Buenos Aires, on a site once occupied by Ferrocarril Oeste's Plaza Parque station.

The cornerstone of the present Teatro Colón was laid in 1889 under the direction of architect Francesco Tamburini and his pupil, Vittorio Meano, who designed a theater in the Italian style on a scale and with amenities that matched those in Europe.

However, delays followed due to financial difficulties, arguments regarding the location, the death of Tamburini in 1891, the murder of Meano in 1904 and the death of Angelo Ferrari, an Italian businessman who was financing the new theater.

The building was finally completed in 1908 under the direction of the Belgian architect Julio Dormal who made some changes in the structure and left his mark on the French decoration style. The bas-reliefs and busts on the facade are the work of sculptor Luigi Trinchero.

After nearly twenty years of construction, on May 25, 1908, the Colón finally reopened its doors and wowed the crowds with Giuseppe Verdi's opera, Aida. Some parts of the building were still under construction, but the theater put on 14 operas and 54 functions that same year.

Given Argentina's political and economic circumstances, the Teatro Colón suffered considerably in recent years, but a slow recovery began.

Initially, the theater underwent massive phased interior and exterior remodeling while the house was still open. However, production activities ceased at the end of December 2006 to allow for a complete refurbishment.

A private concert to test the acoustics attended by employees, architects, and others involved in the renovation occurred on May 6, 2010.

The house was finally reopened with a gala concert and 3D animations on May 24, 2010, the eve of its 102nd birthday and the Argentina Bicentennial. Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and Act 2 of Puccini's La bohème were performed.