Uruguay – Fact Check

Uruguay's Teatro Solís is not just any opera house

Teatro Solis was built in 1852 when Montevideo had only 34,000 inhabitants, frequent cholera outbreaks and had just ended a 13-year civil war. Recently refurbished, it stands on Plaza Independencia and offers opera, ballet and concerts.

Photo by Stefano Paterna / Alamy

Uruguay – Fact Check

Uruguay's Teatro Solís is not just any opera house

The neo-classical Teatro Solís, Uruguay's oldest theatre located in Montevideo's Ciudad Vieja, started construction in 1852 when the country had just emerged from a long civil war. It still stands as one of the most iconic venues for classical music in Latin America.

Kieran Meeke
Kieran Meeke Travel Writer

Montevideo was still subject to regular cholera outbreaks and had a population of only 34,000. As such, it is more than a theater and stands as a symbol of the ambitions of the new nation itself, a position confirmed by its dominant place on Plaza Independencia. It is named for the Spanish-Portuguese navigator who first explored the River Plate in 1516.

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso performed here in the early 1900s to acclaim, although legend has it he was booed off stage. He also left the legacy of a pasta sauce named after him, said to have been created from ingredients to hand when he asked for an Italian dish in a local restaurant. The sauce of cream, onions, cheese, ham, nuts and mushrooms has been listed as part of Uruguay's national heritage.

Tango singer Carlos Gardel, who claimed Uruguay as his birthplace at one time, was another popular star associated with the theater, which now features ballet and popular music as well as opera. A major reconstruction in 1998, which included two capital columns designed by French architect Philippe Starck, made the venue – which already carries an indestructible legacy – future-proof.