teatro colon

el teatro colon, buenos aires' opera house built in 1908, is considered acoustically to be one of the world's top 5 best concert venues. we had a chance to take a tour of this amazing structure, and learned that its eclectic style is the work of 3 architects from different european countries, each one succeeding the other after a series of deaths and even murder. 

workers were setting up for the production, el gran macabro, with a magnificent, yet disturbing set design.

the grand entrance staircase

our guide told us at one point early in its history, the building was even used as a carnival venue; it became so hot inside that workers climbed into the dome and packed it with ice. unfortunately, this treatment caused the plaster to crumble and the original decorated surface fell to the ground. it was repainted in recent decades by a local artist.

decoration above the stage

the towering levels of seating 

view from the mayor's box

exquisite attention to detail from the floor mosaics.........

....to the corinthian capitals 

i only wish we had a chance to attend a performance, as i was intrigued as to what this production would be like....

because from a closer look at the set design of this gigantic female figure - it's certain the performers would appear as mere playthings, within grasp of her fingers.......


  1. Delightful historic bit about the opera house. Packed with ice, the ceiling came tumbling down (like the walls of Jericho?)

    As for the figure on the stage outsizing the humans on the stage, would that be proof that things in Buenos Aires are larger than life?

  2. Controversial decorations at the stage in very classical interiors

  3. what a gorgeous building. I liked that figure when you first showed it - thought it was life sized. But seeing it on the stage, I can't believe it! astounding looking! scary too.

  4. what an incredible venue! and then i was shocked by the size of she. from the first shot i thought she was table sized, and then, oh my, she is the size she deserves to be. yes, i wish you'd have enjoyed the performance too so that we might know.


  5. Yikes! That has to be the creepiest set ever but what a gorgeous old building. Thanks for taking us inside.

    My daughter doesn't want me blogging about her acting, sadly. Last night's opening went well after a bad start - an actor fell off the stage (ACL injury). The director told them to cary on. My daughter had to complete her scene without the other half of her dialogue except for screams off stage. We had no idea that she was missing an actor. Later the girl rejoined and they did well.

  6. Oh my! That image on your blog icon certainly grabbed my attention! Stunning!

    The venue is equally stunning in a more traditional way. How wonderful it must be to perform from that stage and see that lovely stack of balconies.

    I love it when art is part of the building, on the floor, the ceiling, the seats, and columns, and not only on the stage, making it a more complete experience.

    I'd love to sit on that enormous woman's shoulder and whisper in her ear!

  7. r-bear - our tour director didn't mention it, but with all that plaster falling from such a height, you hope no carnival goer was injured - tumbling walls of jericho indeed!

    ola - so true, what a strange dichotomy!

    mim - that's interesting the perspective of the first foto shows her to be life sized - glad i included the additional shots then to illustrate just how big she was~

    erin - ah, so you thought the same as mim! yes, the sheer size of 'she' is jawdropping. when i first entered the auditorium i couldn't believe it. but like you say, she is exactly the size she deserves to be.....

    sarah - i completely understand your daughter's desire for privacy. how brave of her to carry on in spite of such a major mishap - sounds like 'break a leg' came true somewhat for the other actor! glad all's well that ends well ;-)

    jo -- haha!! yes! wouldn't that be an experience!

  8. Oh the things you've seen! I wish you could have been there for the show. I wonder what an enormous woman with no clothes story is about.
    Robin is going to Love this!

  9. It's a beautiful venue. Hopefully, they produce stunning works too. That giant size woman without hair is a good sign, in my book, of creative outreach.

  10. What a splendid theatre. The architecture is stunning.

  11. When I was in BA, this magnificent building was closed for those major renovations you mentioned and we only missed it by a month or so. Your pictures are wonderful and BA is well-known as the Paris of South America... I can see why it is called that, but it is unique and exciting and gorgeous in its own way. I think that we will be going back to BA this year and I will have this grand opera house on my agenda.


  12. Extraordinary and scary figure! The sheer size is wondrous.

  13. So interesting and highly artistic decorated. Your pictures are great!

  14. Wow! Really impressive. Reminds me of the Teatro Amazonas in Manaus. Another fancy theater like this one, but built in the middle of the jungle.

  15. How wonderful for you to visit El Teatro Colon! A great post - and I think you captured the essence of "La Grande Macabre" with your tale of how the theater was built! It is a "modern" opera -
    20th Century...and I believe it is a farce about the meaning of life and death....(La Grande Macabre representing Death, himself...or perhaps in this particular production - Death "herself"!)

    I particularly love the use of mosaic .... this gives it a definite Greco-Italian feel.....
    It is a gorgeous House - and with the amazing acoustics, seeing any production there must be a delight!

    Brava! Brava!


    ♥ Robin ♥

  16. That theater interior is absolutely breathtaking. Reminds me off the one that I have visited numerous times in Prague.
    I find that female figure oddly fascinating, almost haunting and evocative. I can only imagine that seeing that play must have been an experience hard to convey in words.;)
    Love the pictures in your post below as well, so soothing and tranquil.;)

  17. Oh, this is fabulous. I love the whole juxtaposition of textures that come together to make a beautiful opera. They could have used me for a model, climbing out the the tub. ;^)

  18. Wow what a beautiful place..that ceiling above the stage is stunning!!Makes me think of the hands that carved,painted and assembled it all.Thanks for taking us along..I always come prepared when I visit you sweet Amanda..a relaxed mind to soak in all you share..and some popcorn..hehhhee!!

    Its funny..no one has ever asked me about the books in which I display my artwork..to me they are treasures, more beautiful than what I display..I am thankful to have a small collection of Easton Press leather bound Shakespear books..The one in the last post is "Antony and Cleopatra".Big Hugs,Cat

  19. lori - haha!! i wonder what an enormous naked woman is doing in an opera as well!!


    rosaria - agreed - she does signal a hopeful sign not only for creative outreach but as a symbol of female power ;-)

    loree - it was quite the breathtaking place!

  20. genie -- my goodness you get around with both paris and buenos aires on your agenda!! i'll be looking forward to future posts with your wonderful eye trained on this lively city ~ xoxo

    dd - yes, both scary and wondrous at the same time -- exactly what the set designers were looking for, no doubt ;-)

    philip - poli efharisto!

  21. halcyon - i had recently read about that opera theatre in the middle of the amazon jungle -- what a story!

    robin - i knew you'd love this (and so did lori!! ;-)
    thank you so much for the insight into this particular opera - we weren't able to see it, only the set design during the tour, but from what you say it must be an amazing production!!

    yes - don't you love those mosaics? such an eclectic mix of architectural styles - almost as wonderful as the dramatic stories surrounding all the architects!


    zuzana - i've never been to prague and can only imagine the cultural richness and pedigree of such a famed city.

    sending warm hugs and so good to see you back!!

  22. tess - hahaha!! it does appear she is climbing out of something, so why not a tub?!

    (but from what robin says, more likely she is clambering out of the underworld!!)

    cat - yes, what a thought - to consider the thousands of hands that worked to create such a structure ♡

    how wonderful to learn the books in the background of your fotos are the works of shakespeare......a fitting foil for your graceful and stunning creations...


  23. Excellent post, and fantastic view of all the beautiful details inside this unique venue. Gracias! There are some good concerts coming up at Teatro Colon this June and July - check out our round-up of the best: http://www.therealargentina.com/argentinian-wine-blog/events-in-argentina-june-and-july-2011/

  24. argento — thanks for your comment and the info on upcoming concerts! i appreciate your visit ;-)


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