Teatro Colón tickets 8 November 2024 - Orpheus in the Underworld | GoComGo.com

Orpheus in the Underworld

Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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8 PM
US$ 121

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If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Starts at: 20:00

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Choir: Coro Estable del Teatro Colón
Conductor: Elias Grandy
Orchestra: Orquesta Estable del Teatro Colón
Composer: Jacques Offenbach
Librettist: Hector-Jonathan Crémieux
Librettist: Ludovic Halévy
Director: Pablo Maritano

Orfeo is a fairly mediocre violinist and also hates Euridice. For her part, she can't stand it and quite willingly accepts being kidnapped by Pluto ("It's not bad to be dead if a god is in love with one," she sings). With that starting point, plus a Greek choir turned into Public Opinion, a scandalous Olympus and a Jupiter whose main desire is to stay with Euridice – and he approaches her, in Hell, turned into a “beautiful fly with golden wings” that sings with her a hilarious duet based on hums -, Jacques Offenbach tackles an extraordinary operetta that satirizes both the classics and the government of Napoleon III, whose resemblance to the kingdom of the decadent Olympus did not go unnoticed by anyone, in the Paris of 1858, when it was premiered at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens.

Premiere of this production: 21 October 1858, Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris

Orpheus in the Underworld, a comic opera with music by Jacques Offenbach and words by Hector Crémieux and Ludovic Halévy. It was first performed as a two-act "opéra bouffon" at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris, on 21 October 1858, and was extensively revised and expanded in a four-act "opéra féerie" version, presented at the Théâtre de la Gaîté, Paris, on 7 February 1874.


Original two-act version

Act 1, Scene 1: The countryside near Thebes, Ancient Greece

A spoken introduction with orchestral accompaniment (Introduction and Melodrame) opens the work. Public Opinion explains who she is – the guardian of morality ("Qui suis-je? du Théâtre Antique"). She says that unlike the chorus in Ancient Greek plays she does not merely comment on the action, but intervenes in it, to make sure the story maintains a high moral tone. Her efforts are hampered by the facts of the matter: Orphée is not the son of Apollo, as in classical myth, but a rustic teacher of music, whose dislike of his wife, Eurydice, is heartily reciprocated. She is in love with the shepherd, Aristée (Aristaeus), who lives next door ("La femme dont le coeur rêve"), and Orphée is in love with Chloë, a shepherdess. When Orphée mistakes Eurydice for her, everything comes out, and Eurydice insists they abandon the marriage. Orphée, fearing Public Opinion's reaction, torments his wife into keeping the scandal quiet using violin music, which she hates ("Ah, c'est ainsi").

Aristée enters. Though seemingly a shepherd he is in reality Pluton (Pluto), God of the Underworld. He keeps up his disguise by singing a pastoral song about sheep ("Moi, je suis Aristée"). Eurydice has discovered what she thinks is a plot by Orphée to kill Aristée – letting snakes loose in the fields – but is in fact a conspiracy between Orphée and Pluton to kill her, so that Pluton may have her and Orphée be rid of her. Pluton tricks her into walking into the trap by showing immunity to it, and she is bitten. As she dies, Pluton transforms into his true form (Transformation Scene). Eurydice finds that death is not so bad when the God of Death is in love with one ("La mort m'apparaît souriante"). They descend into the Underworld as soon as Eurydice has left a note telling her husband she has been unavoidably detained.

All seems to be going well for Orphée until Public Opinion catches up with him, and threatens to ruin his violin teaching career unless he goes to rescue his wife. Orphée reluctantly agrees.

