Teatro de Romea | Accidentally Wes Anderson

Teatro de Romea

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Murcia, Spain | C.1862

Photo Credit: Arturo Sánchez Barbado

Neoclassical inspiration is highly apparent among the more modern features on the grand façade of the Romea theater in Murcia, Spain. Located in the Plaza de Julian Romea in the historic center of the city it is the main theater of the town and one of the most important cultural references in the country.

The current location of the theater was formerly the property of the Dominicans who owned the Convent of Santo Domingo on the site. During the nineteenth century the land was expropriated by the State and redistributed for alternative uses. The process of the confiscation of the lands began in 1842 and ended in 1862 with the construction and inauguration of the theater.

The grand structure was designed by Diego Manuel Molina and initially received the name of Teatro de los Infantes until the Revolution of 1868, when it was changed to Teatro de la Soberania Popular. Molina styled the building in neoclassical fashion with modernist details. Upon the upper façade rest the busts of the three great musicians Beethoven, Mozart and Listz to remind people that they are entering a place of culture.

Shortly after opening, the theater suffered a terrible fire. The performance on February 7, 1877 had a display of fireworks to end the night. In the morning the theater was completely charred likely due to a smoldering remnant of a firework from the previous night. The theater was totally reconstructed and renovations were overseen by the architect Justo Millán.

Unfortunately, the theater would set ablaze once more in 1899 during their performance “Jugar con Fuego” – translated “Playing with Fire”. Audience members were struck with confusion when a burst of blinding light shot out during the performance. People were unsure if it was a part of the performance until the curtain shot up in flames causing a roar of panic as people ran to the doors. Two people ultimately lost their lives due to the tragic event.

Important moments in the history of the theater included various premieres of works by Jacinto Benavente – a famed Spanish dramatist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1922 – or the performance in 1933 of the university theater La Barraca, directed by Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. Today, the theater’s cultural program is very broad and inclusive of diverse theater including the arts of dance, music, concerts, flamenco, zarzuela to name a few.

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