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Montevideo's Solís Theater - the oldest operating opera house in the Americas


The first performance in Montevideo's Solís Theater was held August 25th, 1856. The renovated theater still hosts an active schedule of plays, concerts, ballets, and operas.

Solís Theater construction and architecture: 

 New Eastern Republic of Uruguay seeks to institute opportunities for the arts 
Solís Theater stage
As the new country of Uruguay began to establish a national identity, many felt the desire for cultural development. To this end, a group of 156 Uruguayans purchased shares in a private company to build and operate an opera house/theater in Montevideo. The theater was to be named after the Spanish Explorer, Juan Diaz de Solís, who was the first European to come ashore in, what would become, Uruguay.

Construction starts in 1840 but stops due to war 
Architect Modena Carlos Zucchi designed the Solís Theater in 1840 and work began the same year. However, with the foundation complete and the walls partially constructed, the work stopped in 1843 due to The Great War (a civil war, which included a siege on Montevideo). The shareholders of the Company formed a committee to store and protect the building materials that had been imported from Europe (which included Russian Red Pine, Italian Marble, and Genoa Slate) until the war ended and construction could resume.

Solís Theater completed in 1856 
The war took its toll on Uruguay’s economy and in 1852 the Company hired Architect Francisco Javier De Germendia, who modified Zucchi’s original plan to help make it more affordable to build. Construction moved forward and the theater was completed. The opening performance was held on August 25, 1856.

Additions, improvements, and renovations 
After its completion, the Solís Theater would undergo a number of additions, improvements, and renovations over the next 150 years. The side wings were constructed in 1869 and 1874. In 1881 the original wood ceiling was replaced by a metal ceiling made in France. In 1882 the stage was widened. There was another series of renovations between 1905 and 1910. The most recent renovation was from 1998 to 2004.

The Solís Theater went from private to public ownership in 1937 when it was sold to the Municipality of Montevideo.

The Solís Theater has four rings
Architectural design 
The Solís Theater has a neoclassic design. The main facade is believed to be inspired by the Carlo Felice Theater in Genoa.The main hall has a slightly elliptical shape, like the alla Scala Theater in Milan, and has stalls and four rings like a traditional opera house. The interior itself is very similar to the Metastasio Theater in Prato, Italy. 


Click here for current and upcoming events at the Solís Theater

Solís Theater box office hours:
Tuesday – Saturday: 11 am to 8 pm.
Sundays, Mondays and holidays: 3 pm to 8 pm.
On performance days, the box office remains open until the performance begins.

Solis Theater event tickets also available at:
Palacio de la Música at Punta Carretas Shopping: Ellauri 350 Loc 136
Palacio de la Música at Tres Cruces: by Artigas
Palacio de la Música in Centro: 18 de Julio, 1112 at the corner of Paraguay
Palacio de la Música at Portones: Avenue Italia and Bolivia 
CD Warehouse El Gaucho: July 18, 1425 at the corner of Ejido

Solis Theater tours:
Tours are available everyday and are led by actors in character.
Tour times:
Monday – Friday: 11 am, noon, 4 pm
Saturdays: 11 am, noon, 1 pm, and 4 pm
Sunday: 11 am, noon, 4 pm
(4 pm showings may sometimes be cancelled due to performances.)
Tours cost 20 pesos (about 1 US dollar) per person, and are free on Wednesdays.
Tours are in Spanish. Tours are available in English and Portuguese (at a cost of 40 pesos per person), but should be pre-booked: call (598) 1950-3323 or (598) 1950-3325

Office phone hours:
Monday – Friday: 11 am – 7 pm
Saturday, Sunday, and holidays 3 pm – 7 pm
(598) 1950-3323 or (598) 1950-3325
(recording 1950-1856)

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