Act 1, Scene 2: Olympus

The scene changes to Olympus, where the Gods are sleeping ("Dormons, dormons"). Cupidon and Vénus enter separately from amatory nocturnal escapades and join their sleeping colleagues, but everyone is soon woken by the sound of the horn of Diane, supposedly chaste huntress and goddess. She laments the sudden absence of Actaeon, her current love ("Quand Diane descend dans la plaine"); to her indignation, Jupiter tells her he has turned Actaeon into a stag to protect her reputation. Mercury arrives and reports that he has visited the Underworld, to which Pluton has just returned with a beautiful woman. Pluton enters, and is taken to task by Jupiter for his scandalous private life. To Pluton's relief the other Gods choose this moment to revolt against Jupiter's reign, their boring diet of ambrosia and nectar, and the sheer tedium of Olympus ("Aux armes, dieux et demi-dieux!"). Jupiter's demands to know what is going on lead them to point out his hypocrisy in detail, poking fun at all his mythological affairs ("Pour séduire Alcmène la fière").

Orphée's arrival, with Public Opinion at his side, has the gods on their best behaviour ("Il approche! Il s'avance"). Orphée obeys Public Opinion and pretends to be pining for Eurydice: he illustrates his supposed pain with a snatch of "Che farò senza Euridice" from Gluck's Orfeo. Pluton is worried he will be forced to give Eurydice back; Jupiter announces that he is going to the Underworld to sort everything out. The other gods beg to come with him, he consents, and mass celebrations break out at this holiday ("Gloire! gloire à Jupiter ... Partons, partons").

Act 2, Scene 1: Pluton's boudoir in the Underworld

Eurydice is being kept locked up by Pluton, and is finding life very tedious. Her gaoler is a dull-witted tippler by the name of John Styx. Before he died, he was King of Boeotia (a region of Greece that Aristophanes made synonymous with country bumpkins), and he sings Eurydice a doleful lament for his lost kingship. ("Quand j'étais roi de Béotie").

Jupiter discovers where Pluton has hidden Eurydice, and slips through the keyhole by turning into a beautiful, golden fly. He meets Eurydice on the other side, and sings a love duet with her where his part consists entirely of buzzing ("Duo de la mouche"). Afterwards, he reveals himself to her, and promises to help her, largely because he wants her for himself. Pluton is left furiously berating John Styx.

Act 2, Scene 2: The banks of the Styx

The scene shifts to a huge party the gods are having, where ambrosia, nectar, and propriety are nowhere to be seen ("Vive le vin! Vive Pluton!"). Eurydice is present, disguised as a bacchante ("J'ai vu le dieu Bacchus"), but Jupiter's plan to sneak her out is interrupted by calls for a dance. Jupiter insists on a minuet, which everybody else finds boring ("La la la. Le menuet n'est vraiment si charmant"). Things liven up as the most famous number in the opera, the "Galop infernal", begins, and all present throw themselves into it with wild abandon ("Ce bal est original").

Ominous violin music heralds the approach of Orphée (Entrance of Orphée and Public Opinion), but Jupiter has a plan, and promises to keep Eurydice away from her husband. As with the standard myth, Orphée must not look back, or he will lose Eurydice forever ("Ne regarde pas en arrière!"). Public Opinion keeps a close eye on him, to keep him from cheating, but Jupiter throws a lightning bolt, making him jump and look back, Eurydice vanishes. Amid the ensuing turmoil, Jupiter proclaims that she will henceforth belong to the god Bacchus and become one of his priestesses. Public Opinion is not pleased, but Pluton has had enough of Eurydice, Orphée is free of her, and all ends happily.

Revised 1874 version

The plot is essentially that of the 1858 version. Instead of two acts with two scenes apiece, the later version is in four acts, which follow the plot of the four scenes of the original. The revised version differs from the first in having several interpolated ballet sequences, and some extra characters and musical numbers. The additions do not affect the main narrative but add considerably to the length of the score. In Act I there is an opening chorus for assembled shepherds and shepherdesses, and Orpheus has a group of youthful violin students, who bid him farewell at the end of the act. In Act 2 Mercure is given a solo entrance number ("Eh hop!"). In Act 3, Eurydice has a new solo, the "Couplets des regrets" ("Ah! quelle triste destinée!"), Cupidon has a new number, the "Couplets des baisers" ("Allons, mes fins limiers"), the three judges of Hades and a little band of policemen are added to the cast to be involved in Jupiter's search for the concealed Eurydice, and at the end of the act the furious Pluton is seized and carried off by a swarm of flies.

