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Old August 12th, 2007, 07:23 PM   #1
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Argentina's Colon Theater Gets Complete Makeover

Argentina's Colon Theater gets complete makeover

Source : http://www.pbase.com/photodays/

BUENOS AIRES, July 31 (Reuters) - Not even a massive economic crisis could derail the $25 million, seven-year renovation of Argentina's Colon Theater, which rivals Old World opera houses in splendor and sound quality.

Restoration of the ornate 99-year-old theater began with measurements of its acoustics just before the 2001-2002 economic crash that drove millions of Argentines into poverty.

But the project moved forward, and the theater has been closed since November 2006 while workers painstakingly restore stucco facades, columns and delicate stained glass.

"The acoustics are the essential thing," said Bettina Knopf, an architect who has advised the renovation team.

The team has brought in physicists, engineers, architects and other experts to preserve the delicacy of the horseshoe-shaped auditorium's sound, preventing even slight modifications to seat structure during storage.

Artists will test the sound quality when the theater reopens for its 100th anniversary in May next year, which will be celebrated with a performance of Verdi's "Aida," the same opera that opened the venue in 1908.

The building -- a mix of European architecture styles -- will get a new roof, lighting, air conditioning, plumbing and more.

The 2,487-seat Colon -- Spanish for Columbus and pronounced col-own -- is located in the heart of the "Paris of South America" and is central to Argentina's Europhile cultural identity.

International legends such as Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti and Mikhail Baryshnikov have tread the boards at the theater, which is now stripped bare of its seats, wood floors, golden ornaments and velvet upholstery.


Although drop cloths cover the busts and marble staircases and scaffolding and heavy machinery have replaced the sounds of sweet harmony inside the theater, the work has brought an unexpected silver lining.

The Colon's resident orchestra and choir are performing in other venues and finding new audiences.

In July, the Colon artists went on the road for the first time to perform Verdi's "Requiem Mass" in three Argentine cities. They are also going to present Puccini's "Turandot" in Mexico City in mid-August.

"Out of necessity, comes innovation," said music director Stefan Lano. "This is something that really should have happened sooner, but I'm glad to have been part of the first tour."

The Colon musicians have also performed Mahler's "Symphony No. 2" free of charge at a cathedral in Buenos Aires in December.

"It was packed," said Lano.

Among new additions at the Colon will be a center for contemporary classical music in the basement, a theater museum, and an open-air arts complex in what has until now been an adjacent parking lot.

Colon staff and fans were dismayed earlier this month at reports that Buenos Aires Mayor-elect Mauricio Macri implied he would cut the theater budget after taking office in December.

But Macri denies saying he would halve theater staff.

Colon officials note that the show has gone on through far more trying times in the country's history.

"That's politics, and we can be grateful not to be involved in it," Lano said with a smile.
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Old November 4th, 2007, 03:40 PM   #2
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Old August 23rd, 2009, 03:35 AM   #3
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one of the best in sound quality
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Old August 23rd, 2009, 03:51 AM   #4
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I hope they keep the Colon feeling.
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Old August 23rd, 2009, 04:25 AM   #5
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I was lucky to be there many times, enjoying different shows as "The Fiddler on the Roof". But if it is something certain, is that the sound will be no more the same.

Some walls were demolished, and others were built. This kind of structural changes will surely damage the acustic system.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 02:54 AM   #6
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Argentina.. Feliz :)
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