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IDB celebrates 100th anniversary, restoration of Buenos Aires' historic Teatro Colón

In celebration of the centennial and restoration of Buenos Aires' Teatro Colón (Colón Theater), one of the world’s greatest opera houses, the IDB is hosting a lecture by its director, Dr. Horacio Sanguinetti, on Wednesday, May 21st, as well as an art and photography exhibit, opening the same day.

The restoration of Teatro Colón is a $25 million project, partially financed by the IDB through a $400 million loan approved in 1998, to support the fiscal reform of the city of Buenos Aires.

Dr. Horacio Sanguinetti, the Director of Teatro Colón speaks on the "Past and Present at the Teatro Colón," at 6:30 pm on May 21st in the IDB's Enrique V. Iglesias Conference Center.

Also on May 21st, the IDB's Cultural Center opens a photography and art exhibit, On with the Show! An Exhibition Celebrating the 100th Anniversary and Restoration of the Colón Theater, running through August 1, 2008.

Dr. Sanguinetti will talk about the history of the Colón Theater and its tradition of collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera, among others. He will also discuss the history of opera in Argentina from the colonial era to the Italian immigrations of the Belle Époque, as well as the renovation and future of the Colón Theater, and its importance in the world of classical music.

The exhibit features objects and photographs documenting the history and restoration of the theater, said IDB Cultural Center Director Félix Ángel. It will focus on the history, art and politics at the Colón Theater, the artists who have performed there, as well as the renovation and future plans for the theater, among other topics.

The Colón Theater has seen performances by scores of legendary musicians and artists, such as Maria Callas, Carlos Gardel, Enrico Caruso, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Luciano Pavarotti, José Cura, Beverly Sills, Marilyn Horne, Fredericka Von Stade, Arturo Toscanini, Jane Bathori, Claudia Muzio, Viorica Ursuleac, Jon Vickers, Renata Tebaldi, and Ástor Piazzolla.

The Teatro Colón first opened in 1908, after twenty years under construction. The horseshoe-shaped auditorium boasts 2,487 seats, plus standing room for 1,000. Its stage is 20 meters wide, 15 meters high and 20 meters deep; and it is renowned for its excellent acoustics.  The theater closed for refurbishment at the end of October 2006, with plans to reopen with fanfare in 2010.

The IDB and the Buenos Aires city government are providing financial support for the theater's renovation.

Dr. Sanguinetti's lecture, sponsored by the IDB Cultural Center, in collaboration with the Embassy of Argentina, will be in Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation into English. It is free and open to the public, but photo ID is required for admission. The event will be held at the Inter-American Development Bank's Enrique V. Iglesias Conference Center, located at 1330 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC.