Chile’s beloved theater reopens four months after fire

Santiago’s opulent Teatro Municipal returns triumphantly with a new program including the complete Beethoven symphonies.

In downtown Santiago stands one of the city’s best known and best loved buildings: the Teatro Municipal. First opened in 1857, the opulent theater and opera house has been a fixture of music and dance performances for much of the city’s modern era but it has also suffered natural disasters and appeared to be close to ruined on several occasions. Thankfully, despite these near-misses the theater survived and reopened this week after a successful reconstruction period, ready to present a new season of events to eager culture aficionados.

Four months ago the thriving theater was struck by fire. Although the blaze spread quickly through the largely wooden interior, brave firefighters acted quickly and managed to largely confine the fire to the rehearsal spaces and dressing rooms.

What followed was an outpouring of support and donations for the theater’s reconstruction. Santiago Mayor Carolina Tohá noted the importance of the venue for the city’s residents and Spanish tenor and long time friend of Teatro Municipal, Placido Domingo, announced plans for a benefit concert to help fund repairs.

Teatro Municipal opened its doors for its much anticipated 2014 season with back to back performances of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 1st and 9th symphonies performed by the capital’s very own Orquestra Filarmónica de Santiago. Over the coming months the orchestra will perform all 9 of Beethoven’s symphonies.

Further highlights of the 2014 season include several operas — notably Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello, Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot and Leoš Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová directed by academy award nominated Chilean director and producer Pablo Larraín. Also scheduled is the return of the pianist cycle “Grandes Pianists” that brought one of the world’s best regarded performers Lang Lang to Santiago for a special concert last year.

For the full 2014 program visit the Teatro Municipal website. Discounts are available for students and senior citizens. Season tickets are also available but selling fast, so be quick to ensure your seat in the city’s opulent theater.