We had a rainy day, which was refreshing after the oppressive high heat of the previous day. With our light weight rain jackets, we were prepared, and off we went to get our tickets to tour Teatro Colon, or in English, the Opera House. The first available tour was for 5:00 pm, so we had time to do some more exploring ahead of time.
The back side of the Opera House sits on 9 de Julio Avenue, which is the widest avenue in the world. Its name honors Argentina’s Independence Day, July 9, 1816. I counted up to 10 lanes – in EACH direction at one point. That included a designated bus line in the center.
Also along this avenue is the celebrated obelisk which is fronted by the green B.A. topiary.
About 8 blocks down is the radio tower building with Evita’s picture on the side. This is where she famously used to broadcast from. This building turned out to be only three blocks from our hotel.
Since we had not taken the subway yet, we decided to give it a try. At first we were a little confused, as a card (similar to a credit card) must be purchased and then money can be loaded onto it to cover each ride, or a number or rides. Technically, each person is required to have their own card, but the gentleman took pity on us and allowed us to load one card with the two round trip rides.
Getting on at the opera house, we decided to go to the end of the line (only two stops) and spend a little more time at Plaza de Mayo. We had felt rushed a couple of days earlier on our ship’s “Evita” tour.
The Cathedral welcomed us back and we slowly checked out more of the interior, including some beautiful side alters.
After watching the changing of the guard, we followed the guardsmen down the block until they entered the Pink House and I was able to get another picture of the front.
Why is the building painted “Baby Pink”? A couple plausible explanations include:
“Domingo Sarmiento… had the exterior painted pink reportedly in order to defuse political tensions by mixing the red and white colors of the country’s two opposing political parties: red was the color of the Federales, while white was the color of the Unitarians. An alternative explanation suggests that the original paint contained cow’s blood to prevent damage from the effects of humidity.” ~ Wikipedia
We decided to take the subway back to the Opera House. Just as we were getting on the subway train, an announcement was made in Spanish (which I did not understand). We waited, and waited and waited. Eventually I asked a young man standing near me if he spoke English and if he knew what, or how long the delay was. He smiled and said this was normal.
Eventually, a sign was lit up that estimated a 3:55 departure, then a 4:05 departure, then 4:09, then 4:13. By this time we had been standing on the train for an hour. We could have walked there several times over. Tim finally gave up, and just as he stepped out the door, the horn/bell sounded. He jumped back on, the door zipped shut and off we went. It took only about five minutes to reach our destination, with plenty of time to visit the cafe, have a cold refreshing drink and split a pastry before our tour began.
The cornerstone was laid in 1889. The project seemed to be cursed with financial difficulties, death of the original architect Tamburini in 1891, followed by the murder or his pupil and replacement, Meano in 1904 and then the death of Angelo Ferrari, the Italian business man who was providing the financing.
Twenty years later the masterpiece was finally completed and opened in 1908 with a performance of Aida. Soon the world’s best opera singers and conductors were drawn here and Teatro Colon became a world-famous operatic venue.
“It is ranked the third best opera house in the world by National Geographic, and is acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world. The other venues are Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Vienna’s Musikverein, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Boston’s Symphony Hall.” ~ Wikipedia
The auditorium is horseshoe-shaped, has 2,487 seats (slightly more than the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London), and standing room for 1,000.
After the tour we chose to forego the subway and walked back to the hotel passing by the Obelisk in time to see some evening lighting.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we are patient, and have faith that things will eventually work out the way they are meant to. We would have loved to have attended a performance at the Opera House, but unfortunately this is the off-season for the theater. They close down from the end of December until sometime in March.