cubanmiamiboy

My first theater...

10 posts in this topic

Now that I'm finally in a full blown nostalgic state after having seen the Havana festival 2008 defile, I willgo back in time to share the place where I sold my soul forever to ballet at a very young age, the work being of course Giselle.

This is the 1889 Terry theater in my hometown Cienfuegos. Isn't it cute...? (I even performed there in a school show as a kid.. ;-)

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It's a lovely theater, Cristian! The 'palcos' remind me a lot of my own 'first theater' in San Juan, PR, the Teatro Tapia in Old San Juan. Same tropical feel with the 'open style' railing with very thin columns. It was recently (2 yrs ago?) restored to its full 19th-C splendour. If I find a photo, I'll post. The Tapia is the oldest theater in the Western Hemisphere still in use - from 1824.

The Teatro Municipal in Lima, Peru, (my new home) is also very old and also recently restored to its magnificence after a horrible fire in the late '90s (a-la Venice's Fenice). Actually, Lima boasts two grand old opera houses, the Municipal (built ca-1910) and what is now known as Teatro Segura but was actually Lima's first 'Teatro Municipal' (built ca 1880)...and the place in front of which Ashton stood to see Pavlova alight from her carriage! [i've also visited the first theater in which Ashton himself danced, as a child -- the old movie theater 'Teatro Colon,' right next door to the hotel in which I was living for the past month!] I've taken photos of all these great theaters and will try to figure out a way to post (or might forward to someone with photo-posting privileges).

Pavlova danced in all of these theaters (except the Colon-Lima), by the way. A lot people would be amazed at the sheer number of grand opera houses remaining in Latin America.

Not the greatest of photos, but here is my 'new home theater' in Lima:

http://commandopera.com/2011/06/07/teatro-municipal-de-lima-peru/

and...from the reinauguration in 2010:

http://enperublog.com/2010/10/12/re-inauguration-of-the-teatro-municipal-de-lima/

Then the older Teatro Segura-Lima, which used to have the name 'Teatro Municipal' in Ashton's time:

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teatro_Segura

Thanks, Cristian, for starting this walk down 'theater memory lane'! I'm sure that others fondly remember their own special home-town theaters where they first caught the ballet bug.

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Yes, Natasha...you're right. Many of the lovliest XIX century latin american theaters are spread around little towns,and many are in great conditions. Pavlolva danced indeed at the Terry, Caruso sang and Sarah Bernard acted there also...

Here's the Tapia...it is indeed a beautiful theater..!

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Thanks, Cristian. The seats look a lot more comfy than when I was last there. (ha-ha) Nice raked auditorium floor, too. (The Municipal in Lima also received a raked auditorium floor in its 2010 restoration.)

Speaking of Pavlova, she actually bought a house in the Miramar section of San Juan, Pto Rico. She & her company had a prolonged stay there, for several months around the end of WWI. There are lots of 'old wives tales' as to why exactly Pavlova wanted to settle in Pto Rico. [Rosario Ferre's novel about Pavlova, Flight of the Swan, is pure fiction-fun...so don't go by that.] Pavlova's house, with its big porch, is still there on Ave. Fdez Juncos - cross-street Calle Union or very close...don't exactly remember but passed it every day on busroute between school and home. Mom tells me that the house has been turned into an elegant restaurant but with no references to the great dancer. Just a big old-fashioned, beautiful restaurant in Miramar, with Tiffany stained-glass windows. It still very much looks like a grand private residence that has been turned into a restaurant.

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Thanks, Cristian, for starting this walk down 'theater memory lane'! I'm sure that others fondly remember their own special home-town theaters where they first caught the ballet bug.

How beautiful! Unfortunately, my home town theater was a concrete box :(

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What a beautiful theater, Cristian!

Thank you Helene. The Terry is indeed a little jewel box, all ornate with golds and plush red velvet. Almost every city of Cuba has its own XIX century theater. The "Caridad" theater-(honoring the title of the catholic patron saint of Cuba, Our Virgin of Charity), and the "Sauto", are two other theaters I went in many occasions, being the towns in which they are, Santa Clara and Matanzas, nearby my hometown.

La Caridad Theater

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Sauto Theater

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My first theater was El Teatro Tapia (I am from and live in Puerto Rico). :) I have seen ballet in other theaters in PR, but I find El Tapia to be the most beautiful, others are more modern. I have never been able to see a performance of ballet outside of PR, but hopefully someday soon I will be able to. blushing.gif

The photos of the theaters in Cuba are gorgeous, my father and grandparents are Cuban (Havana) and I have family there still. I hope to visit someday...

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Hola, Elena! smile.png

I totally agree that the Tapia is the most beautiful theater for ballet in Pto Rico. Alas, most ballet performances now seem to happen in the newer, more modern Teatro Bellas Artes in Santurce (San Juan). Before Bellas Artes opened about 20 yrs ago, the main theater for large classical-arts productions was the Moorish-style University of Puerto Rico Theater in Rio Piedras (San Juan), where the Casals Festivals used to take place and where I 'discovered' Alicia Alonso and the Cuban ballet stars on August 1, 1978, catching the 'ballet bug' big-time! (The rest is history...ha-ha.)

Besides San Juan's Tapia, Pto Rico has another gorgeous 19th-C theater in Ponce, Teatro La Perla (1864), also boasting a European-style 'horseshoe' arrangement of seats.

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Hola, Elena! smile.png

I totally agree that the Tapia is the most beautiful theater for ballet in Pto Rico. Alas, most ballet performances now seem to happen in the newer, more modern Teatro Bellas Artes in Santurce (San Juan). Before Bellas Artes opened about 20 yrs ago, the main theater for large classical-arts productions was the Moorish-style University of Puerto Rico Theater in Rio Piedras (San Juan), where the Casals Festivals used to take place and where I 'discovered' Alicia Alonso and the Cuban ballet stars on August 1, 1978, catching the 'ballet bug' big-time! (The rest is history...ha-ha.)

Besides San Juan's Tapia, Pto Rico has another gorgeous 19th-C theater in Ponce, Teatro La Perla (1864), also boasting a European-style 'horseshoe' arrangement of seats.

Hola Natalia! (Also nice name, though I am biased because it is my sisters name) biggrin.png

So nice to read your comments!! smile.png Bellas Artes as you mentioned is where now performances seem to happen the most and that is where I generally go. I studied at the UPR Río Piedras but never seen ballet at the theater there! Also not seen performances in La Perla. sad.png

I have been to performances mostly at the Bellas Artes, and very few at Tapia. I do wish there was more ballet in PR than there is now a days, though the locals do an admiral job of giving us fans ballet in a place where the fan base isn't huge, and for that I am grateful!

I do lurk on here a lot and get ballet-envy (in a good way) over what people are able to view (and where). blushing.gif

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