Opera puerto rico: Puerto Rico’s Most Important Theaters
Puerto Rico’s Most Important Theaters
Grab a ticket for an event at one of these top theaters, concerts halls, cinemas or performing arts venues.
Puerto Rico has numerous performing arts venues — theaters, concert halls, cabarets, and arenas – that offer diverse options to enjoy art and entertainment. As you explore the island’s numerous natural wonders and cultural institutions, find time to experience an event at one of the island’s noteworthy theaters (teatros). Many of them include a historic component that reflect the era when they were built, making them architectural jewels that in some cases date back to the 19th century. There are also several modern venues that are praised for their architectural features and technological innovation.
Here are a few of Puerto Rico’s top venues to enjoy an evening of culture:
The Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center building is a masterpiece on its own.
Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferré, Santurce
If you’re a theater or concert buff, check out a show at this state-of-the-art performing arts center, which features five stages, including an opera house (where HAMILTON was performed in January 2019), a theater hall, a black box theater, a cabaret, and a symphony hall that is home of the Puerto Rican Symphony Orchestra. The center has a year-round schedule of plays, operas, musicals, dance and music performances, including the world-renowned Casals Classical Music Festival. Artists like singer Plácido Domingo, Menudo, and Lin-Manuel Miranda (with his hit Broadway musicals HAMILTON and In The Heights) have taken the stage at the CBA. Beyond the building, the neighborhood is home to numerous art exhibits, museums, murals, restaurants, and more.
Old San Juan
This neoclassical structure, inaugurated in 1832, is the oldest freestanding performing arts theater still in use within U.S. jurisdiction. Located at the southern corner of the walled city of Old San Juan, it is named after noted 19th-century Puerto Rican playwright Alejandro Tapia y Rivera. Designed as a horseshoe-shaped opera house, the Tapia has remained core to the island’s rich culture. The 640-seat venue hosts many events and theatrical productions, including operas, ballets, and plays. If you’re in Old San Juan and are in search of an enriching evening of performing arts, make sure to check the schedule at this charming venue.
Teatro La Perla
The island’s second-oldest theater still in operation, Teatro La Perla, was built in 1864 with a distinct neoclassical style evident in its six imposing columns at the entrance. The original façade was rebuilt in 1940 after an earthquake destroyed the building. Known as the most prominent performing arts venue on Puerto Rico’s south coast, La Perla was the site of the first silent film ever shown in Puerto Rico (screened by Frenchman Eduardo Hervet in 1901). Nowadays, the theater is central to performing arts in the southern city of Ponce and nearby areas. Teatro La Perla hosts plays, concerts, operas, ballets, film screenings, and local civic activities — like graduations and community meetings. The theater’s lobby includes an exhibit that highlights the building’s history and importance in Puerto Rico’s arts and culture scene, as well as famous shows and performances that have taken place at the venue.
The historic Hollywood Theater in Coamo.
Originally constructed in 1918, this historic movie palace recently underwent a major restoration after being closed for more than a decade. Initially one of the main entertainment venues in the Villa de San Blas de Illescas in Coamo, it now serves as a single-screen theater that shows movies at affordable prices and is one of the most popular attractions in this southern municipality best known for its hot springs. The Hollywood Theater presents first-run premieres as well as special family features on weekends, and it also hosts screenings of European and Latin-American cinema. In addition to movies, the theater doubles as a venue for private events and is available for rentals. The Hollywood Theater operates seven days a week and is located steps from the town’s main plaza.
Similar to the Hollywood Theater in Coamo, many other municipalities have historic venues that double as movie screens and playhouses in downtown areas. Noted examples include The Excelsior in Cabo Rojo, the Taboas in Manatí, the Sol in San Germán, and Liberty in Quebradillas, among many others.
Known as the “Cathedral of Sound Film (a.k.a. Talkies),” Teatro Yagüez is considered an architectural masterpiece. A horseshoe-shaped palace with marble walls and a stunning chandelier (similar to that of «The Phantom of the Opera»), the theater has been the stage for cultural and performing arts events dating back to the early 20th century. It was registered as a historic landmark in 1976. The original façade was destroyed by a fire in 1919, but since its reopening in 1920, the Yagüez has anchored cultural activity in Puerto Rico’s west coast. Many operas, plays, dance shows and films (silent and talkies) took place here over the years. Currently, the theater houses pop-culture events, concerts, and plays (locally produced and touring companies) mainly for Spanish-speaking audiences, though you may find some in English and ballet performances from time to time.
