One of the highlights of the Argentine Bicentenary celebrations this year was the reopening of the Teatro Colón which had been undergoing restoration since 2006.
Opened originally in 1908 as South America’s answer to the great Opera Houses of Milan, London and Paris, it is considered as one of the top 5 in the world and has played host to all the greats of the world of Opera and Classical Music.
As my parents were coming to visit I thought I would treat us to a night out at the Colón and 6 or 7 weeks before they arrived I looked on the web for tickets. There are performances (classical music and ballet, no opera at the moment) 2 or 3 times a week which are obviously pretty damn popular as all I could find was 4 seats (in 2 blocks of 2, not together) in the Paraiso (Paradise) section, right at the very top.
We picked the tickets up in the afternoon and in the evening, put on our gladrags and headed out. Seeing as our seats were in the plebs section we didn’t get to use the main swanky entrance and had to skulk in through a side door and climb the 8 floors up to our level.
We were watching a performance of the Buenos Aires Philarmonic Orchestra. I know very little about Classical Music and didn’t recognise any of the music, or even the composers, but the sound was beautiful, as was the building. Most of the Paraiso area is actually standing room, with tickets costing just 25 pesos (about £3). Our seats were 45 pesos each (about £7.50) and gave a clear, if a little distant, view of about 2/3 of the stage.
Most of the standing crowd left at the interval, which I’ve since found out is pretty typical, as it’s a long time to stand still and the majority of people come simply to see the interior. Which is pretty much the reason I went, and I’m very glad I did, it was a real experience, one I would thoroughly recommend to anyone staying more than a few days in Buenos Aires.