A nostalgic look back, Gran Teatro de La Habana!

So  ,therefore, it is time to go back way back in my life when family immigrate and re immigrate we find ourselves with many nationalities and customs blending nicely thank  you. If you have read my blog careful, you will know that I have four passports! yes ! Welcome to the real world.  One of these passports is Cuban ,another is Spanish, later American, and finally I am French. However, it all goes back to the DNA and that is from Tenerife (Candelaria and Pàjara) Canary Islands of Spain.

One of the buildings that most explain the mixture of this immigration back and forth across the Atlantic ocean is embedded in Havana or San Cristobal de La Habana and the great history of the Gran Teatro or grand theater.  I was too young to visited, and when back had no time too many places to find your roots and show the new family. However, my parents told me a lot about it and I just passed by. It is time I give it the honor it deserves in my blog.

The Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso  as it is known today is located in the Paseo del Prado in the block formed by the interceptions of the current streets San Rafael, San José, Consulado and Paseo del Prado.  The theater has been home to the Cuban National Ballet and, on its main stage, to the International Ballet Festival of Havana. Its facilities include theaters, a concert hall, conference rooms, and a video screening room, as well as an art gallery, a choral center, and several rehearsal halls for dance groups and dance companies.  The  old Teatro Tàcon  across from the Parque Central (Central Park) had occupied part of the site for decades, it was named in honor of Captain General Miguel de Tàcon y  Rosique, governor of Cuba between the years 1834 and 1838 in the colonial period.

During the first years of Cuban independence when thousands of immigrants arrived in Cuba from Spain, a new building was constructed around it, preserving the original theater.  It was then known as the Centro Gallego or Galician Center, constructed to served as a social center for Galician immigrants to Havana. The building is decorated with a stone and marble statue as well as sculptures by Giuseppe Moretti, representing allegories depicting benevolence, education, music and theater. On the first picture below you will see part of the old ramparts walls of Havana over 4000 meters long at the time of Spain in Cuba.

The old theater Tàcon was arguably one of the best in the continent for its elegance, comfort and exceptional technical preparation. Years later, in 1914, the theater itself and the buildings around it were purchased to build in that location the Centro Gallego, which took up the entire block.  The construction of this building, financed by donations of Galician emigrants, began in 1908 and it opened in 1915 with an opera season offered by important artists of the period. In 1985, at the initiative of the prima ballerina Alicia Alonso, the building was renamed the Great Theater of Havana (Gran Teatro de La Habana).

In 1961, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of García Lorca’s death, the board of the Centro Gallego announced that the theater would change its name to that of the Granada poet as  Teatro Garcia Lorca. Then in 1981, the entire complex changed its name to Complejo Cultural del Gran Teatro García Lorca, now under Prima Ballerina Alicia Alonso Director of the National Ballet. Finally, in 1985, it received the name of Gran Teatro de La Habana. Following extensive renovations, the theater has reopened on January 1, 2016 and renamed to honor the Cuban prima ballerina Alicia Alonso or Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso.   The principal venue is the Garcia Lorca Auditorium, with seats for 1,500; it provides a stage for the Cuban National Ballet Company, as well as for other dance and musical performances.

During the 19C and 20C performances took place on its stage by artists of the highest rank, such as Ole Bull, Enrico Caruso, Fanny Elssler, Jenny Lind, Anna Pavlova, Antonia Mercé , Ruth Saint Denis, Ted Shawn ,Teresa Carreño , Vicente Escudero, Maya Plisetskay, Clorinda Corradi, Sarah Bernhardt, Wajd Alianabi, Carla Fracci, and Alicia Alonso as well remarkable companies such as the American Ballet Theater, the Royal Winnepeg Ballet, Ballet Antonio Gades , the Ballet of the Colont Theater of Buenos Aires, the Ballet Folclórico of Mexico, plus many other highly respected artists and ballet companies of the times.

A wonderful historical building gone thru many periods and still there. One of the sights to see in Havana indeed.

Some webpages on it are hard to find so will give you a couple to enjoy it, you can always look up the tourist board of Cuba in your country.

Infotur on the Gran Teatro

Cuba Travel on the Gran Teatro

Hope it helps. And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: