COMMANDOpera is looking at the Teatro Municipal de Lima today. The actual name of just about every theatre in South America is titled so. Teatro Municipal. The only distinguishing factor is the city where each edifice resides to actually note which one belongs where (this is something of a challenge when referencing photographs). The theatre above is a restoration of the original Teatro Municipal, initially inaugurated with the name Teatro Forero for the first nine years of its existence until purchased by the City of Lima, ergo Municipal. In 1998 the theatre was destroyed by a cataclysmic fire similar to the Liceu and the Fenice. The theatre in Lima however was not so fortunate in its rebuilding efforts as Peru is a not a nation of great wealth: the structure remained a burnt out ruin for ten years. On the rare occasion, the theatre was opened only sporadically for ‘special occasions’.
The Teatro Municipal de Lima is something of an ornate jewel box in design, and when construction was finally made possible by the receipts from a city owned water park the restoration would be to restore the theatre to its original state. Obviously the mechanics of the new building would be completely state of the art and include such extras as anti seismic technology, fireproofing, and ’180 modern seats’. COMMANDOpera is obliged to note for readers the cost of the project was in the area of 30,000,000 Peruvian Sols which roughly translates to $10 million American. This venue cannot help but marvel at the achievement of this restoration at such a small price. One more notation while discussing money: not a dime was received from any ex patriate Peruvian artists who have done rather well for themselves. The Teatro Municipal finally reopened late last year after eighteen months of restoration, however the official re inaugural took place last month. The Teatro Municipal is not home to an official Opera company, however the National Symphony of Peru is in residence. COMMANDOpera assumes operatic works will be more frequently performed over time, perhaps with a more formal company in place alongside the Symphony.
COMMANDOpera cannot direct global readers a website venue to further peruse, although for those who are inclined, there is the City of Lima site (an enjoyable surf in itself). The Teatro Municipal de Lima is not out of the woods yet as the associated museum restoration, dressing room upgrades, and a few other minor details have run the budget up and is causing some difficulty. The price to finish? $3 million American. COMMANDOpera would suggest that a certain Peruvian Tenor now permanently in residence in Italy might offer a most gracious gift to resolve the dilemma, however one is not holding their breath.
Of any number of theatres COMMANDOpera has written on, it is perhaps the Teatro Municipal de Lima which struck to the heart of this venue. This article has been on the back burner for several months, yet without question, COMMANDOpera would be publish the theatre’s story one day. While the poverty which grinds the life of far too many in Peru, this theatre is a beacon from all of them to exhibit publicly the pride they own.