Monday, March 18, 2019

Buenas Aires - Teatro Colon

Since I am a classical music lover I enjoy going to see opera houses and concert halls and BA has a famous Opera House, the Teatro Colon.

But first, a visit to the metro or Subte as it is called here.

When I am taking a train trip, I like to go to the departure station to check it out if I can get the chance. It makes it easier the following day when I am wheeling my suitcase. It's an easy trip by Subte but it is hot and humid down underground and the fan was welcome.

It's an elegant station hall. Notice the line of ticket machines on the right. It extends the entire length of the hall. Somebody made a fortune selling all those machines.

The other direction with the machines now on the left.

Unbelievable! It's not as if Argentina has a huge train network.

So I took the Subte back to the centre of town and crossed the wide Avenue of the 9th July. You have to go through six walk / don't walk signs.

Eventually, I reached the Teatro.

You go in a side entrance and there is a ticket office down the corridor where you can get a ticket for the tour. The 11 am English tour was full so I had to wait for the 12 o'clock tour.

I suspect this is actually a covered entrance to the building for the wealthy and important when the weather was bad.

I wandered out the back and came across some impressive buildings.

Notice that a modern building has been attached to the wedding cake tower.

There is also a tower.

I wondered why there was a queue outside.

And also a queue at the side. It turned out that there was a free concert! I missed it.

No this was not the concert. The Teatro is used for both opera and concerts.

Instead, I went and had a lemon ginger drink in the air-conditioned cafe. After the dry cold back home, the humidity in BA is a bit overwhelming.

At noon, the English speakers lined up and away we went. It's immediately obvious that this is no ordinary opera house. It may be helpful to read about the building here.

And since I am occasionally criticized for not having people photos in my blog, here is one. They are looking at an old costume,

The tiled floor.

One of the wow ceilings.

People starting to exit the concert.

What we all need at the bottom of our steps.

Eventually, the concert goers departed and we continued up the stairs into the building.

An area that was designed for promenading. This is where the wealthy and powerful came to see and be seen.

Plaques for the famous opera composers such as Mozart.

The chandelier weighs 1/3 of a ton.

Franz Liszt got a bust even though he didn't write operas.

The ceiling.

It's spectacular.

The Golden Room.

Old furniture.

We then went to the auditorium. Here is the passageway that leads to the boxes.

The preceding spaces were impressive but for a music lover, this is simply magnificent.

There are seven levels with boxes around the sides. Yes, thereare elevators.

The chandelier weighs several tons and can be lowered to replace lightbulbs. Curiously, there is also space up there for singers and musicians so that their sound appears to be coming from heaven.

The top level has standing room only. The famed acoustics are best at the top level which is similar to most concert halls. This auditorium is much bigger than the similarly shaped one at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia where the again, the acoustics are best up with the Gods.

The curtain and the seats.

These darker grates were designed to house recent widows who could not be seen in public for three years. They could sit behind the screens and listen, but not see. Naturally there were tales of wild times behind the grates.

The orchestra pit. The stage area is apparently as large as the auditorium itself.

More people.

Looking up to the top level. I can't imagine standing to watch a four hour long Wagner performance.

The grate.

Behind the grate.

Inside one of the boxes.

Door to one of the boxes.

So for me, a very enjoyable visit. Incidentally, tours for Spanish speakers leave every ten to fifteen minutes and are popular.

I walked back to the hotel and enjoyed a very cold beer.

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