The Teatro Colón is one of the best known thanks to its exceptional acoustic conditions, its important architectural legacy and its prestigious history. These characteristics make it one of the most important theaters in the world. But do you want to know in detail why the Teatro Colón is so important? Here, we will tell you about its history.
The architecture of the Teatro Colón
It is an eclectic style building, dating from the beginning of the 20th century, with a total area of 8,202 m², 5,006 m² of which belong to the central building and the remaining 3,196 m² belong to rooms in the underground level in the Arturo Toscanini passageway. At the beginning, the building had a total of 37,884 m² of construction, but after several extensions by the architect Mario Roberto Álvarez, it reached a total of 58,000 m².
The main hall of the theater has a horseshoe shape and this is typical of the classical theaters in Italy and France. The main hall has an exceptional height of 28 meters, surrounded by balconies up to the third floor. It has a capacity of 2,478 seats, but there is also extra space for about 500 people standing to see the shows.
In addition, it has a dome of about 318 m², which initially had paintings by Marcel Jambon, but they deteriorated over the years, and in 1960 it was decided to restore it. This work was commissioned to the artist Raul Soldi, who completed his work in 1966.
The Teatro Colón stage has a height of 48 meters, on an area of 35.25 meters wide and 34.50 meters deep. It has a rotating disc of 20.30 meters in diameter, which can be electrically operated and can rotate in any direction. This is ideal when changing scenes quickly. In order to improve and facilitate the process of scenery and scene changes, there was an improvement in 1988, where some work was done to modernize the stage in the grids.
Regarding the orchestra pit, it has a capacity for 120 musicians; it also has special sound reflection curves and a resonance chamber that, along with the good architectural proportions of the hall and its quality materials, have allowed the development of an acoustics that is recognized worldwide as one of the most perfect ones. It is precisely here where the importance of the Teatro Colón begins, as architecturally the theater is a masterpiece.
History of the Teatro Colón
It is a building with an important historical value, as it has more than 100 years of history. After 20 years under construction, it was inaugurated in 1908, with the opera Aida by Giuseppe Verdi.
Initially, it was a project of the architect Francesco Tamburini, who died in 1891, so the project continued with the architect Victor Meano, who introduced some modifications, but only until 1894 because the construction was stagnated due to financial problems. It was after Meano’s death when in 1904 the Argentine government commissioned the work to the Belgian Jules Dormal, who introduced other modifications at the structural level, reflecting in essence a French style in the finish.
Although the building was not yet fully finished, the curious thing is that it had its first performance in 1908 by the Gran Compañía Lírica Italiana in the main hall of the Teatro Colón.
The cultural legacy of the Teatro Colón
At the beginning, the theater hired foreign companies for its seasons, but as of 1925, it was no longer necessary, since it had its own Orchestra, Ballet and Chorus; as well as its own production workshops. So, in 1930 the Teatro Colón could carry out its own seasons financed by the city.
Thus, it was in 1930 that the Teatro Colón became a seasonal theater or stagione. In fact, in the course of its more than 110 years of history, every renowned artist has stepped on its stage. So, it is not surprising that renowned artists such as Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas, Claudia Muzio, Régine Crespin, Plácido Domingo, Birgit Nilsson and many others have performed there.
In addition, it is common for composers to go to the Teatro Colón in order to conduct or supervise the premieres of their own works. This is a tradition started by Richard Strauss, Camille Saint-Saëns, Pietro Mascagni and Ottorino Respighi.
Many first-rate maestros, stage and choral conductors and numerous instrumental soloists and symphony orchestras have worked at the Teatro Colón, achieving great artistic goals and providing unforgettable evenings for its audiences. Shortly after its 100th anniversary, in 2010 the Teatro Colón was restored, maintaining its original construction and its hierarchy. This makes this theater the cultural pride of Argentina. It is also an exceptional benchmark worldwide for dance, opera and academic music.