Gran Teatro de La Habana

The Grand Theatre of Havana

The Grand Theatre of Havana, the oldest active theatrical institution in Latin America, was inaugurated February 18, 1838, under the name of Grand Theatre of Tacón.  Shortly, thanks to the magnificence of their spectacle halls and the celebrity of the artists that were presented there, its fame transcended the frontiers of the island. After several reformations, both in its facade as well as in its interior, the building was remodelled to lead the way to its current form. In its history, it has been known by other names, such as Grand National Theatre, Estrada Palma Theatre and García Lorca Theatre.

In 1915 the theatre reopened its doors in the current building, in an opera season offered by important representatives of the lyrical art of the time. At present, it constitutes one of the most magnificent architectural exponents in the Cuban capital.  Since its foundation, the most noted foreign figures and ballet companies, opera and drama have performed in the scenarios of this theatre, dancers such as Fanny Elssler and Ana Pávlova; actresses Sara Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse; singers Enrico Caruso, Titta Rufo, Victoria de los Ángeles and Teresa Berganza; the Kirov Ballet of Leningrad and the XX Century Ballet of Maurice Béjart; as well as the great French mime Marcel Marceau.

Excellent personalities of the music such as pianists Serguei Rachmáninov, Arthur Rubinstein and Daniel Barenboim; cellist Pablo Casals, violinist Jascha Heifetz, and guitarist Andrés Segovia have also contributed to the prestige of its long history. Also, the most famous national artists have performed in different genres: Ignacio Cervantes, José White, Ernesto Lecuona, Alicia Alonso and Rita Montaner, among others. Since 1965 the theatre is the permanent headquarters of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

In 1985, on the initiative of Alicia Alonso, the complete building was denominated Grand Theatre of Havana, keeping aside the name of García Lorca for its principal hall.

Since 1960, the Grand Theatre of Havana has been the main scenario for the International Ballet Festivals of Havana, prestigious dance gathering in which dancers of all continents have participated.