Britten's Venice Is Eclipsed by the Wonders of Colón
By BERNARD HOLLAND
BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 29 - The Teatro Colón is grand opera all by itself. Enter its front door to an ensemble of Italian marbles singing to the eye in five-part harmony. Follow the march up a grand staircase between towering Corinthian columns, Versailles-esque ornament and a squadron of busts. Not a note has been heard, but simply going into the Colón has become, for sheer size and decorative extravagance, like a first-act finale to a Verdi opera.
The theater proper is parterre seats in red plush and gilt surrounded by five tiers of boxes: 2,500 seats and 700 additional places for standing room. Every facade offers filigree run wild. Acousticians dream of walls like these: thousands of small protuberances to deflect sound in different directions, and paint dried and hardened to a reflective liveliness over almost a century of use. The curtain, again red and gold, is reminiscent of Covent Garden's in London, but here upgraded according to a New World exuberance.
If the drapery surrounding individual boxes looks faded, if wood surfaces seem to have grayed in their long wait for refurbishment, if the eye strays to small deposits of garbage in Arturo Toscanini Park across from the Colón's main entrance, what is for some neglect and distress will be for others a comforting patina.
[Click here for remainder of article.]
Teatro Colón's 2005 Season