Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colón gets "a perfect facelift"
8 June 2010, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Report by Karyl Charna Lynn
Festivities were in full swing for the 24 May reopening of the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires’s legendary opera house, which was the centerpiece of Argentina’s 5-day non-stop party for the Bicentennial of the Revolution.
A glamorous opening night saw the city’s elite flocking to the theatre, but with millions of people celebrating in the streets around the opera house, the mayor of Buenos Aires wisely also offered entertainment for the masses.
An expertly prepared and executed a documentary sound-and-light show on the history of the Colón, including operatic excepts and projected images of famous artists (e.g. Pavarotti) who performed there, kept the crowd entertained.
The gala programme inside, which included Act III of Swan Lake and Act II of La bohème was then projected on giant screens outside the opera house and broadcast on national television for all Argentines to experience.
Like a perfect facelift, the Colón has been meticulously restored to its original beauty, reclaiming its place among the world’s greatest opera houses. The red, ivory, and gold six-tiered auditorium, soaring in sparkling splendour, has retained its impeccable acoustics, and the porteños (as the locals are known), along with the entire opera world breathed a sigh of relief. After years of financial stalling and political wrangling, one of the world’s great theatres is back on its feet.
As one porteño confided, “we feared the Colón would be lost forever”, but today, she stands in all her finery, reinvigorated and beautifully groomed to face audiences for generations to come.
Karyl Charna Lynn’s complete report follows in the September/October issue of Opera Now.