Update: May 25, 2010 – Teatro Colón is now re-opened after a 3 year renovation..

At the end of the month, Buenos Aires great opera house Teatro Colón will be closing its doors for a year and a half while the building is renovated. Teatro Colón is scheduled to re-open on May 25, 2008.

(Having been involved myself in a couple of major building renovation projects, I’m sure everyone managing the renovation of the Colón is worried about meeting that deadline. Already, even the announcement on the theater’s Web site says that Teatro Colón will re-open with “most of the works completed.” To see what’s going to be happening, take a look at the master plan for the restoration of Teatro Colón.)

Some history

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about the history of Teatro Colón and opera in Buenos Aires, particularly the influence of Italian immigrants on the local opera scene. So, I’ve decided to create a series of postings, sort of a history of opera in Buenos Aires. I’m not yet sure how many postings will be in this series, but I’m going to try and keep the postings short: nuggets of information rather than encyclopedic. Anyone with more knowledge about any of these topics, please jump in with comments. I’m just learning these things as I read, passing along what’s interesting.

A brief history of Teatro Colón itself is available on its Web site. (That same link is available in Spanish).

While the present Teatro Colón will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2008, there actually was another Teatro Colón that was built in 1857 across from Plaza de Mayo, where the Banco de la Nación is located. The first Teatro Colón closed in 1888. While the new Teatro Colón was being built over the following 18 years, the dominant opera house in Buenos Aires was Teatro de la Ópera, which was built in 1872. Another theater of that time was Teatro Politeama, which remained popular well into the 20th century. The Politeama wasn’t just an opera house, but provided a venue for a lot of popular entertainment. Have a look at this Yiddish poster advertising a show at the Politeama in the 1930s.

Okay, I promised to keep these postings short, so I’m stopping now…need to come back another day and say something more about the Teatro de la Ópera.