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Mahon’s Teatro Principal

Mahon, Menorca is known for its huge natural harbour, British colonial architecture, and of course, its delicious namesake cheese. But visitors to this east-coast Menorcan city may be surprised to learn that Mahon also has a sizable influence in the music world. Nowhere is this more evident than in the city’s imposing opera house – the Teatro Principal.

Mahon's Teatro Principal, Spain's oldest opera house, still offers amazing performances to this day

History

In the nineteenth century, opera was rapidly growing in popularity among Mahon society. As new lyrical works imported from Italy demanded more and more in terms of presentation and venue, the need for a larger, more sophisticated opera house became clear. The Teatro Principal was built in 1829 upon the site of the city’s former opera house – which had been completed only ten years earlier. Today, the Teatro is one of the oldest opera houses in Spain.

Architecture

Built in the eighteenth century Italian style, the Teatro Principal is undeniably grand. When you walk into the theatre, you’ll be dazzled by the gold accents and rich red upholstery of the seats. The main hall is horseshoe-shaped, surrounded by sixteen arches supporting four rows of seating boxes with a total capacity of just below a thousand. The soaring ceiling is covered with decorative panels and features a magnificent central medallion and glittering chandelier.

Compared to the interior, the opera’s outer façade is modest. Carved from local stone, the arched entryway is accentuated by a three-metre bronze statue of Thalia, the ancient Greek Muse of comedy and poetry.

Visiting

If you’re interested in seeing a show at the Teatro or you simply want to look around, getting into Mahon is easy. Situated on the eastern corner of Menorca, the city is easily reached from some of the island’s best beach resorts on the south-east coast. Binibeca, Sant Lluis, and Punta Prima are all within a twenty-minute drive to the south. We have a wide selection of properties in these areas, so you can enjoy beachside tranquillity with city amenities only a few miles away.

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