Culture, culture, culture! Today was about visiting one of the world’s preeminent opera houses, the magnificent Teatro Colon. It’s an easy 20 minute stroll from our hotel, the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt hotel, along Avenue Libertad.
The original theatre dates back to 1857 but, within 30 years, it became clear that a new theatre was needed and, following a 20-year period, the new theatre made its debut in 1908, with a performance of Verdi’s Aida.
Considered one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world and with perfect acoustics, all of the great singers from Maria Callas to Luciano Pavarotti performed there well into the 1980s, after which the theatre fell into disrepair. In order to return the opera house to its former glory, a complete restoration was undertaken from 2006 – 2010.
Speaking of Pavarotti, the great tenor feared performing at Teatro Colon because – he said – the acoustics were so excellent that any mistake on his part would be clearly heard by the audience. No place to run, no place to hide. Talk about performance anxiety!
Guided tours in English are available during the day, and more information can be found at the opera house’s website. If you’re planning a trip to Buenos Aires, it should not be missed. Even better, if you’re visiting from February through November, it’s possible to see an opera or ballet performance there.
Entrance to the magnificent Teatro Colon
Staircase in the foyer
Leslie and AAC CPA admire the sights
The Golden Hall
Statue of the Secret: What is Cupid whispering to Venus?
Inside the auditorium
Auditorium ceiling as seen from the President’s box
Archival photo of Maria Callas as Turandot at Teatro Colon, 1949
CULTURE TIP: Teatro Colon
Following this excellent tour, we returned to the hotel, had a spot of lunch and relaxed for a few hours on the beautiful hotel grounds. It was a perfect summer day, warm but not too much and with very low humidity.
That’s a yummy cold tomato and cucumber soup with langoustines
Tonight’s dinner was at the excellent Don Julio in the Palermo district. Unlike last night’s disappointing experience at La Cabrera, we could not have asked for a more delightful meal. The service was impeccable and the food was delicious. Once again, we split several cuts of beef and pork with various side dishes and shared the inevitable bottle of Malbec.
Inside Don Julio
Carnivores delight at Don Julio
(See all the wine bottles going up to the ceiling? Customers write notes on the bottle labels.)
I haven’t yet mentioned it but, for those of us who are used to eating out in New York or in San Francisco, the price of dining in Buenos Aires is a great bargain. Tonight’s meal, which included 2 appetizers, 3 different cuts of beef, 2 side dishes, 1 dessert and the Malbec worked out to about worked out to about $47 per person. In the States, we’d easily be spending more than twice that amount.
CUISINE TIP: Don Julio
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow will be our last full day in Buenos Aires.