Plácido Domingo announces benefit gig for iconic Chilean theater

Teatro Municipal is raising money after a fire damaged the treasured 19th Century theater last year.

One of the world’s leading opera singers, Plácido Domingo will return to Chile once again this winter for a special concert in aid of a cause close to his heart, the restoration of Santiago’s Teatro Municipal.

In a tragic accident last year, a fire caused by an electrical fault ravaged the treasured 19th century theater, causing significant damage. Thanks to the city’s firefighters the worst was avoided and the theater’s centerpiece, the opulent main hall, survived, but dressing rooms, rehearsal space and storage were all gutted.

The theater subsequently announced its intention to re-open in March, but that leaves the question of how to fund the repairs — estimated at almost US$ 7 million dollars.

Thankfully, Plácido Domingo — who has enjoyed a long partnership with the theater — was on hand to kick-start efforts to fund the restoration.

The Spanish tenor announced plans to play a benefit gig in Santiago’s Movistar arena on July 7. Catering for 12,000 lucky fans, the concert will be completely free, but organizers hope to collect donations for the theater.

Santiago mayor Carolina Tohá was one of several figures to praise the tenor’s announcement Thursday.

“It is a great honor for Santiago and Teatro Municipal to once again host a great like Plácido Domingo who has shown incredible generosity to the Chilean people by making space in his busy calendar to support the reconstruction of this theater,” Tohá said.

In 2012, Domingo played the part of Nobel prize winning poet Pablo Neruda in the opera “Il Postino”at Teatro Municipal. He has also given free recitals on several occasions.

The concert will be funded by Banco Santander who have also pledged more than US$ 200,000 dollars to the appeal.

Information on how to apply for tickets will be announced in the coming week.