Love and Passion

Teatro Colón has always been something magical. Is it because of it’s beauty, it’s program, it’s reputation? Or is it because it is so hard to get in?

Going to a show was on my to do list ever since the first time we came here in 2003. Somewhere I had read that this opera used to be top 3 of the world. Next to the Scala in Milano and the Opera in Paris. Maybe that was a bit exaggerated, but whatever may be the truth, as soon as you enter the theatre you feel it’s grandeur. Even today (some) people still dress up as they used to do in the past century, unlike people on the streets, here you can still see people wearing jewels and fur coats. For a moment you forget the problems Argentina has.

During 8 years I tried to get tickets for whatever show was on, but that turned out to be impossible. There was no show during that particular holiday, they were on strike, they were on strike or, they were on strike (yes, they have been on strike for months!). It has also been closed for restoration for more then 2 years.

But since last year Teatro Colon is back, and, unlike last year where it was constantly sold out, it is now even possible to get tickets. After going to the opera ‘Pelléas et Mélisande’ last month, I had now bought tickets for a ballet, my first in Colón.

Onieguin (Onegin), is an extremely romantic ballet, based on the poem by Alexander Pushkin, music by Tchaikovsky, choreography by John Cranko.

It is the story of bored Russian aristocrat, who rejects the love of the young Tatiana. He then starts flirting with Tatiana’s sister which leads to a duel with her husband, where Onegin kills the husband. Years later he meets Tatiana again, she is than married to a prince, and she turned out to be really irresistible. Onegin now regrets to have rejected her and tries to get her back. However, she is faithful to her husband, and sends him away.

The music is absolutely fantastic -I am a real Tchaikovsky fan- I particularly loved the alt violins (my favourite instrument) in the last dance.
The ballet itself is not just dancing, but also acting. Although the dancing wasn’t always in coordination with the music, and the group dancing wasn’t always synchrome, I really enjoyed this ballet. The decor was really stylish and so were the costumes.

My favourite scene was the last one, the dance between Onegin and Tatiana, which was extremely passionate. The end is abrupt. I loved it.

Highly recommended.


4 responses to “Love and Passion”

  1. Yes, it is one of the finest operas in the world
    The Colon’s acoustics are considered to be so good as to place it in the top five performance venues in the world. Luciano Pavarotti held a similar opinion.

  2. “Performance” not “show”. You are talking about a distinguished opera house, not a music hall. The Colon was never in the class of the Metropolitan Opera or La Scala but it had a golden era when many stars performed there. Even as late as the Menem period international singers of the first rank performed at the Colon. The theatre has long been troubled by bureaucracy and labor problems, though. It’s owned by the city of Buenos Aires and intensely political. Tickets can be hard to get but you CAN get them. I’ve been going regularly since 1992 and I’ve always been able to get what I want. You just have to learn the system, be super alert and willing to spend hours in line unless you buy an “abono” or subscription. You can also get tickets (at a premium) through agencies. SInce the reopening prices are incredibly high — around 800 pesos for a platea seat for the operas. I paid less for a similar seat at the Metropolitan for a prime date. It’s really a shame but the Macri administration does not see any value in the arts. If it doesn’t make a profit (the Coion is a huge money loser dependent on massive subsidies) it has no value as far as Macri is concerned. Of course the Kirchners took an even dimmer view — the Colon to them is the antithesis of their populist pop culture philosophy.

    • Yo Paul,

      The Colon “never in the class of the Met or La Scala”? You obviously know very little – most great singers appeared there when it was summer in Europe and the U.S. – so that comment is not true . The acoustics are better then either of those two theaters – and the Met on the whole is an ugly , vulgar dump…people go to performances dressed like bums – I know – having lived in NYC 53 years. I know nothing of cultural politics in Argentina….but none of the recent presidents of the U.S. has shown any appreciation of the arts in general – let alone opera . And when it comes to ticket prices..La Scala and the Met charges too much nowadays….and the singers ? Well , we are living in a period of mediocrity – but who knows what the future will bring- let us be optimistic….

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