Tenerife For Culture Vultures

Mon, March 26th, 2012 - By Linda

When I first arrived in the Canary Islands in 1987 it was a trade off. I put my cultural interests on hold in favour of a better climate for my asthmatic son and opportunities to start afresh in Tenerife, which was very up-and-coming. I didn’t speak Spanish and it was pre-satellite TV, so I knew I’d be missing out. Nowadays things are a lot different.

In 1987 there was Teatro Guimerá in Santa Cruz at least an hour and a half away on a motorway which ended at Reina Sofia airport, and pre-internet publicity was scarce, even if I had spoken Spanish. Now, with the click of a mouse I can source programs and information.

In 2003 Santiago Calatrava’s magnificent Auditorio de Tenerife was opened, and a new age in Tenerife’s cultural life began. It immediately became the home of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, which until than had struggled with inadequate acoustics in the Teatro Guimerá. These days there is a full winter classical music season. In autumn of that year an opera season was also inaugurated, bringing Verdi, Puccini and Wagner to our doorstep two or three times a year. Ballet companies of the calibre of The Moscow City Ballet now perform regularly on its stage, and musicals, world music events and the annual Heineken Jazz Festival mean that there is something for all tastes. Music, of course, is its own language and knows no barriers, and now that the motorway extends beyond Costa Adeje, getting there and back is easy.

With the respite provided by the opening of the Auditorium, Teatro Guimerá was renovated, and with the restoration of Teatro Leal in La Laguna completed in 2008 the island had three important venues. Guimerá and Leal are beautiful examples of 19th century/early 20th century theatres, with elaborate interiors and red velvet drapes, but most of the works performed in either require a decent knowledge of Spanish. I saw “Hamlet” a while back, but I have no idea how much of it I would have understood if it wasn’t so familiar.

If, like many of us, you like to complete a night at the theatre with supper before or after, then driving up to Santa Cruz perhaps isn’t for you, and this is where our luck in the south is changing. The stunning MAGMA Arts and Congress Center in Playa de las Americas, has, in recent years, begun to offer the odd performance. Conceived originally as an exhibition centre, its moveable, internal architecture can be arranged to become a theatre, and they are very competent in updating email subscribers. Their opening, Moscow City Ballet’s version of “Swan Lake” proved disappointing for me, only four rows back, but my view impaired by a fidgety guy in front, since the flooring is level, and not on a gradient like modern theatres. Choosing seats further back but slightly elevated solved that the next time. Though to be honest I would opt for a northern theatre given the choice, despite the drive.

With the opening of the Teatro Leonor in Los Cristianos last year cultural life for English speaking expats and visitors is looking up all the time, and with visits from Sting and Cirque du Soleil (albeit in the North) on the cards in the next twelve months there is much to look forward to.

Posted : Monday, March 26th, 2012 at 11:12 am
Category : about tenerife
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One Response to “Tenerife For Culture Vultures”

  1. colleen keyes says:

    Thanks for the aviso that Cirque du Soleil is coming. Much obliged!!

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