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article imageReview: Colón Theatre — A great opera-house of nearly perfect acoustics Special

By Igor I. Solar     Jun 8, 2014 in Travel
Buenos Aires - The Teatro Colón (Columbus Theatre) of Buenos Aires is one of the biggest and is among the best opera houses in the world both for its superb acoustic characteristics and its remarkable architectural value.
The building occupies a full city block with an area of 8,200 square meters and is located in downtown Buenos Aires facing “Avenida 9 de Julio”, considered the widest avenue in the world.
Construction of the building began in late 1889 and it was to be completed within 30 months, in October 1892, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America (hence the name “Teatro Colón”). Multiple difficulties complicated the process and construction took almost 20 years. At least three chief architects were responsible for the design and supervision of the works which had many changes during the long construction period. The theatre was inaugurated on May 25, 1908, with the performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Aida”.
Theatre Colón  Buenos Aires. View from  9 de Julio  Avenue. The main entrance to the theatre is in ...
Theatre Colón, Buenos Aires. View from "9 de Julio" Avenue. The main entrance to the theatre is in the opposite side, on Libertad Street.
Thetre Colón of Buenos Aires. Lateral view from Viamonte Street.
Thetre Colón of Buenos Aires. Lateral view from Viamonte Street.
The building is enormous, solemn-looking, with arched windows and many balconies. It has plenty of trimmings and decorations, typical of an old European opera house. The architectonic style, however, is virtually undefined. The Italian architect Vittorio Meano, the second architect in charge of completing the project, described it as follows: "The genre we have adopted for the Colón Theatre cannot be called a style; it has characteristics of the Italian Renaissance, the good planning and solidity of German architecture, and the decorative charm and variety of French architecture."
Stained glass ceiling in the Foyer of Theatre Colón of Buenos Aires.
Stained glass ceiling in the Foyer of Theatre Colón of Buenos Aires.
Large stained glass window in the Golden Hall  second floor of the Colón Theatre.
Large stained glass window in the Golden Hall, second floor of the Colón Theatre.
The main concert hall is the second largest performing arts theater in the southern hemisphere after the Sydney Opera House in Australia. It is richly decorated in gold and red and profuse lighting with 105 bronze sconces and lampshades of various designs. The ceiling has paintings with musical motifs. In the center there is a large chandelier, 7 meters in diameter with 753 bulbs. The auditorium can accommodate almost 2,500 spectators with 632 seats in the stalls and the remainder distributed in boxes and balconies in seven levels.
Between 2007 and 2010, the venerable theater was closed for renovations. On May 24, 2010, it was reopened with the attendance of artists and politicians, and the staging of the opera “La Bohème” of Giacomo Puccini.
Detail of statues on top of columns in The Gallery of Theatre Colón.
Detail of statues on top of columns in The Gallery of Theatre Colón.
Lateral room of the Golden Hall  second Floor of Theatre Colón.
Lateral room of the Golden Hall, second Floor of Theatre Colón.
According to National Geographic Magazine, for its exceptional acoustics and architectural beauty, the Teatro Colón is in third place among the world’s best opera houses after La Scala of Milan and Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. Throughout its 106-year history, audiences to the theater Colón have seen performances by the leading international stars of music and opera including Igor Stravinsky, Arturo Toscanini, Herbert von Karajan, Zubin Mehta, Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras, Ben Heppner and many more. In 1989, Teatro Colón was declared a National Historic Landmark.
The impressive Golden Hall is used for lectures  concerts and exhibitions. There are three large cha...
The impressive Golden Hall is used for lectures, concerts and exhibitions. There are three large chandeliers, but the mirrors at each end repeat infinitely the lights, the furniture, the whole image of the hall.
The main concert hall has boxes in seven levels and it is richly decorated in gold and red and illum...
The main concert hall has boxes in seven levels and it is richly decorated in gold and red and illuminated with 105 bronze sconces and lampshades of various designs.
The ceiling of the Auditorium has paintings with musical motifs. In its center there is a large chan...
The ceiling of the Auditorium has paintings with musical motifs. In its center there is a large chandelier, 7 meters in diameter with 753 bulbs.
On the main stage of the theatre  the scenography for Rossini s  The Barber of Seville  is ready for...
On the main stage of the theatre, the scenography for Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" is ready for the evening's performance.
A visit to the magnificent Teatro Colón is highly recommended in any trip to the capital of Argentina. The theater can be visited any day of the year between 9:00 and 17:00 hrs. (except January 1, May 1, and December 25). Tours last approximately one hour and are offered in Spanish and English. Also, though less frequently, in Portuguese and French.
Of course, even more advisable is to visit the theater while attending any of the musical performances. Information on the program of concerts and opera for the 2014 Season can be found here.
More about Theatre Colon, opera house, Buenos aires, Argentina
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