The present Colón replaced an original theatre which opened in 1857. Towards the end of the century it became clear that a new theatre was needed and, after a 20-year process, the present theatre opened on May 25, 1908, with Giuseppe Verdi's Aïda.
The Teatro Colón was visited by the foremost singers and opera companies of the time, who would sometimes go on to other cities including Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
After this period of huge international success, the theatre's decline became clear and plans were made for massive renovations. After an initial start of works to restore the landmark in 2005, the theatre was closed for refurbishment from October 2006 to May 2010. It re-opened on May 24, 2010, with a program for the 2010 season.
By the mid-1850s, with the flourishing of opera performed by touring companies, the need for a new theatre became obvious.
In 1854 alone, 53 different operas were performed in the city. The first Teatro Colón building, overlooking Plaza de Mayo, was started in 1856 and opened on April 27, 1857, with Verdi's La traviata, just four years after its Italian premiere.
The production starred Sofia Vera Lorini as Violetta and Enrico Tamberlik as Alfredo. The theatre was designed by Charles Pellegrini, and proved to be a successful venue for over 30 years, with 2,500 seats and the inclusion of a separate gallery reserved only for women.
Before the construction of the current Teatro Colón, opera performances were given in several theatres, of which the first Teatro Colón and the Teatro Opera were the most important. The principal company that performed at the Teatro Opera moved to the Teatro Colón in 1908. However, important companies also performed at the Teatro Politeama and the Teatro Coliseo which opened in 1907.
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