Innovation and leadership emerge as keys of opera houses management in Ibero-America

On December 14th and 15th, the Ópera Latinoamérica Annual Conference was held at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, along with the first face-to-face meeting of Argentinian opera houses.

More than 45 lyrical organizations gathered in two days of work that installed new guidelines for the sustainability of the lyrical scene management in the upcoming years: international cooperation, the strengthening of leadership, and innovation in a context of global changes.

The next Ibero-American conference –which will gather members of Ópera XXI and Ópera Latinaomérica– will take place in April 2022, hosted by the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, which will be celebrating its 175th anniversary.

Focused on the continuation of collaborative work at an international level, the creation of new leaderships and the promotion of innovation in a context of global changes, the 2021 meeting of Ibero-American and Argentinian theaters, held at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, pondered the guidelines to achieve sustainability in the management of opera houses.


The activities of the 2021 meeting, which had the participation of more than 45 Ibero-American organizations and theaters – members of OLA and the new Network of Opera Houses of Argentina – included workshops and conferences in a hybrid format, with face-to-face guests and others who joined online.


International collaboration, leadership and innovation


The conference began on Tuesday 14 with a board meeting of Ópera Latinoamérica. The board of the network – formed by María Victoria Alcaraz in the presidency; Andrés Rodríguez and Ramiro Osorio in the vice presidency; and Carmen Gloria Larenas, Malena Muyala, Alonso Escalante, Ignacio García-Belenguer and Andrea Caruso – was renewed for a new period of three years and added Flavia Furtado, executive director of the Festival de Ópera Amazonas of Brazil.  Likewise, the executive direction of OLA in charge of Alejandra Martí was ratified for a new period.


The day continued with a ceremony in which the Constitutive Charter of the Network of Opera Houses of Argentina was signed, a new initiative led by the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires that brings together the most representative theatres in Argentina, who met online during the pandemic.


Salón Dorado (“Golden Hall”) of the Teatro Colón was the place where the first conference and workshop of the meeting was held, focused on artistic programming and co-production. In addition, different artistic projects and future seasons of the participating theaters were presented.


On Wednesday 15, representatives of organizations and opera houses moved to the Colón Fábrica museum to dialogue – in a hybrid format, with face-to-face guests and others connected remotely – about the ecosystem of lyrical institutions. In the context of a world facing accelerated changes because of the pandemic and climate change, the conversation gathered the different experiences of the participating theaters. On the same occasion, the facilities of Colón Fábrica were toured, which was very appreciated by all the participants.


Stage design for “The Tales of Hoffman” by Offenbach. Photo: Juan José Bruzza.


One of the central points of the discussions was international cooperation in an interconnected scenario, where OLA has played a fundamental role in recent years through its forums and meetings, in addition to the development of the marketplace platform Escena Digital. The establishment of multidisciplinary work was also constituted as an emphasis of conversation and agreements. In the meeting it was agreed to develop a special program for symphony orchestras – with legal personality – to establish new collaborations for the lyrical scene.


Likewise, it was established the need to promote and encourage the creation of national networks of theaters in the region, which are added to those existing in Argentina and Brazil and those that are in the process of being established in Uruguay and Colombia.


The importance of generating solid leadership was rescued due to the transformations caused by the coronavirus crisis in the teams of organizations. The changing global scenario also invited to work according to the challenges around innovation and sustainable theater management. The objectives focused on generating proposals to renew the management models that contribute to the development and growth of lyrical activities in Ibero-America.


The day concluded with the presentation of the guidelines of the network for the coming years. Among these is the confirmation of the next Ibero-American meeting to be held in April 2022, which will be hosted by the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona as part of the celebration of its 175th anniversary. On this occasion, the theaters belonging to Ópera Latinoamérica and the network of Spanish theaters Ópera XXI will participate, in addition to the invitation of outstanding Catalan leaders in culture, entertainment and innovation.



Tours and visits


During the days of the meeting, the participants were also able to know other artistic places of Teatro Colón and Buenos Aires. On the first day, guests toured the sewing and shoe workshops and the theater’s ballet rehearsal room. The day ended with a performance of Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, the most recent opera production by the Argentine theatre.


“La finta giardiniera” by W.A. Mozart with musical direction by Marcelo Ayub and stage direction by Hugo De Ana.


On Wednesday, a visit was made to the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA). Then, the guests went to the Colón Fábrica Museum, inaugurated in October 2021 and located in the neighborhood of La Boca. In this place there are years of history impregnated in the different productions that the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires has created.