Sublime Teatro Colón

If you too go gaga over art and architecture, prepare to fall in love! Teatro Colón is considered one of the finest theaters in the world but it had a rocky start. Due to several political and economic hiccups and the murder of its head architect, the Colón took almost twenty years to complete, finally opening in 1908 during Argentina’s (mostly foreign funded) Golden Age. Teatro Colón is an eclectic mix of French, Italian, and German design, which blend harmoniously. While the Colón’s facade is lovely the true design magnificence is found within.

Unfortunately for us, there were no concerts scheduled during our Buenos Aires visit ( 🙂 an excuse to plan another trip), but we were able to take a guided tour of this architectural masterpiece.

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Grand scale – Stepping inside, I felt a bit like Alice after the “Drink me” potion.

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Sumptuous stained glass ceilings

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Costumes on display

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Hall of Busts

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Tall as trees columns

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Who do you love – Cupid whispers to Venus

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Elaborate pink Portuguese marble lions guard the stairs.

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This stained glass depicts Penelope, the faithful wife of Odysseus and the sectioned sofa was for young couples courting with their chaperones sitting between them.

Salon Dorado – Golden Room

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Ornate window topping.

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No surface here escapes embellishments.

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Ceiling detail

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Massive antique gold gilt mirror

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I felt like we were in a French palace.

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As we stepped into the main concert hall, I do believe all in our group breathed out a collective, reverent, “WOW!!!”

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Painted curtain

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Famous composers honored around the central dome.

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The hall’s current ceiling painting  was completed in 1966 by Argentinian artist Raúl Soldi. The work is allegorical, representing the many aspects of theater. Soldi did not paint directly on the ceiling but on canvas that was later attached.

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The theater is known for its amazing acoustics.

 

Pavarotti  once said of the Colón, “Its acoustics are perfect! Imagine what this signifies for the singer: If one sings something bad, one notices immediately.”

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The acoustics are improved by the horseshoe shape of the theater and other design elements, such as the domed ceiling and the hollow space under the floor through which sounds from the orchestra pit naturally rise from the vents under the seats.

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Actually the best seats acoustically are in “heaven” (the top most row). They are the cheapest seats as well because they have a very poor, if not nonexistent, view of the stage. However, the sound quality at this level is so exalted the nickname heaven arose. With tickets to heaven you don’t have to worry about what you are wearing; we were told many students and travelers come in their jeans and sandals, take their seats, close their eyes, and float on the heavenly notes.

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These luxurious boxes are at an odd angle for viewing the stage but watching the show was secondary for these folks. The high society types who sat here back in the day were more interested in being seen than in seeing the ballet or opera; as the rest of the hall looked to the stage they couldn’t help but see who was on display in the boxes.

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Seating for the unseen – screens hid the widows in mourning. It was not seemly for them to be seen seeking distraction from their sorrows. In the photo below you can see the dark widows’ boxes – our guide said they are now used for storage.

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Comedy I’m guessing

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Side shot of Teatro Colón

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Front entrance – beautiful wrought iron

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My husband plotting our next move.

 

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