The Watch

Teatro Colón

Buenos Aires, Argentina

2010 World Monuments Watch

Teatro Colón is widely recognized as the most important opera house in the Americas and one of the best in the world. The institution has always been known for its high production standards; throughout the twentieth century, everything on stage was made at its legendary workshops by specialized technicians, artisans, and artists who maintained a skilled craftsmanship that has been lost in many parts of the world. Three successive European architects designed the Teatro Colón and oversaw its construction, which began in 1885 and was completed in 1908. The result was a grand and eclectic interpretation of classical architecture.

The twentieth-century extensions of the workshops, rehearsal room, and service spaces were respectful of the building’s architectural integrity and did not affect its historic fabric. However, a controversial proposal put forth in 2000 called for extensive renovations to the theater that would entail significant changes in production methods and presentations, thereby altering both the historic form and function of the Teatro Colón. By the time the site was included on the 2010 World Monuments Watch, implementation of the plan had shuttered the building, dismantled all activities, and dispersed staff without a clear course of action or timeline for reopening.

Since the Watch

Although controversial, the theater’s restoration was completed, and the building reopened in May, 2010, right on time for the celebration of the Argentina Bicentennial. The theater has been open to the public since, recovering its place as one of the most important music and ballet venues on the continent.

 

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