Argentina’s renowned Teatro Colón reopens

‘World’s finest opera house’ raises curtain

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The world-famous Teatro Colón in Argentina has reopened. Famed for its superb acoustics and held to be one of the world’s greatest opera houses, the 2,478 seat building has been closed for the best part of four years for restoration.

In an evening of music and dance on Monday, tied in with the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of Argentine revolutions against Spanish rule, the new look of the 102-year-old opera house was revealed. The evening's programme, watched by a full house inside and, via large screens, by crowds outside, included excerpts from Puccini’s La bohème and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

The facelift began in 2006, cost £60m to complete and ran over budget and over time. Air-conditioning was installed and the marble staircase restored, among other renovations. The trickiest part of the project was preserving the auditorium's fine acoustics.

‘Each time new curtains, seats or carpets were installed in the main hall, the sound had to be tested to ensure it was protected,’ says project manager Andrés Schulman to Bloomberg News.

Modelled on La Scala, Milan, over the years the Teatro Colón has welcomed the world’s greatest conductors, singers and ballet dancers, from Arturo Toscanini to Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti to Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky.

‘We have recovered our country’s cultural icon,’ says Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri to Reuters. ‘The Colón is reopening with all its splendour.’

Rebecca Franks

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