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Teatro Argentino de La Plata

The Teatro Argentino de La Plata is the second most important lyric opera house in Argentina, after the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. The Teatro Argentino is located in a central block of the city of La Plata, the capital of Buenos Aires Province. The venue occupies the block bounded by the 9 and 10 streets and 51 & 53 avenues; it belongs to the so-called Monumental Axis of public buildings in La Plata.

The original building

The original building was a classic Italian opera house, conceived in renaissance style by the Italian architect Leopoldo Rocchi. Construction began in 1887, five years after the foundation of the city of La Plata itself. The main hall had a capacity of ca. 1,500 seats. It was inaugurated on November 19, 1890, with Giuseppe Verdi's Otello; in leading roles were the Italian soprano Elvira Colonnese (Desdemona) and the Uruguayan tenor Jose Oxilia (Othello).

The theatre grew to accommodate a renowned stable orchestra and chorus. A stable ballet company was added in 1946. Among the great artists that performed at the Teatro Argentino we find singers such as Maria Barrientos, Luisa Tetrazzini, Marian Anderson, Emma Carelli, Fedora Barbieri, Tito Schipa, Beniamino Gigli, Titta Ruffo, and Mario del Monaco, classical ballet dancers such as Anna Pavlova, Dore Hoyer and Iris Scaccheri, as well as musicians such as Pietro Mascagni, Richard Strauss (with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra), Arthur Rubinstein, Andres Segovia, Alexander Brailowsky, Claudio Arrau, Pablo Casals, and Yehudi Menuhin.

The New Building

Unfortunately, a major fire destroyed the original building in 1977, leaving only the badly damaged exterior walls standing. Against national and international outcry, the de facto government of the military dictatorship at the time (the so-called Proceso de Reorganizacion Nacional) decided against rebuilding the original classic structure. Instead, it chose to replace it with a massive Theatre & Cultural Centre with modernist style, located on the same city block. After much planning and rescheduling due to economic difficulties, the new building was finished and inaugurated on October 12, 1999 with a performance that included excerpts from works of Giuseppe Verdi, Charles Gounod, Umberto Giordano and Gaetano Donizetti, as well as the ballet Tango en gris ("Tango in grey"), with music by Atilio Stampone and regie by Oscar Araiz. Gala Night in the Return of the Teatro Argentino de La Plata Clarin newspaper , Dance and Opera for a Historic Day La Nacion newspaper

It should be noted that during the intervening years (1977-1999), the Teatro Argentino companies continued with performances in La Plata against all odds, often using a recycled old movie theatre, the Cine Gran Rocha.

The new complex includes today a 2,000-seat operatic venue with a typical European horseshoe structure, named Alberto Ginastera Hall after the famous Argentine composer. An enormous three-tonne bronze chandelier with 400 light-bulbs hangs over the main floor, in an exact replica of the one featured in the original building.

The complex includes also the smaller 300-seat Astor Piazzolla Hall, as well as rehearsal areas, and space for the associated technical shops. The lower level includes the Emilio Pettoruti Exhibition Hall for permanent and transient art collections.

Despite the excellent technical facilities and the superb acoustics of the main hall, the complex itself, built in brutalist style, continues to be regarded as a sort of eye-sore by the local population.

See also

List of buildings

List of concert halls

List of opera houses

External links

Official site of the Teatro Argentino de La Plata

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Teatro Argentino de La Plata

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