Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Buenos Aires opera house has world's greatest acoustics, ornate interior


Above, Bruce Keller, Christene "Cookie" Meyers and Rolando Ossowski pose in casual afternoon touring clothes. 
If they were at the great theater for a night at the opera, they would be in black tie, befitting a world class opera house.

Teatro Colón: grand reminder of city's stately, opulent past




IT'S HOSTED the greats of the world of opera. Its acoustics are the best on the planet.
The majestic Teatro Colon holds a sentimental place in the hearts of the people of Buenos Aires, and opera buffs around the world.
The Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires has breathtaking design,
box seats, a horseshoe shaped house and special seats.

opera house in Argentina's capital city, is considered by many to be the world's grandest opera house not only for its fabulous acoustics but for the spectacle and grandeur of its interior.
A guide offers visitors a unique small-group
tour of the opera house, with its stunning
works of art, all beautifully preserved.
We toured this wondrous place with our friend, Rolando Ossowski, an opera devotee who grew up in Buenos Aires and attended performances.
He arranged a rewarding visit to magnificent place, adding colorful detail to the guide's commentary as we learned of the theater's interesting and complicated history. It dates back more than a century, to a grander time.
Entering this grandiose space, we were in awe of its European-style décor. Our guide walked us up the Italian-marble staircases, past stunning mosaics, beneath French stained glass and under a gleaming grand chandelier where we posed for photos. The theater's roster of performers features dozens of world-class artists, including Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Plácido Domingo, Enrico Caruso, Claudia Muzio, Maria Callas, Regine Crespin, Birgit Nilsson and the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
THE ORIGINAL Teatro Colón operated from 1857 to1888 before being demolished as the city outgrew it. The new theater was designed by Francesco Tamburini with plans for a gala opening in 1892. But misfortune and controversy plagued the project. Tamburini died.  So did the next architect. Rolando added that tastes changed and money ran out. Eventually, the present theater opened on May 25, 1908, with Giuseppe Verdi's "Aïda." It was closed for restoration in 2006, reopening in 2010 to celebrate its 102nd birthday and Argentina's bicentennial.

Our small tour group was in awe during a
delightful tour of one of the world's most
famous and grandest opera houses. 
Meticulous detail at every turn awaits the tourist.

determined to include the opera house in our Buenos Aires visit, even though there is an enormous amount of other things to do and places to visit.  For us -- lifelong music fans -- our time in Argentina’s capital city wouldn't have been complete without the afternoon we spent with Rolando in this historic building.

Stained glass is 
imported from Europe.

Our opera buff friend Rolando concurred with the guide that the theater does indeed have the world's best acoustics. Pavarotti, a perennial favorite here, joked that "the theatre has the greatest defect: its acoustics are perfect," meaning that any small mistake -- a delayed delivery, faux pas with a lyric or,  heaven forbid, a worse mistake -- would be heard by the audience and likely reported by critics.

group, a professional singer surprised and delighted us all, offering a few measures of a familiar aria. Instant applause and tears. Indeed, grand acoustics. But the building's artistic value is of equal importance.
Guided tours are kept small to give
tourists an opportunity to enjoy, ask
questions and soak up the beauty.
Among details we noted: 
*The central chandelier weighs over 100 kilos. 
*Every piece of material for the theater's construction was imported from Europe.
* The auditorium is horseshoe-shaped, has 2,487 seats (slightly more than the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London). It's shape makes for fabulous sound.
* Ticket prices offer "something for everyone," from standing room admission sold from $6 to $70 and more for better seats.
* The stage is 20 meters wide, 15 meters high and 20 meters deep.
* The combination of its perfectly engineered curves, and specially selected interiors create the remarkable acoustics. 
Magnificently positioned on an entire city block,
Teatro Colon is an imposing city landmark.
Of special note are the horse-hair seat cushions, which are said to enhance sound as well. (Who knew?)
More info: Guided tours in English cost 10,000 Argentine pesos (about $15)  daily at 11 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Colón Theater is open every day of the year, except select holidays. Visit from February through December to catch one of the theater's spectacular ballets or operas.

The world's largest rotating tram gives tourists and locals alike a bird's eye
  view of the spectacular wilderness of Chino Canyon and below, Palm Springs
UP NEXT: As summer comes to the Coachella Valley, savvy tourists and locals alike take a trip up the mountain to the Palm Springs Aerial  Tramway. It is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world and a huge tourist attraction in California. The tram and its construction in rugged terrain are an engineering marvel.  It opened in September 1963 as a way of getting from the floor of the Coachella Valley to near the top of San Jacinto Peak and was constructed in the Chino Canyon wilderness, a refuge for birds and wildlife and popular with naturalists. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on nature, travel, performance, family and more. Please share the link: www.whereiscookie.com  


  1. Buenos Aires devoteesApril 18, 2024 at 4:57 PM

    Yes, a truly amazing place. Thanks for sharing.

  2. We are supremely proud of this magnificent building.

  3. Boise Kids in B.A.May 11, 2024 at 2:12 AM

    What fun to see this while we are touring from Idaho in Argentina.