Teatro Arriaga (Arriaga Theatre), Bilbao

Teatro Arriaga (Arriaga Theatre), Bilbao

Juan Crisostomo de Arriaga y Balzola, a brilliant Basque composer known as "the Spanish Mozart," died at the age of twenty. He was born on the same day as Mozart, 27 January, but fifty years later. Only fragments of his extraordinary works remain. The Neo-Baroque opera house, Arriaga Theatre (Teatro Arriaga), was built in 1890 and was dedicated to his memory.

The original opera house of 1890, known as the New Bilbao Theater, was built by architect Joaquin Rucoba, who also designed the Bilbao City Hall. The New Bilbao Theater soon took the name Arriaga Theater from Arriaga Square, where it was located.

Rucoba's design combined classical decoration with every technological advance available at the time. In 1890, the opera La Gioconda, by Italian composer Amilcare Ponchielli, marked the inauguration. A fire destroyed the building in 1914. Reconstruction was directed by architect and urban planner Federico Ugalde.

The theater today is a free-standing edifice with three divided elevations. The base level has pillar-supported enclosed arches topped by a continuous cornice. The second level holds the main "noble" floor with rectangular openings and decorated oculi. The third-level cornice has a railing and smaller rectangular windows.

The main facade is curved-convex. It is flanked by twin turrets. The side and rear exteriors have balconies supported by "Atlantean" corbels. The turrets have domes. The roof is sloping by mansards surrounding the building.

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Teatro Arriaga (Arriaga Theatre) on Map

Sight Name: Teatro Arriaga (Arriaga Theatre)
Sight Location: Bilbao, Spain (See walking tours in Bilbao)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Bilbao, Spain

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