Teatro Colón

By Roy Heale

Overlooking the Plaza Lavalle in the heart of Buenos Aires stands the recently refurbished magnificent Teatro Colón. This historic building has an eclectic style, typical of the beginning of the 20th century. Today it is home to the opera, ballet, and philharmonic concert performances and is a major tourist attraction.

The main hall, in the shape of a horseshoe, fulfils the most exacting standards of the Italian and French classic theatre. It has private boxes up to the third floor. The horseshoe auditorium can hold up to 2,478 people seated, but the shows can also be attended by 500 people standing at the rear. Its dome used to have paintings by Marcel Jambon, but they were damaged in the 1930s and the repainting of the dome was completed by the Argentinian painter Raúl Soldi.

Main Foyer

The orchestra pit can hold up to 120 musicians. It has been built with a resonance chamber and special curves for the reflection of sound. These conditions, together with the architectural proportions of the hall and the quality of the materials used, give the Teatro Colón exceptional acoustics, globally acknowledged among the most perfect in the world.

The present Colón replaced an original theatre which opened in 1857. Towards the end of the century it became clear that a new theatre was needed and, after a 20-year process, the present theatre opened on May 25, 1908, with Giuseppe Verdi’s Aïda. The Teatro Colón was visited by the foremost singers and opera companies of the time, who would sometimes go on to other cities including Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo.

Splendid Hallways

After this period of huge international success, the theatre’s decline became clear and plans were made for extensive renovations. After an initial start of works to restore the landmark in 2005, the theatre was closed for refurbishment from October 2006 to May 2010. It re-opened during Argentina‘s Bicentennial year on May 24, 2010 as a part of the country’s Bicentennial celebrations. The exquisite workmanship and skilled craftsmanship have fully restored this historic edifice to its former splendour.

Guided Tours of the Teatro Colón are available Monday to Sunday, including holidays, from 9:00AM to 5:00PM and last fifty minutes. Tours depart every fifteen minutes and are available in Spanish and English. On Mondays there is a 50% discount for seniors, pensioners, and university students (with ID). Tickets can be purchased by phone, or online with a credit card, or in the Teatro Colón’s box office. Performance schedules and ticket purchases are also available online or at the box office.

Historic Architecture

In 1989, the Teatro Colón was declared a National Historical Monument and this is a “must see” step back in time for any first-time visitor to Buenos Aires.

For More Information Visit: www.teatrocolon.org.ar