Things to Do in Buenos Aires: Teatro Colón Opera House

The historic Argentine theatre that reopened in May 2010 is one of the best in the world.

Jul 19, 2010
Nearly four years and US$100 million were spent renovating Buenos Aires' Teatro Colón.
Nearly four years and US$100 million were spent renovating Buenos Aires' Teatro Colón.
Photography Ministro Daniel Chain, Sergio Levit/Ministerio de Desarrollo Urbano, Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires

Just before its reopening on May 24, thousands crowded outside Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colón to watch a 3D film projection showing highlights of the theatre’s history on a side of the building. Such high anticipation is understandable after a nearly four-year, US$100 million renovation to one of the world’s best and most well-loved opera houses.

The second act of Puccini’s La Boheme and excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake were broadcast for thousands on a large outdoor screen, while 2,700 guests viewed the performances inside.

A symbol of prosperity in Argentina, Teatro Colón was built in 1908. Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Enrico Caruso loved to sing there, thanks to the theatre’s renowned natural acoustics. It’s also famous for its French stained glass and pink Italian marble staircases. More than 1,000 artisans worked on the improvements, which included restoring the theatre’s exterior, original floors and chandeliers as well as installing a natural air-conditioning system.

Gabriel Oliveri, director of marketing at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, says there is 100% more interest in the Colón after the theatre’s makeover. “Everybody is interested. The Colón opera house is a ‘must-see’ in Buenos Aires now,” he says. “People from all around the world are coming to visit the Colón, especially opera followers considering the Colón is one of the two best opera houses in the world—together with the Scala in Milan.”

Bringing such a gem back to life, while making sure to preserve the theatre’s legendary acoustics, is quite a task. To expedite the renovation, Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri and other government leaders created the Special Projects Unit, scheduling the reopening May 2010 to coincide with the city’s bicentennial celebration.

Contact the concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires (Telephone: 54 11/4321-1200) for ballet or opera tickets to Teatro Colón. Tours of the venue are tentatively scheduled to start in July.


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