I’ve been looking forward to a performance at Teatro Colón, one of the world’s most beautiful and famous opera houses. I missed prime season for ballet, opera, and symphony but have tickets for two drastically different off-season performances – Breve Sueño and ATOS Trio.
Breve Sueño (Short Dream) was performed for a small audience in Theater Colón’s basement theatre. It’s one of several “new work” performances commissioned by the Center for Experimentation Teatro Colón (CETC).
The performance, Short Sleep, is described as a “diptych made up of the work – Beyond – by composer Patricia Martínez in collaboration with choreographer Mélanie Alfie“. The interesting avant-garde piece included modern dance with theater, singing, and percussion accompaniment. The production is difficult to describe, but I enjoyed it. Many in the small crowd of about 200 were friends of the performers, composer, and choreographer. The unusual performance was a treat.
ATOS Trio Mozarteum Argentino
Mozarteum Argentino, a private non-profit musical institution in Argentina, organizes special performances at Teatro Colón. They provide scholarships to some of Argentina’s most talented musicians. Germany’s ATOS Trio was magnificent! The Argentine audience loved them and they received a well-deserved standing ovation.
ATOS Trio has only been playing together for a few years, but they’ve won many awards. Some members of the group have played at Carnegie Hall. This is their second appearance at Teatro Colón. Last night they played trios from Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Dvořák. The group consists of Annette von Hehn – violin, Stefan Heinemeyer – cello, and Thomas Hoppe – piano.
Teatro Colón History
Teatro Colón opened in May 1908 with a performance of Verdi’s Aida. The theater became one of the world’s premiere opera centers. Over the years Teatro Colón hosted many notable composers, performers, and conductors, including French mezzo-soprano Jane Bathori, Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini, Italian tenors Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti, Greek soprano Maria Callas, and Argentine Tango bandoneon maestro Astor Piazzolla.
Renovation 2005 – 2010
Beginning in 2005 the Colón went through four years of extensive renovation. The theater reopened on May 25, 2010, the 200th anniversary of Argentina’s May Revolution and the country’s split from Spain.
The renovated Colón was to reopen two years earlier on May 25th, 2008, the 100th anniversary of the theater’s original opening. Renovations took twice as long to finish and cost four times more than expected.
Teatro Colón’s history is dramatic. The original opening in 1908 was almost twenty years after construction began in 1889. A series of tragedies complicated and delayed the premier opening.
The project director, Italian architect Francesco Tamburini, died soon after construction began. His friend and associate, architect Vittorio Meano, took over. Shortly after, Meano was murdered in a love triangle quarrel. Then, a third Italian architect, Angelo Ferrari, took on the grand project. Ferrari was assassinated and followed the other two men to the grave!
After the three dramatic deaths, a Belgian architect, Julio Dormal, finished the project. Dormal also managed construction of other grand Buenos Aires buildings, including the Confiteria Richmond on Florida Street.
Perfect acoustics are one of Teatro Colón’s main attractions. The sound “reaches every audience member perfectly – no matter where you are sitting”. The beautiful ceiling frescoes surrounding the stage are not the originals which were damaged by moisture in the 1930s. Argentine Muralist Raúl Soldi repainted the frescoes in 1966. Soldi’s work is also found on the ceiling of the huge Galerias Pacifico shopping center.
The concerts at Teatro Colón will remain fond memories of Buenos Aires. It will be exciting to be here for the 2015 Día de la Revolución de Mayo celebration. This national holiday in Argentina is always celebrated on May 25th, regardless of the day of the week. It honors the First Independent Government in Buenos Aires formed on May 25, 1810 after a small revolution took place.
“The May Revolution wasn’t so much a revolution but more a series of political and social events in Buenos Aires. During the early part of the nineteenth century those events led to the first local government not designated by the Spanish Crown in the region known as the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, which contained the present-day nations of Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay.”