A remote opera house is reopened after 60 years

A remote opera house is reopened after 60 years


norman lebrecht

January 15, 2014

Cartagena, on a northern promotory of Colombia has been off the operatic map since the 1950s. All the more reason for Rinaldo Alessandrini to put it back where it belongs with a production of Rossini’s Cenerentola. All we ever read about Colombia is drugs. Here’s a different take.



  • V.Lind says:

    This is wonderful news. Cartagena is a charming and cultured city, and has a great old theatre and various other offerings. I have always enjoyed my visits there — I will have to keep an eye on this opera house to see if a subsequent trip (alas, not in the immediate offing) can be made to coincide with a production there.

  • MWnyc says:

    On this side of the pond, Cartagena isn’t considered all that remote.

    Yes, like most of Colombia’s coast, it’s cut off from the rest of the country by mountains. But Cartagena has been a well-established tourist destination for many years, thanks to its combination of Caribbean beaches and handsome colonial architecture. Its northern coastal location just makes it that much closer to North America; the mountains – and policing to keep the tourists coming – kept it relatively safe from the drug cartel violence and political guerrilla warfare that plagued the rest of Colombia for so long.

    So it’s good to see classical music getting a new toehold there.

    By the way, Norman, drugs aren’t really all we hear about from Colombia anymore. The problem isn’t completely gone, for sure, but the days when the Medellin and Cali drug cartels terrorized the entire nation are over, though the guerrilla rebellion isn’t over yet, alas. (Bigger alas, the drug violence has moved to Mexico, which has had a horrendous last decade.)

    Medellin is evidently considered relatively safe these days by Latin American standards, and there are reportedly interesting experiments in urban design and public architecture happening there. Vicious cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar’s mansion has even become a tourist attraction.

  • Albert says:

    I must agree with the readers above!

    Cartagena is a cultured, historic city with a tremendous appetite for the arts. It’s not remote at all! On the contrary, it’s a major port city. North Americans and British, perhaps, are not frequent visitors to Cartagena, but this shouldn’t lessen its importance internationally. It’s an exquisitely beautiful city, with an active bohemian, arts-loving community rich with well-educated and cultured Colombians and international expats.

    It;s an inexpensive and un-exploited tourist destination, and yes, it is very safe and foreigners are treated royally!.