Teatro Francisco Arriví
One of the capital’s historic theaters, Teatro Francisco Arriví (formerly the Matienzo Theater) started as a first-run Art Deco movie theater in the 1940s. It was built by the first movie chain on the island, Circuito Llamas. By the 1960s the theater was known for showing Mexican, Argentinian and Spanish movies, and having guest appearances by movie stars and singers. The cinema was closed down in the 1970s and recently reopened as a performing arts theater. Now you can catch a play, small-scale musical or cultural festival, among the many events happening year-round. The Arriví Theater is located a few steps from the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center.
Tito Puente Amphitheater
As a Latin music icon of Puerto Rican heritage, it is no surprise that an important venue on the island would carry Tito Puente’s name. The Tito Puente Amphitheater, formerly known as Anfiteatro Luis Muñoz Marín, is the best-known outdoor theater in Puerto Rico — iconic for its theatrical plays and music performances. The facilities are rather simple when compared to other indoor theaters on the island, but the setting provides a warm and romantic atmosphere amidst the green of Luis Muñoz Marín Park, with performances taking place during sunsets and under starry evening skies. The venue is home to the world-renowned annual Heineken Jazz Festival, among other notable productions.
Teatro Shorty Castro
Named after one of Puerto Rico’s most noted comedians, Shorty Castro (1928-2018), this former movie house now serves as a cabaret or café teatro in San Juan, just around the corner from the Arriví Theater and the Ferré Performing Arts Center. It was used for a while as a TV studio, but it is now home to Teatro Breve, a local theater company that hosts weekly improv nights, comedy sketches, and other ensemble-developed productions. So, if you’re in for a night of laughter, cocktails, and some tapas, be sure to get a ticket for a performance at this Santurce location. The orchestra section has table seating, but the mezzanine has regular auditorium chairs, if you prefer.
Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot (Choli)
The largest arena in Puerto Rico, Coliseo José Miguel Agrelot is the go-to venue for larger events on the island. It hosts concerts with iconic entertainers, sports events and even stage plays. With nearly 20,000-seat capacity, the building was named after legendary comedian José Miguel Agrelot (1927-2004), whose character “Don Cholito” (pronounced DON SHOH-LEE-TOH in Spanish) became a staple on Puerto Rican Television. Many locals call the arena “Choliseo” or “Choli” (SHOH-LEE-SE-OH or SHOH-LEE) as a term of endearment that combines the words “Cholito” and “Coliseo”. Superstars like Van Halen, Phil Collins, Metallica, Madonna, and the Rolling Stones, among others, have taken the stage at El Choli. Its impressive and modern design stand out on the Hato Rey skyline and also from airplanes approaching SJU Airport. It has easy access via public transportation.
This movie theater chain is the only major company with presence in the island. It was founded in Puerto Rico, but the group quickly expanded throughout the Caribbean. The chain has more than 30 locations across the island that present new films and Hollywood blockbusters. Two of the locations are art-house cinemas that screen international and independent art movies. Caribbean Cinemas recently introduced its IMAX and 4DX experiences to Puerto Rico.
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“The Phantom of the Opera” Returns to Puerto Rico | Lifestyle
Maybe you’ve seen it on Broadway, maybe you’ve seen the movie. Regardless, “The Phantom of the Opera” brings drama, mystery, terror, and romance. Published in 1910, Gastón Leroux’s Gothic novel is set in 19th century Paris and is inspired by true events.
The Phantom lives deep within the catacombs, beneath the Paris Opera House, on the shores of an underground lake. Through accidents and terrifying apparitions, he tries to manipulate the hierarchy of the opera house in his attempts to push Christine Daaé, an amateur ballerina, into the spotlight. He must thwart the arrogant prima ballerina Carlotta, who dominates the stage but inevitably becomes obsessed with the noble and talented Christine, driving the story through to a dark end.
The Phantom of the Opera originally premiered as a ballet in 1997, specially commissioned by Ballet Concierto. Alberto Méndez, a renowned Cuban choreographer, choreographed the production, with music written by Puerto Rican musician, Raymond Torres.
The Phantom dances on stage
José Santiago, subministrada
In this rendition of the famous drama, Ballet Concierto has invited Taras Domitro to dance as the Phantom. Domitro was born in Havana, Cuba to Magaly Suárez, a dancer and teacher, and trained at the Alejo Carpentier School and National Ballet School of Cuba. He performed as a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Cuba, and in 2008 joined the San Francisco Ballet as principal dancer. In 2017, Domitro returned to Florida as a freelancer making international appearances to critical acclaim.
