Buenos Aires Travel Planet

Buenos Aires visitor’s guide

Teatro Colón

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The Teatro Colón (Spanish for Columbus Theatre) is easily one of Buenos Aires’ most famous-and most beautiful-landmarks. It was opened on May 25th, 1908, after undergoing intense construction for 20 years. Verdi’s famous opera Aida was the first to play in this grand theatre, and it has continued to be home to many of the world’s best operas, with many of the world’s best performers.

The theatre wasn’t always in its current location. Like many grand landmarks in Buenos Aires, it had a prior self, a smaller version of what it is today. The first Teatro Colón was built in just one year, and opened in 1857. It sat over 2,500 guests, and successfully housed many fine operas for more than 30 years, during some of Argentina’s most prosperous times.

The present opera house has about the same number of seats, plus room for 1,000 standing. While construction took place over the course of 20 years, it certainly wasn’t 20 years of constant building. Just two years after the first stones were laid, the architect, Francesco Tamburini, who designed the Italian-style building died, followed by financial difficulties, various discussions and arguments, and later the murder of Tamburini’s pupil and the death of the main financer of the project. Needless to say, the building underwent its fair share of trials, but in 1908, was finally completed. The new architect, Belgian Julio Dormal, did take the opportunity to take ownership of the building a bit, adding a French touch.


Today’s theatre, which has stood for over 100 years now, is considered one of the top five opera houses in the world, measured for its acoustics and beauty. It is the second largest performing arts theatre in the southern hemisphere, with only the Sydney Opera House being larger. Just being inside the theatre is an experience; seeing an opera or other show there is unforgettable. The outside is beautiful, but the inside is nothing less than extraordinary, with its glamorous chandeliers hanging over the horseshoe-shaped auditorium.

For the past four years, however, the theatre has been closed for renovations and refurbishment. Finally, its reopening date is very near. The Teatro Colón is scheduled to reopen on May 25, 2010, marking the same date as its original opening date, just 102 years later. This day is also Argentina’s 200th Día de la Patría, the date that marks the May Revolution, when Argentina finally cut ties with Spain and became an independent nation.


Opera is not the only art to be performed at Teatro Colón, it is also home to ballets and concerts, including symphonies and orchestras from all over the world. The 2010 season is already well laid out, and has quite a diverse lineup. You can also check for other attractions in this Buenos Aires travel guide like the Cabildo of Buenos Aires.

The theatre has continued to produce shows during its nearly 4-year closure, holding them in many of the other theatres and venues in the city. But none can compare to the beauty and sound that the Teatro Colón brings. It will surely be an exciting event when the curtain finally rises again.

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