finished with the catedral, we got back on the Sube and went to
Teatro Colon. Kathleen wanted to visit this local landmark.
While we were in the "centro" we were warned 3 times by 3
separate, disinterested locals that we should "watch our
cameras, someone will attempt to steal them". First time:
warned. Second time: cautious. Third time:
The photos below are what we saw.
were both Spanish and English tours available, albeit at
different frequencies. Naturally, we selected the English
tour, but the guide was a native Spanish speaker and therefore
had a pretty heavy accent. No worries, we could adequately
understand him. First stop was the architect's scale model
of the building. Teatro Colon is BA' main opera house and
generally considered to be the third best venue for opera by
"style" and the fifth best by acoustics. Modeled after the
great opera houses in Europe, construction was completed
in 1857 and at the time was considered to be the planet's premier
venue. A long period of decline and neglect followed
resulting in a massive restoration effort from 2004-2010.
The results were stunning. We just missed a performance at
this venue, but in these things, "a miss is as good as a mile".
internal restoration was extensive and nearly everything was
"touched". Smoking had been allowed in the facility during
its operation and the smoke and ash had discolored
everything. Above is one of the entrance galleries and a
headshot of the guide.
craftsmanship was exquisite. Note the details in the
the entrance galleries, or salons, had intricate stained glass
portals in the ceiling.
Based on distinctly European style, the crown treatment was first class. The details were outstanding.
statues in the galleries had to be carefully cleaned to remove
the nicotine stains that had accumulated over the years.
portals to the various audience galleries had busts of famous
composers and authors.
Truly impressive detail in the crown molding.
gold was used for the gilding.
the columns were adorned with gold gilt as well.
galleries had huge chandeliers for lighting.
galleries were huge to accommodate the audience movement and
post-show socialization. In the pre-TV, pre-movie era,
this was THE social event of the city.
the details in the galleries, the effort required to clean and
restore the massive surface area was almost herculean.
had period furniture with highly detailed inlayed wood and
bronze adornments. Marble tops, of course.
longest gallery had a huge stained glass window. The
window was so long that I could not get a full view with my 24mm
stop on the tour was a box seat to allow us to view what the
audience sees. Teatro Colon has several basement levels
for workshops and storage. All sets are produced on-site,
including this one. A team of dressmakers create costumes on-site.
When we were there, they were preparing for a show in a few days
and there were workers flitting about.
areas were covered with cloth curtains or carpet to reduce
acoustic reflections. Even today, operas are performed
without use of audio equipment.
above the stage is very high to provide room for cranes and
extra set equipment that can be lowered onto the stage during a
cupola at the top of the dome has a hidden gallery where singers
can perform giving the impression they are the voice of God.
tour completed, we headed to the nearby Petit Colon restaurant
for some food and drink. Outside in the plaza was a nice
monument. But note the ad-hoc wiring in the
background. This is one of the city's most expensive areas
and yet the ad-hoc wiring still exists!!
ordered the Argentine interpretation of an American
milkshake. Visually impressive but less so by taste.
side plaza we spotted these mesh steel statues with fellow
sleeping in the shade.
the plaza we got to the base of El Obelisco. And again, we
were warned about our cameras by a kiosko merchant. Increasing
my "situational awareness", I spied a couple of dudes sizing us
up. I made direct eye contact with them indicating my
detection of their intention and they went the other way.
There were plenty of city police around, but seemingly that did
nothing to address the robbery rate. Nearly every gal who
had a backpack wore it on front. Waist packs were in front
and purses were in front or under-arm.
stands next to Avenida Alvear and a wide park between the lanes.
buildings line Avenida Alvear. Very cool, even if they
house McDuck's below.
With our attention
level peaked, we took the sube back to Plaza Italia. In
the station we spotted this abstract tile work on the walls.
More nice tile work.
If you are ever in BA, even for just a short while, Teatro Colon is a must-see. The plaza area is nice, but the Teatro is quite stunning.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2018, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.