Venue Info

Teatro Colón - Buenos Aires
Location   Cerrito 628

The Teatro Colón (Spanish: Columbus Theatre) is the main opera house in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is considered one of the ten best opera houses in the world by National Geographic, and is acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world. 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 25 May 1908, with Giuseppe Verdi's Aïda.


The Colón theater operated in two buildings, the first located in the Plaza de Mayo until 1888 and the second located in front of the Plaza Lavalle, which took 20 years to be built until its inauguration in 1908. This land formerly housed the Park Station, the first railway station of the Argentine Republic as head of the Western Railway of Buenos Aires.

Throughout its history the main figures of opera, classical music and world ballet have performed in the Colón theater, such as Arturo Toscanini, Nijinski, Caruso, Regina Pacini, Anna Pavlova, Maya Plisetskaya, Margot Fonteyn, Mikhail Barishnikov, Antonio Gades, Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Camille Saint-Saens, Manuel de Falla, Aaron Copland, Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Mstislav Rostropovich, Zubin Mehta, Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Yehudi Menuhin, Pau Casals, Rudolf Nureyev, Maurice Béjart, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Luciano Pavarotti, Lily Pons, Marina de Gabaráin, Victoria de los Ángeles, Montserrat Caballé, Kiri Te Kanawa, among others, and Argentine artists such as Adelaida Negri, Héctor Panizza, Alberto Ginastera, Jorge Donn, Norma Fontenla, José Neglia, Olga Ferri, Julio Bocca, Maximiliano Guerra, Paloma Herrera, Daniel Barenboim, Martha Argerich, Astor Piazzolla, Aníbal Troilo and Osvaldo Pugliese. In the last decade other popular artists such as Chris Cornell, Katherine Jenkins, Sarah Brightman, Joss Stone, Branford Marsalis, play here.

Among the main events of its history are the creation of stable bodies in the 1920s and its municipalization in 1931. In 1946, Peronism promoted a policy of openness to popular music and greater democratization of the public, which was reverted after its overthrow in 1955 and again resumed when democracy recovered in 1983.

In 2006 a full restoration work was started that would extend until 2010, when it was reopened on May 24 in commemoration of the Bicentennial of Argentina.

The first Teatro Colón

The first Teatro Colón was designed by Charles Pellegrini, and proved to be a successful venue for over 30 years, with 2,500 seats with the inclusion of a separate gallery reserved only for people who were in mourning. The construction started in 1856 and completed in 1857. This was celebrated with an opening 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.

This theater was closed on September 13, 1888 to step aside for a new improved building, which was opened twenty years later on Libertad street, overlooking Plaza Lavalle. In that period of time, the 1890 crisis and its effects were the cause for the delay in the completion of this second theater.

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, major companies also performed at the Teatro Politeama and the Teatro Coliseo which opened in 1907.

The present Teatro Colón

The theatre is bounded by the wide 9 de Julio Avenue (technically Cerrito Street), Libertad Street (the main entrance), Arturo Toscanini Street, and Tucumán Street. It is in the heart of the city on a site once occupied by Ferrocarril Oeste's Plaza Parque station.

The auditorium is horseshoe-shaped, has 2,487 seats (slightly more than the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London), standing room for 1,000 and a stage which is 20 m wide, 15 m high and 20 m deep. The low-rise building has 6 floors above ground and 3 below ground, 7 elevators with a facade of applied masonry. It has a large central chandelier with 700 light bulbs. The original architect was the Italian Francesco Tamburini; after his death it was completed by the Belgian architect Julio Dormal. The original auditorium "had eight boxes with metal grilles and a separate entrance, so that those in mourning could still attend performances, but remain dignifiedly sequestered from public view".

The Colon's acoustics are considered to be so good as to place it in the top five performance venues in the world. Luciano Pavarotti held a similar opinion.

