Perhaps it would be enough to say this theater is one of the best opera houses in the world, but fortunately has so much more to be remarked. If you´re planning a visit, don´t hesitate: know the ten reasons why Teatro Colón is a must.
Even from far it's a show. Set in the ever busy Avenida 9 de Julio, Teatro Colon appears in the distance, a mirage. How can a building of so delicate elegance remain unruffled amidst the urban chaos? Just some fog to look like its façade is simply a hologram ... However you approach and see with your own eyes that it’s real, splendid as the day of its inauguration, May 25, 1908.
Unless you go to see a show, you won´t be able to cross the stunning main entrance on Libertad Street. But just as magic is to enter the Tucumán Ride Carriages, where you can buy your pass for the tour. This entry used to be for the floats where the Buenos Aires elite came, and still remains vestiges of that golden era with the stone floors and vaulted ceilings. And this is just the beginning.
The first architect, the Italian Francesco Tamburini, died at age 44 before beginning construction. Second, the Italian Vittorio Meano, was killed at the same age, leaving the work in half. That particular match has raised some all kinds of theories about the curse of theater-until there were those who threatened to demolish it-. Fortunately, the Belgian Jules Dormal plucked up courage and, 20 years later, the construction was completed.
Symbol of Buenos Aires aristocracy attempt to imitate the European nobility, could be an extra room in the Palace of Versailles. Decorated chairs, stools, tables, chests, vases, pictures and mirrors the style of Louis XV, the Golden Hall was one of the VIP strongholds of Buenos Aires. Today, the hall is used to perform master classes, lectures, talks and chamber concerts, usually with free admission.
Igor Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas, Anna Pavlova, Daniel Barenboim, Martha Argerich, Julio Bocca, Eleonora Cassano, Paloma Herrera. These are just some of the great talents of opera, ballet and classical music that passed through the stage of Teatro Colón. Each of them left a mark as indelible as invisible, eternal.
Finally, you enter the main room. Everything is majestic and spectacular, but nothing grabs your attention more than its dome; 28 meters separate you from that masterpiece composed in a perfect circle. The representation of the theater as described by the famous Argentine artist Raul Soldi revolves around a brass chandelier with 700 bulbs which provide a formal but warm light. An image that will be recorded in your mind forever.
A musician tunes his violin, while another leaves his lectern. When the director enters, all is silence until finally the show begins... But no, not a concert, but "only" a morning rehearsal, and you have the luck to be there to listen! The only difference is that the members of the orchestra are dressed in everyday clothing. Otherwise (music, concentration, noise) you could be witnessing the gala premiere. With the almost empty room, there´s no doubt you're witnessing a unique moment.
It´s not only the horseshoe shape of the room, but mostly about how the use of the materials is thought to enhance the sound. Of the seven levels of the room, in the lower three, soft and absorbent as wood and fabric elements predominate. However, from the fourth level to ceiling materials are hard, like marble and bronze. The combination of extremes allows sound to be absorbed on the one hand and on the other reberbs. The result: one of the five best acoustics in the world, along with La Scala in Milan and the Operas of Vienna, Dresden and Paris.
There are small details that make up the mystique of the theater. Did you know that sometimes a musician hide inside the chandelier, to create "sound effects" from the high? Or that the building has underground costume, shoemaking, hairdressing, tailoring and upholstery workshops? And such a paltry thing as lovely, if you enter from the foyer (main hall) and take the stairs on the left to take you to the balcony boxes and high balconies, count ten steps and see towards the marble railing, can you find the shape of two shells? They are fossils that were embedded in the marble brought from the coast of Portugal.
Lost in Teatro Colón also means lose track of time and stay suspended in an eternal moment ... as if you walked into a parallel universe where there is the most perfect art. Back in the real world it´s very possible you come across Plaza Colon with its monument stands and giant piano keys. And if suddenly you feel a melody floating in the air, don´t worry: you turned not crazy, it's the sound installation of the park. Music must go on!
PLAN YOUR VISIT TO TEATRO COLÓN
Guided tours begin every 15 minutes, in English and Spanish, and last around 50 minutes. They take place daily from 9 am to 5 pm. If there´re concerts at 11 am, visits are suspended from 10 am to 1.30 pm; if there´re concerts at 5 pm, the last tour begins at 3 pm.
Buy your ticket by the main entrance at Tucumán Street 1171. General Ticket ARS 250; Argentine residents ARS 90; students and retired people ARS 45.
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