Patricia Alaeddine: “Cali is a city that squanders talent, from here many lyrical singers go out to the world”

Interview with Patricia Alaeddine, Director Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura de Cali


Opened in 1927 and declared a national monument in 1982, Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura is located in the center of the city of Santiago de Cali. Under the slogan “Share emotions” the caleño stage has provided the community for 92 years, quality shows and an annual lyrical production, and Lucia di Lammemoor is the next title.


The Theatre was first opened in 1927 with the opera Il Trovatore. It is an architectural jewel and has been the main cultural centre of Cali. What has been your programming line in recent years and the artistic plans for the future?

The Theatre opens in 1927 with a season of opera. The first presentation was Il Trovatore, followed by Tosca, Rigoletto, La Bohème, Aida, Lucia de Lammermoor, La Traviata and L’elisir d’amore.  Since then the lyric genre has had an important space with presentations from companies from different parts of the world.

Continuing with that tradition of opera, each year we celebrates the anniversary of the Theatre with a performance. Where in recent years have passed operas such as Pagliacci, Traviata, Carmen, the Zarzuela Cecilia Valdés, this year the opera that will be staged is Lucia di Lammermoor.

The programming line in the last 92 years has always been classical, highlighting opera, theatre, dance and music in its different genres.

We have two cultural projects: The Children’s Sundays, where each month children and their families attend the presentation of a beautiful work.  The Inter-college of Theatre and Performing Arts for Young People is a space to discover talents in young people of the different Educational Institutions of Colombia, where they have the opportunity to adapt or create a work in a 10 month period part of the academic agenda. With this we comply with the audience development for future generations.


Colombia is a country that has had a strong development in the public-private partnership. Being an attorney with experience in the private and public sector, how do you project this equation into the Theatre management model?

It is very important the synergies that are established with these two alliances. Today we have in our tax status according to article 125: donations that are contributed for the development, social, health, culture, sports and scientific research, grant incentives that allow to deduct from their income the amount donated. It is very important income for public entities that do not have many resources to develop their projects.

Our permanent challenge is to be able to count on the public sector and the private company in order to sponsor projects and activities of art and culture, where these artistic manifestations are appreciated by the assiduous spectators and visitors to our theatre.

© Luis Felipe Cardenas

You have announced that within your plans as a Director there is a strong link with the community. What kind of work do you hope to develop?

Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura is a theatre for the community based on the premise and importance in developing new audience. With the presentations of foreign artistic productions, national, regional and those of the theatre, maintaining a high quality. It is transformed into an inclusive space where new talents and productions can be shown and empowered, for the great stages of the world.

With guided tours, exhibitions, workshops and outreach activities we bring the inhabitants of the region and foreigners to know Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura, a national heritage since 1982.


How has the development of lyric singers in Cali been, do you have plans to support and / or encourage them?

The city of Cali has been the birthplace of great artists of lyrical music, from here there have been singers who have toured the world as Luis Angel Mera, who at the time was presented at The Metropolitan Opera in New York. The teacher Francisco Vergara Sardi who has sponsored many artists in Germany. Zoraida Salazar (Switzerland) soprano. Also Juan Carlos Mera baritone (Germany) among others. All of them were very important, offering opportunities to new generations.

Today, the mezzo-sopranos Fiorella Hincapié and Adriana Bastidas (Germany), the tenors Andrés Orozco (Germany), Enrique Bárcenas (New York), Hans Mogollón, Gustavo Hernández, Cesar Cortés (Barcelona); the bass Marcelo Mejía (Germany); and the sopranos Betty Garcés, Gabriela Mazuera. And many more that have had the formation of the opera department of the Universidad del Valle de Ópera and the Antonio María Valencia Conservatory.

De vuelta a mi tierra, is a concert that brings to our city the Colombian singers of the lyrical genre that triumph abroad so that the Cali people enjoy their varied repertoires.

In turn, in November the theatre celebrates its anniversary, where we offer the public an opera, operetta or zarzuela production in memory of its inauguration. This has led us to be aware and responsible about the need for our city to have a lyrical company. We are making progress on this, with a possible reposition of 2018 Traviata.

I could say with certainty that Cali is a city with a valuable artistic sensibility, which not only produces art but also squanders talent, many artists leave Cali for the opera houses of the world.


Cali is a city with a strong sports background although it has several theatres. How do you evaluate the development of music and performing arts in the city?

Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura since its construction more than 91 years ago became the cultural epicenter of the region, where the great artists of the world have passed and where the doors have been opened to our artists.

Cali has been a city with a lot of memory and cultural artistic richness. The maestro Enrique Buenaventura, playwright and writer who transformed the Colombian theatre and a fair recognition of that legacy, Teatro Municipal  is named after this Valle del Cauca pride.

The theatrical movement is very varied, at this moment the different artistic manifestations are presented, in conventional spaces, and twelve venues with which the city counts and in outdoor spaces, which gave way to the International Theatre Festival where they stand out local artists and foreign productions are invited.

In music and dance, it has become the epicenter of southwestern Colombia, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Cali that performs concerts every fortnight, the Jazz Festival, the National Festival of the Best Trios, and every two years the Biennial of Dance and every year A Ballet Festival among others.

Cali has an offer of Festivals such as the Petronio Álvarez music of the Pacific, Vallenato Festival, Mercedes Montaño Dance Festival and the Bolero Festival.

What kind of alliances do you have with theaters in Colombia and Central America? Do you expect to increase this type of relationship in the future?

For us it is very important to make alliances with the theatres of Colombia. In fact there was a National Theatre network, which allowed us to be active and updated in all the processes in both the technical and artistic world.

At this moment efforts are being made to reactivate the Network with the support of the Ministry of Culture, and we are in contact with theatres in Colombia and Latin America from where we have received proposals to develop artistic productions.


Teatro Municipal of Cali has just joined OLA, what are the challenges that motivate them about networking?

For me as director of Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura is a huge challenge because it means that we are part of a large organisation, where we will move forward in the construction and accompaniment of the lyric company for Cali, with the conviction and support of the network It would help to promote our lyrical art and other artistic representations.

The privilege of belonging to Ópera Latinoamérica allows us to exchange experiences and processes with the mission of promoting and making visible our singers and artists; and our lyrical scenario.


About Nayua Patricia Alaeddine

She was born in the city of Cali, on May 23, 1964. She studied law at the Santiago de Cali University and has a Master’s Degree in Political Studies, from the Javeriana University.

Similarly, within its academic preparation are the Diplomas: Political Law, carried out at the University of Our Lady of the Rosary in Bogotá, The Mediation Function of the Chronic Conflict, the New Constitution and the Guardianship Claims Action for Rights at the Javeriana University of Cali, and Civil Part within the Criminal Procedure, carried out at the Universidad Santiago de Cali.

She also participated in the seminars: International Relations Workshop held at the Javeriana University and the Public Relations Workshop organized by the Santiago de Cali University.

In the labor field she has worked as an independent lawyer in the company Abogados Asociados, Commercial Advisor of Royal & Sunalliance, Director of the Tax Regime of Cali Salud and Private Secretary of the Mayor Ricardo Cobo.