Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"They say if you come to Buenos Aires and you haven't danced the tango, they you haven't been to Buenos Aires!"  - Emilene Faria


Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after Greater São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent. The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the third-largest conurbation in Latin America, with a population of around thirteen million. By some measures, Buenos Aires is one of the 20 largest cities in the world. It is, along with Mexico City and São Paulo, one of the three Latin American cities considered an 'alpha city' by the study GaWC5. Argentina has the first best quality of life in Latin America. Buenos Aires' quality of life is ranked at 61st in the world, with its per capita income among the three highest in the region. It is the most visited city in South America (ahead of Rio de Janeiro) and the second most visited city across Latin America (behind Mexico City). It is also one of the most important, largest and most populous of South American capitals, often referred to as the Paris of South America. Buenos Aires is a top tourist destination, and is known for its European-style architecture and rich cultural life, with the highest concentration of theatres in the world. Buenos Aires will host the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics. People from Buenos Aires are referred to as porteños (people of the port). The city is the birthplace of the current pope, Francis (former Archbishop of Buenos Aires), and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands.

1. Teatro Colon

The Teatro Colón is the main opera house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world. The present Colón replaced an original theatre which opened in 1857. Towards the end of the century it became clear that a new theatre was needed and, after a 20-year process, the present theatre opened on 25 May 1908, with Giuseppe Verdi's Aïda. The Teatro Colón was visited by the foremost singers and opera companies of the time, who would sometimes go on to other cities including Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

After this period of huge international success, the theatre's decline became clear and plans were made for massive renovations. After an initial start of works to restore the landmark in 2005, the theatre was closed for refurbishment from October 2006 to May 2010.
The Teatro Colon, in the City of Buenos Aires, is considered one of the best theaters in the world. Acknowledged for its acoustics and the artistic value of its construction, it turned 100 years in 2008. It underwent a major renovation that took three years and $100-million to complete, and it reopened on 24 May 2010, with a programme for the 2010 season.

By the mid-1850s, with the flourishing of opera performed by touring companies, the need for a new theatre became obvious. In 1854 alone, 53 different operas were performed in the city. The first Teatro Colón building, overlooking Plaza de Mayo, was started in 1856 and opened on April 27, 1857, with Verdi's La traviata, just four years after its Italian premiere. The production starred Sofia Vera Lorini as Violetta and Enrico Tamberlik as Alfredo. The theatre was designed by Charles Pellegrini, and proved to be a successful venue for over 30 years, with 2,500 seats and the inclusion of a separate gallery reserved only for women.
Since Teatro Colon is one of the best known opera theaters in the world. Classical music and ballet are also well recognized by world specialists. You do not need to be an opera/ballet/classical music lover to visit this theater: there's lots to see if you take a tour. Camerinos, stages, shoe and cloth factories all inside this century old icon where all key artists have performed. Do not miss it! If you like arts, do go to any performance. The acoustic is fantastic, so you can seat at the top of the theater (paraiso or above) where tickets are dirt cheap.

Before the construction of the current Teatro Colón, opera performances were given in several theatres, of which the first Teatro Colón and the Teatro Opera were the most important. The principal company that performed at the Teatro Opera moved to the Teatro Colón in 1908. However, important companies also performed at the Teatro Politeama and the Teatro Coliseo which opened in 1907.
On Friday at noon Pablo Ramirez parade was held in the Golden Hall of the Teatro Colón. It is majestic place, the walls are incredibly decorated, lights and chandeliers eyes of all who visit the theater takes. The inspired opera Carmen in black and white as it could not be otherwise, designs left many of their guests amazed by the end. A round of applause for this amazing collection of Pablo Ramirez that made this unique, elegant and of such magnitude that it will be difficult to overcome parade.

The present theatre, the second with that name, opened on 25 May 1908, after twenty years under construction, and was inaugurated with Aida by the Italian company directed by Luigi Mancinelli and tenor Amadeo Bassi, soprano Lucia Crestani (as Aida). The second presentation was Thomas' Hamlet with the baritone Titta Ruffo During the inaugural season seventeen operas were performed with famous stars such as Ruffo, Feodor Chaliapin in Boito's Mefistofele, Antonio Paoli in Verdi's Otello.
The cornerstone of the present Teatro Colón was laid in 1889 under the direction of architect Francesco Tamburini and his pupil, Vittorio Meano, who designed a theatre in the Italian style on a scale and with amenities which matched those in Europe. However, delays followed due to financial difficulties, arguments regarding the location, the death of Tamburini in 1891, the murder of Meano in 1904 and the death of Angelo Ferrari, an Italian businessman who was the financing the new theatre.

The building was finally completed in 1908 under the direction of the Belgian architect Julio Dormal who made some changes in the structure and left his mark in the French style of the decoration. The bas-reliefs and busts on the facade are the work of sculptor Luigi Trinchero.
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and and Princess Letizia attend the Opening Ceremony of the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013.
The theatre is bounded by the wide 9 de Julio Avenue (technically Cerrito Street), Libertad Street (the main entrance), Arturo Toscanini Street, and Tucumán Street. It is in the heart of the city on a site once occupied by Ferrocarril Oeste's Plaza Parque station.

The auditorium is horseshoe-shaped, has 2,487 seats (slightly more than the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London), standing room for 1,000 and a stage which is 20 m wide, 15 m high and 20 m deep. The Colon's acoustics are considered to be so good as to place it in the top five performance venues in the world. Luciano Pavarotti held a similar opinion.
The theatre's opening on 25 May, the Día de la Patria in Argentina, featured a performance of Verdi's Aida and it quickly became a world-famous operatic venue rivaling La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in attracting most of the world's best opera singers and conductors. Ballet stars performed at the Colón alongside Argentine dancers and classical instrumentalists. The tragic 1971 aviation death of two of the best known of these, Norma Fontenla and José Neglia, was commemorated with a monument in neighbouring Lavalle Square.

With excellent acoustics and modern stage areas, the theatre's interior design features a rich scarlet and gold decor. The cupola contains frescoes painted in 1966 by the 20th-century artist Raúl Soldi during renovation work.
Some of the last performances immediately before closure of the theatre's building were Swan Lake on 30 September with the Ballet Estable del Teatro Colón and the Buenos Aires Philharmonic. and, on 28 October, the opera Boris Godunov was given featuring Orquesta Estable del Teatro Colón and the house chorus. The theatre's final performance before its closure for refurbishment works in 2005 was a concert on 1 November starring folklore singer Mercedes Sosa in performance with the Argentine National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pedro Ignacio Calderón.

While it was originally planned to reopen in time for the centenary on 25 May 2008, delays prevented this, and the house was finally reopened with a gala concert and 3D animations on 24 May 2010, the eve of its own 102nd birthday and the Argentina Bicentennial. Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and Act 2 of Puccini's La bohème were performed. A private concert to test the acoustics attended by employees, architects, and others involved in the renovation occurred on 6 May 2010.

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