Overlooking the Plaza Lavalle in the heart of Buenos Aires stands the recently refurbished magnificent Teatro Colón. This historic building has an eclectic style, typical of the beginning of the 20th century. Today it is home to the opera, ballet, and philharmonic concert performances and is a major tourist attraction.
The main hall, in the shape of a horseshoe, fulfils the most exacting standards of the Italian and French classic theatre. It has private boxes up to the third floor. The horseshoe auditorium can hold up to 2,478 people seated, but the shows can also be attended by 500 people standing at the rear. Its dome used to have paintings by Marcel Jambon, but they were damaged in the 1930s and the repainting of the dome was completed by the Argentinian painter Raúl Soldi.
The orchestra pit can hold up to 120 musicians. It has been built with a resonance chamber and special curves for the reflection of sound. These conditions, together with the architectural proportions of the hall and the quality of the materials used, give the Teatro Colón exceptional acoustics, globally acknowledged among the most perfect 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 May 25, 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. In 1989, the Teatro Colón was declared a National Historical Monument and this is a “must see” step back in time for any first-time visitor to Buenos Aires.
After this period of huge international success, the theatre’s decline became clear and plans were made for extensive 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. It re-opened during Argentina‘s Bicentennial year on May 24, 2010 as a part of the country’s Bicentennial celebrations. The exquisite workmanship and skilled craftsmanship have fully restored this historic edifice to its former splendour.