Argentina's Teatro Colon: No birthday bash
Questions are mounting about the future of one of South America's most venerable cultural landmarks, Teatro Colon, an almost century-old monument in downtown Buenos Aires and a reflection to the capital's European heritage. The stately opera house, shuttered in 2006 for extensive renovations, was scheduled to reopen this year for its 100th anniversary. A performance of Verdi's "Aida," the same classic that marked the Colon's 1908 debut, was slated to mark the big date.
With the theater badly deteriorated, however, many were skeptical about the projected second inaugural date -- especially in a nation where cost overruns and huge delays routinely mar big public works projects. Alas, the skeptics were right. Last month, authorities revealed that work was way behind schedule; the Colon will remain closed until 2010.
Meantime, the city government, which runs the facility, is talking about a new management structure, supposedly less bureaucratic, reports the daily Clarin. But some wonder if the new plan could be a thinly disguised blueprint for layoffs and cuts at an artistic stalwart with a history of nasty labor strife. As the work and debate continue, the great house, minus the crowds, the buzz, the champagne and the signature acts, remains a forlorn site in the heart of the Argentine capital.
Photo: Courtesy of Teatro Colon.