Opening and subsequent history

The present theatre, the second with that name, opened on 25 May 1908, after twenty years under construction, and was inaugurated with Aida by the Italian company directed by Luigi Mancinelli and tenor Amedeo Bassi, soprano Lucia Crestani (as Aida). The second presentation was Thomas' Hamlet with the baritone Titta Ruffo During the inaugural season seventeen operas were performed with famous stars such as Ruffo, Feodor Chaliapin in Boito's Mefistofele, Antonio Paoli in Verdi's Otello.

The cornerstone of the present Teatro Colón was laid in 1889 under the direction of architect Francesco Tamburini and his pupil, Vittorio Meano, who designed a theatre in the Italian style on a scale and with amenities which matched those in Europe. However, delays followed due to financial difficulties, arguments regarding the location, the death of Tamburini in 1891, the murder of Meano in 1904 and the death of Angelo Ferrari, an Italian businessman who was financing the new theatre. The building was finally completed in 1908 under the direction of the Belgian architect Julio Dormal who made some changes in the structure and left his mark in the French style of the decoration. The bas-reliefs and busts on the facade are the work of sculptor Luigi Trinchero.

The theatre's opening on 25 May, the Día de la Patria in Argentina, featured a performance of Verdi's Aida and it quickly became a world-famous operatic venue rivaling La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in attracting most of the world's best opera singers and conductors.

The Teatro was bombed by anarchists in 1910; Georges Clemenceau was present in Argentina during the attack. The bomb landed in the middle of the orchestra. Clemenceau describes the attack as follows: "The horror can not be exaggerated. A senior official told me that he had never seen such puddles of blood. The wounded were carried off as best as possible, and the room was emptied by the cries of fury, and the material damage repaired during the day which followed, not a woman of society missed the representation of the morrow. It is a fine trait of character that particularly honors the female element of the Argentine nation. I am not quite sure that in Paris the hall would have been full in such cases."

Ballet stars performed at the Colón alongside Argentine dancers and classical instrumentalists. This included the prima ballerina, Lida Martinoli. When she retired from dancing, Martinoli began to choreograph. She died in Santa Fe. The tragic 1971 aviation death of two of the best known of these, Norma Fontenla and José Neglia, was commemorated with a monument in neighbouring Lavalle Square.

With excellent acoustics and modern stage areas, the theatre's interior design features a rich scarlet and gold decor. The cupola contains canvas painted in 1966 by the 20th-century artist Raúl Soldi during renovation work.

Refurbishment, 2005 – 2010

In recent years, given the political and economic circumstances of Argentina, the Teatro Colón has suffered considerably, but a period of slow recovery began. The theatre underwent massive phased remodelling of both interior and exterior, initially while the house was still open, but production activities ceased at the end of December 2006 to allow full refurbishment.

Initially, "what had been planned as an 18-month, $25-million renovation with 500 workers, scheduled for a May 2008 reopening with Aida, became a three-year $100-million extravaganza with 1,500 workers including 130 professional architects and engineers." In addition, an exterior open-air stage was planned for an opening in 2011. In all, 60,000 square metres (645,835 sq ft) underwent updating, both inside and out.

Some of the last performances immediately before closure of the theatre's building were Swan Lake on 30 September with the Ballet Estable del Teatro Colón and the Buenos Aires Philharmonic (Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires). and, on 28 October, the opera Boris Godunov was given featuring Orquesta Estable del Teatro Colón and the house chorus.

The theatre's final performance before its closure for refurbishment works in 2005 was a concert on 1 November starring folklore singer Mercedes Sosa in performance with the Argentine National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pedro Ignacio Calderón.

While it was originally planned to reopen in time for the centenary on 25 May 2008, delays prevented this, and the house was finally reopened with a gala concert and 3D animations on 24 May 2010, the eve of its own 102nd birthday and the Argentina Bicentennial. Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and Act 2 of Puccini's La bohème were performed. A private concert to test the acoustics attended by employees, architects, and others involved in the renovation occurred on 6 May 2010.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Starts at: 20:00
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