|Admiring comments were made about the ornamentation,
paintings and sculptures that decorated the theater, accentuated by the
fact that there was nothing similar at that time in Costa Rica.
At 7:45 p.m., the curtain rose and the first chords of Faust filled
the agiornoilluminated gallery, transporting the audience far into the
realms of ecstasy.
The next day, San José was immersed in the still-fresh memories
of the opening.
The press glorified the spectacle and commented on the talent and beauty
of the French divas. The French Opera Company was to perform 64 more times,
including works like Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Boccacio and La Traviata,
thus closing the first chapter in the history of famous performances in
the National Theater.
1997 was the year of the centenary. Though San Joséís landscape has changed
since carriages and trams clattered through its streets, the National Theater
is still one of the cityís major jewels. It is a time capsule in which
much of nineteenth century Costa Rica is still guarded and the applause
of many generations is still heard.
Every day thousands walk before the theater where composer Ludwig van
Beethoven and poet Calderón de la Barca busts embellish the Renaissance
façade that features sculptures of the muses of music, Dance and
Fame, by Pietro Bulgarelli.
Even as Costa Rica is famous for its natural wonders, the National Theater
is a must for visitors interested in the culture and history of this country.
The hall is open to the public, including the second-floor foyer. There
is also a café inside the theater and continuous exhibitions in
A major attraction, the theater can be visited on the corner of Second
avenue and Fifth street, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. to
4:45 p.m. The entrance fee is: ¢600 (approximately US$2.50).
Special thanks to Dr. Astrid Fischel V., who brought back to life the
history of the National Theater.