I can’t get over how different a city Buenos Aires is now that it’s summer.  It’s the same city but with so much more energy surging through all of its diverse neighborhoods.  Many places I visited back in the wintery months of July and August, like Puerto Madero and various trendy cafes and restaurants around town, were quite barren of life. Given it was my first visit, I thought nothing of this solitude, it mirroring the almost permanent days of white overcast skies I experienced.  These same places are now packed with people and an irresistible vibe.  It makes me think twice about my ability to judge a city from just one visit, the weather and mood of places having such an affect on one’s perception.

Teatro Colon Reapertura - May 25th, 2010

Among other pleasant changes, wandering the streets in the Microcentro, I passed this sign and thought to myself “que suerte!” in how perfectly this city had welcomed me back.  Teatro Colon, boasted as one of the most important opera houses in the world, will re-open this year.  And what could be better than the fact that it will open after a three year renovation on my birthday.  So now I must stay here at least until May.  Also an important date as it marks the 200th anniversary of the May Revolution when Argentina split from the Spanish to become an independent nation.

While the original plan was for it to re-open two years earlier on its 100th anniversary, in true Argentine style, there were some serious delays.  When I arrived in July I remember being so disappointed, as I had heard great reviews from friends about the backstage tours of costume rooms and the like and had planned for it to be one of the first stops on my itinerary.   In a matter of months, my wish to explore its beauty up close and personal will finally become a reality.

A little background info, that is, what I could translate from the all-Spanish website (English version in the works). Known for its acoustics, Teatro Colon is the second largest performing arts theater in the southern hemisphere, second only to the Sydney Opera house in Australia.  It opened in 1908 with a performance of Verdi’s Aida and occupies one square block on the famous 9 de Julio Avenue.  I lived in an apartment only a few blocks away when I was last here and found myself unable to walk by without starring up at it each time, despite all the dizzying scaffolding that surrounded it and traffic congestion and tall buildings that lined the streets nearby.

As a former ballet dancer, I take particular delight in the stunning list of dancers that have graced the stage – Anna Pavlova, Mijail Barishnikov, Paloma Herrera, and Rudolf Nureyev among others and of course a long breathtaking list of opera singers.  My heart races just at the thought of seeing Paloma Herrera on any stage.  So my obvious birthday wish is to see a ballet opening night.

Stunning views inside Teatro Colon. Photo: http://www.buenosaires.ws/blog

Since I haven’t had a chance to photograph this amazing landmark myself, my only option for a photo is one from the internet (one of the few photos I will use in this blog that is not one of my own).  And what an amazing site it is.  I am amazed by the classic beauty of renaiscance architecture and ceiling frescos and can’t wait to finally have a chance to take it all in.  It will also help fill my current void of watching the New York City Ballet this season, a subscription always one of my most coveted annual Christmas gifts.

The well-known Argentine photographer that I have gotten to know, Aldo Sessa, created an entire book based on a year he spent photographing backstage every single night.   Talk about my dream come true.  When I met him he told me it was one of his most favorite experiences as a photographer, and it’s easy to understand why.