Teatro Colón | Music | DW | 25.09.2012
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Teatro Colón

The Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires has a Wagner tradition stretching back nearly 100 years. In 1922, the "Ring" cycle was performed in its entirety for the first time in this legendary hall.

Teatro Colón. Photo: Cecilia Scalisi

Teatro Colón außen

Occupying around 58,000 square meters (625,000 square feet), the Teatro Colón is the largest opera house in Latin America and one of the biggest in the world. It was built by architects Francisco Tamburini, Victor Meano and Jules Dormal between 1889 and 1908 in an eclectic style that includes Italian Renaissance and French Baroque elements. The venue was named after the explorer and discoverer Christopher Columbus.

The legendary Teatro Colón stage

The legendary Teatro Colón stage

From 2006 to 2010, the building was completely renovated and updated with the latest technology. The main performance hall offers seating for 2,500 guests, spread across six tiers of seating. Teatro Colón is famous for outstanding acoustics and is the home of two orchestras: the Orquesta estable del Teatro Colón and the Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires. Other regular performers include a youth orchestra, a ballet troupe, a choir, a children's choir and a host of singers and extras. Every year, Teatro Colón is the backdrop to around 180 performances.

In over a century of shows, countless stars from the opera world have performed at the site, including world-famous conductors like Richard Strauss, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, Erich Kleiber and Sir Simon Rattle. The list of singers that have been center stage is equally spectacular: Birgit Nilsson, Renata Tebaldi, Maria Callas, Montserrat Caballe, Waltraud Meier, Cecilia Bartoli, Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, Alfredo Kraus, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras have all earned thunderous applause from within Teatro Colón’s walls.

Teatro Colón's lush interior

Teatro Colón's lush interior

In the early days of the concert hall, performances were divided into three-month periods, each dedicated to a specific repertoire. Along with Italian, French, and Russian seasons, there was also one for German music, from which Richard Wagner's work commanded particular attention. The first complete performance of the "Ring" cycle directed by Felix Weingartner in 1922 has passed into legend. Ninety years later, a shortened version will have its premiere in the same legendary hall.

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