2003-12-17

Teatro Colón

Went to the Teatro Colón, which is one of the top five opera houses in the world.

It was the most sumptuous interior design I've ever seen: marble, crystal, tiles in fan shapes, spectacular ceilings and stained glass, the usual for a location of grandeur.

But what distinguishes it from other salons or even palaces is that it wasn't gaudy or over the top. It approached vulgar, then blushed.

At one point during the tour we sat in the President's box. Everyone's neck was stretched backward, mouths agape.

I turned to the British man next to me and he raised his eyebrows. I could only nod in response.

There were three layers of curtains, two curtains in each, separating the stage from the opera pit.

The guide said that each curtain weighs over a ton and a half. She said that they're so thick that if one of the layers is drawn, the orchestra can practice at the same time as the ballet or opera, as neither will be able to hear the other.

The stage is a gigantic revolving circle spanning four city blocks underground; scenery changes take place by rotating the stage in between acts.

The acoustics were remarkable and microphones are used to record, never to amplify.

We saw how costumes were made and learned about basic concepts of wig making. For example, sheep or goat hair is always used in white wigs because white human hair fades to yellow.

We visited rehearsal rooms and storage rooms. The shoe room, for instance, contained over 3,500 pairs.

There's a special kind of shoe that an actor will wear if the director wishes to highlight his role in a particular scene, a concept retained from the Greeks. Each of these shoes has a sole between twelve and sixteen inches thick.

I can't even walk in heels, let alone stilettos. I mean, I even fall off my flats.

We met a few actors and a violinist played a bit for us. I was impressed to discover a tour roundabout for about a dozen blind people.

The Teatro employs about 1,400 people and tickets on Monday nights are two pesos for any seat. Normally, they vary from 50 to 200 pesos a night. Fabulous social welfare system that the government, which supports the Teatro, keeps prices low so that everyone can visit.

betholindo at 2:39 a.m.

previous | next