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by Bob Trimble
June 1, 2008
Los Gatos, California
January 15, 2004
Andres Librado Tapia was in charge of the design. It was under the patronage of businessman Manuel Rubio that the theater was being erected, when he died while on a trip to Europe. His widow, Vicenta Unzeta, took over and continued the work. It was opened to the public by early 1874, but she was forced to sell the theater three years later.
Between 1878 and 1880 the new owner, Juan Batista Hernandez, ordered a complete renovation of the property. From a popular theater with wooden benches and balcony, the theater was transformed into a luxurious one. It was said to be "the most comfortable and elegant" with fifteen colored stages made expressly in Paris.
In August, 1883, the company of Mexican opera singer Angela Peralta, "the Mexican Nightingale", arrived in Mazatlan preceded by great fame. The diva was received with great honors by the City Council. Unfortunatly, she wasn't able to perform, becoming infected with yellow fever upon her arrival. She died a few days later at the Hotel Iturbide next to the theater.
With time the building degraded. In 1943 it was named "Angela Peralta" and had already been converted into a cinema. Afterwards, it was used as a box arena, with the local idol, Joe Conde, as the star of the show. Finally it became a mechanical workshop for "pulmonias". Already abandoned and in ruins during the carnival of 1969, the theater was the stage for a burlesque show.
In 1975, Mazatlan was subject to the rage of hurricane Olivia, which left the theater in very poor condition. Luckily in 1987 its restoration began under the supervision of architect Juan Jose Leon Loya. On October 23rd, 1992, it was reinaugerated by the president of Mexico.
Today the theater boasts the most modern technical infrastructure and hosts all kinds of performances: concerts, ballets, recitals, operas, and stage plays, among others.
While in Mazatlan this time, we attended two performances at the theater. The first was a retrospective of John Lennon and the Beatles performed by the musical group, Help. The other was a ballet of The Nutcracker. Both were very well done.
From journal Magical Mazatlan
January 11, 2004
You should call the theater to check for an English-speaking guide if needed. We saw a tour guide come through with a small group, but he didn't give nearly the attention that we received by going direct.
From journal December in Mazatlan