After having seen a performance back in 1999, I feel it is time to re-visit the Teatro Colón again, the world-famous opera house of Buenos Aires. Even though prominently located on the Avenida 9 de Julio, the main boulevard of the Argentinian capital, the main entrance is on the other side, at the Libertad Street. I am lucky: after a long wait in line for a tour ticket, the next tour starts in a couple of minutes, and before I know it, I listen to the melodious Spanish of the guide. He passionately tells us about the turbulent early history of the building: Tamburini, the original architect, died, his assistant Meano took over, but was killed when he discovered his wife in bed with someone else. Belgian architect Dormal oversaw the last part of the construction until its completion in 1908.
The background details about the construction give a human touch to a building that soon feels overwhelming in its grandeur, its high ceilings, the lush decorative elements, the enormous stained glass windows through which the summer light filters down. The style of the Teatro Colón is eclectic: elements of various styles and influences of several European countries can be seen in its architecture. Materials were taken from Argentina, but inevitably also from Europe. We walk the red carpet on the wide, marble stairs as if we had just entered the building through the main entrance behind us. One floor up, we come to the Busts Hall: busts of famous composers like Mozart, Puccini, Verdi and others look down on us, below a magnificent set of stained glass window ceilings. A delicate marble sculpture of two figures stands in the middle of this impressive hall.
The guide takes us to the Golden Hall, where the abundance of gold, the intricate decorative elements and the chandeliers leave an impression of luxury, further enhanced by the enormous mirrors which make it look much bigger than it actually is. Small performances are held here. It is time to head to the main hall. We sit on one of the posh seats while the guide tells us about the hidden floor next to the painted ceiling, where musicians can play, about the galleries above the orchestra pit, one for the president and the other for the mayor: made in such a way that the audience can well see the presence of these political figures. When the tour is over, I walk around the building, admire the building and its details from all sides, and when I walk away, decide that I will attend a performance in this grand venue next time I am in Buenos Aires.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Teatro Colón (Argentina). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Teatro Colón. Read more about this site.