The members of Ballet Concierto will be joined by Betina Ojeda in the role of Christine Daaé and Áureo Andino in the role of Phillipe, both dancers of Mauro Ballet. Luis Víctor Santana, dancer of Coda21, will play the role of Raoul Chagny, and Johnal Fernández, also a guest dancer, will play the Sultan.
In Conversation with a Young Dancer
Aitana Padilla, Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico
“Carlotta is like a cat — she has nine lives,” Aitana Padilla laughs, explaining her role in Ballet Concierto’s The Phantom of the Opera.
In a conversation with THE WEEKLY JOURNAL, Padilla, a young 20-year-old dancer, describes the pressures of the ballet industry, as well as what it’s like to be part of a dynasty of dancers, and her excitement to perform the role of Carlotta.
“I started dancing when I was three years old. I started my dance training in my family’s ballet school, called Academia Franceschi, which is owned by my grandmother. Both my parents met, actually, in Ballet Municipal — they were both principal dancers,” Padilla tells of her foray into the world of ballet.
“So, they fell in love throughout that process. And of course, since they had me as their first daughter, I obviously had a lot of pressure to continue that tradition of the dance industry. So, I started taking classes that were either jazz, hip hop, ballet, a little Spanish dance, folkloric, stuff like that,” she continues.
Her cousin also dances, and this friendly familial competition motivated her to constantly improve.
“We’ve always been like, compared to look and do this better. Who can do that better? And like, I’m just tired of this but, I feel like sometimes it’s healthy,” Padilla explains, “I was more of the competitive one, you know, so I would always have grudges with my cousin, like, oh my gosh, she did three pirouettes today? I can only do two and a half — or something like that.”
Padilla dances the Spanish variation from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker
Despite having doubts about ballet when she was 10 years old, Padilla stuck with dance throughout high school, mixing in some musical theater and choreographing some works of her own on the way. Much of her hesitation towards pursuing ballet professionally was due to the art form’s strict traditions around propriety and appearances.
“You need to be careful of the way you do things or else that can scar your entire reputation. Behave yourself in the studio, in the way you address yourself to other people. For example, every time we’re in a class, we need to be like this,” she gestures with her arms, “We cannot be like this. We have to be like that. So, it’s been like always about posture and respect. If you do the slightest, like yawn in the class, they’re gonna be like ‘Good morning Aitana, I can see you yawning over there’.”
Throughout her career, Padilla has experienced constant pressure to maintain or lose weight. Being a performing art — visual, artistic, and athletic — the world of classical ballet is extremely critical of appearances. Upon looking at her, you wouldn’t think that Padilla has been criticized for her size, ever. Yet, it’s something she has had to face, including being denied roles, because of centuries of aesthetic customs.
“Something that makes me stand out from the other dancers is that I have a very strong mentality, I won’t let anything like take me down. I wouldn’t like, tell myself — Okay, I’m not gonna do this. I’m too fat or something. I learned that from my cousin who has suffered a lot [due to the dance industry]. I’m like, I’m not letting that happen to me,” Padilla says.
Padilla dances the Spanish variaiton in front of Clara and the Prince in The Nutcracker
On being chosen for the role of Carlotta, Padilla expressed that it was a surprise and that she kept it secret from her mother and grandmother until the last minute. Her explosive and powerful style of dancing is perfect for the role of Carlotta. Padilla has danced similarly powerful roles, such as the Spanish variation in The Nutcracker, and the Black Swan in Swan Lake.
“I’m a diva, but I am not mad. I just need to see if everyone can just like do the work for me. So, it’s just like that very commanding aspect,” Padilla says of the role of Carlotta, “I do have the idea, which I think is the very hardest part of this role because it’s just a fine line between being mad and jealous. It’s like she keeps the mad, the anger inside. But I’m still a 20 year old. That is the challenge for me; I still haven’t gone through that many life experiences to know how I should feel if this happens to me.”
For the ballet scene in Puerto Rico, Padilla hopes that the various companies will one day unite as a single national ballet company — bringing together the best talent, artistry, and funding to represent the island under one banner.
Where And When
The Ballet Concierto of Puerto Rico will be performing The Phantom of the Opera, with invited soloist Taras Domitro, on Saturday, April 9 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 10 at 4:00 p.m. Both performances will take place in the Sala de Festivales Antoni Paoli at the Fine Arts Center (Centro de Bellas Artes) in Santurce.
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