Cuba Reopens Iconic Great Theater of Havana

The recently restored Great Theater of Havana Alicia Alonso, which held its inaugural gala on Jan. 1, 2016, is seen in this undated photo. | Photo: Granma

The theater was recently renamed after Alicia Alonso, the famed Cuban ballerina who attended the opening gala.

After three years of restoration efforts, Cuban officials reopened the iconic Great Theater of Havana Friday on the occasion of the 57th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

Several prominent politicians, including President Raul Castro, attended the inaugural gala.

The theater was recently rechristened the Great Theater of Havana Alicia Alonso after the famed Cuban prima ballerina assoluta who attended the gala alongside Castro.

The 95-year-old Alonso is a very well-known and regarded figure in the world of ballet and has been a consistent defender of the Cuban Revolution.

The inaugural gala featured a performance of the “Triptico Clasico” in homage to the revolution and was presented by the National Ballet of Cuba, which was founded by Alonso with the support of the Cuban revolutionary government in 1959.

The “Triptico Clasico” featured a partial performances of Swan Lake, Coppelia, and Giselle, the ballet that Alonso was most famous for performing, as she prepared the choreography as well.

Cuban Minister of Culture Julian Gonzalez Toledo detailed the work that went into the three-year restoration effort, which included the installation of a new and modern light and sound system. A statue of Alonso was installed in the theater’s vestiuble as well.

The theater originally opened in 1838, making it the oldest theater still in use in the Americas. It became the headquarters of the National Ballet of Cuba in 1965.

The principal hall, the Federico Garcia Lorca auditorium, has a capacity of 1,500 people.

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