Cultural Events in Cuba for the current month
Gran Teatro de La Habana
Calle Prado entre San Rafael y San José, Centro Habana, Ciudad de La Habana
Built in 1837, although it was officially opened the following year, the former Tacón Theatre was one of the largest and best equipped in America in its time. Performers here have included the great ballerinas Fanny Elssler and Anna Pavlova, the major opera singer Enrico Caruso and the great actresses Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Dusse. In the early 20th century, the building was remodelled, maintaining the original theatre’s main performance space, now called Sala García Lorca. In keeping with tradition, 20th- and 21st-century stars such as Carla Fracci, Maia Plisetskaia, Victoria de los Ángeles, Julio Bocca, Vladimir Vlasiliev, Alicia Alonso, and Carlos Acosta have performed here. The Gran Teatro stages opera, zarzuela and Spanish dance performances, among others. As home to the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, it is the main venue of the International Havana Ballet Festival. A smaller space, the Sala Ernesto Lecuona, presents plays and chamber music, recitals and lectures, while the Orígenes Gallery is dedicated to the exhibition and sale of works by contemporary Cuban painters, sculptors and craftsmen.
Teatro Nacional de Cuba
Paseo y 39, Plaza de la Revolución, Ciudad de La Habana
Although its construction began in 1952, it was actually completed in 1979 when it opened with a gala performance on the occasion of the 6th Summit of Non-Aligned Countries held in Havana that year. Theatre, dance, concerts, recitals are performed in its two performance spaces: the 805-seat Sala Covarrubias, and the 2,545-seat Sala Avellaneda, where the great classics are staged during the Havana Ballet Festival. The foyers serve as art galleries where paintings, engravings, ceramics and photographs by Cuban and foreign artists are exhibited and sold. The Ninth Floor is used mainly for experimental and avant-garde theatrical productions. The Café Cantante Mi Habana and the Piano Bar Delirio Habanero, which are also part of this cultural complex, are two of the most popular clubs in Havana among Cuban popular music lovers.
Casa del Tango
Calle Neptuno entre águila y Galiano, Centro Habana, Ciudad de La Habana
Everyone agrees that tango arrived in Havana in 1920 when Argentinean tenor José Muñoz, member of an opera and zarzuela company, sang three tangos to save the day when the show seemed doomed to failure. Perhaps because it was influenced by the Cuban habanera, tango has been a favourite in the Island, reinforced by old movies?still shown on TV?of famous Argentine movie stars and singers Carlos Gardel and Libertad Lamarque, radio shows dedicated to this genre, and to the perseverance of a number of Cuban musicians and singers, including Berta Pernas, Santiago Marrero, pianist Rey Díaz Calvet and young trovadora Liuba María Hevia. The Casa del Tango, which developed spontaneously and has no link to any Cuban state institution, has for decades preserved recordings, posters, documents, photographs, sheet music, and other memorabilia, all related to this music genre. Every Monday, from 5 to 7 pm, tango devotees?attired in woolly scarves and felt hats in pure Buenos Aires style of the 30s and 40s?defy the torrid Cuban climate and attend the shows at this legendary music venue.
Calle 17 esquina a H, El Vedado, Ciudad de La Habana
Located in the home of the National Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC), this centre has a regular program of recitals, gatherings and shows. The Saturday night “Noche del Bolero” is famous for the performance of some of Cuba’s top soloists of this genre. For rumba lovers, every other Wednesday poet Eloy Machado (El Ambia) invites the best exponents of this popular genre, direct heir of African traditions. It also has a bar and restaurant with a menu dedicated to Cuban writers and artists, such as “Tropical Fruit Stained-Glass Window” (Amelia Peláez), fish fillet “Vigía” (Ernest Hemingway), witch chicken “Peña del Ambia”, and cocktails “The Rape of the Mulatto Women” (Carlos Enríquez), “The Jungle” (Wifredo Lam), and “The Kingdom of this World” (Alejo Carpentier).
Teatro Auditórium Amadeo Roldán
Calzada esquina a D, El Vedado, Ciudad de La Habana
Since its founding in 1928, sponsored by the Pro-Art Musical Society, this theatre has been honoured with the presence of extraordinary international figures of concert music: Jascha Heifetz, Arthur Rubinstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Jacques Thibaud, Eugene Ormandy, Andrés Segovia, Leo Brouwer, among others, as well as stars of popular music: Joan Manuel Serrat, Michel Legrand, Chucho Valdés, solo or with his famous group, Irakere, among other greats. After being closed for nearly two decades due to a fire that caused significant damage to the building and its installations, it was reopened in the 1990s, persevering its excellent and highly praised acoustics, with two halls, the smaller 276-seat Sala Caturla for soloists and small instrumental ensembles; and the main hall, the 914-seat Sala Roldán for large orchestras or for performances with large audiences. The quiet and elegant Opus Bar located on the top floor is a pleasant choice for drinks before and after shows with light music and good cocktails.
Teatro Karl Marx
Calle 1ra. y 10, Miramar, Ciudad de La Habana
First called Blanquita and later, Charles Chaplin, this 4,500-seat theatre?the largest in Havana?has been the favourite venue for large productions, such as the debut of Spanish actress and singer Sarita Montiel, ice shows, or the first season of the Bolshoi Ballet in Cuba. Before the construction of the Convention Palace, it was used for meetings of the Cuban Parliament and other political events. Today it is the main venue of the Cubadisco Festival, the Adolfo Guzmán Popular Music competition, as well as performances that attract large crowds: Cuba-USA music get-togethers, performances by singers Carlos Varela, Silvio Rodríguez or Pablo Milanés, concerts by Chucho Valdés and guests, or the staging of musical comedies or comedy shows.
Guayasamin Foundation House
Since 1744 it belonged to the Pecalver family. Later it had several proprietors who modified it considerably. The mural paintings and its archaeological riches are a treasure in the city. Ecuadorian painter Oswaldo Guayasamín helped rescue it in 1990. The House has visiting hours. The painter’s works jewelry designs and decorative elements are for sale.
Calle Obrap. a No. 112 e/ Oficios y Mercaderes. Ciudad de La Habana
La Casona Gallery
It is located in one of the most important big colonial houses of Havana: the House of the Count of San Juan de Jaruco. It is also the head office of the Cuban Fund of Cultural Property. And it also promotes and markets the most authentic crafts and decorative arts of Cuban artists.
Calle Muralla No. 107 esq. a San Ignacio. Ciudad de La Habana.
Exhibits of small size sculptures.
Calle Obispo No. 255 e/ Cuba y Aguiar. Ciudad de La Habana
Roberto Diago Gallery
Exhibitions by Cuban popular artists.
Calle Muralla No. 107 esq. a San Ignacio. Ciudad de La Habana
National Museum of Decorative Arts
It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions of the most coloured samples of European and Asian applied arts, ceramics, chinawares, furnitures, paintings and sculptures of the 19th and 20th century. Applied arts. Ceramic. Porcelain. Ancient furnitures. Paintings. Sculptures.
Type: Arts Cuba Museums.
Address: Calle 17 No. 502 e/ D y E, Vedado. Plaza de la Revolución. Ciudad de La Habana.
Open: Tuesday to Saturday.
Museum of Colonial Art
It is the former house of Count Casa Bayona, built by 1720 and privileged located across from the Cathedral of Havana. It is also considered to be the first residence that was built with a stately style of the 18th century in such square.
The house distinguishes itself from the surrounding buildings in the Cathedral Square for the absence of arcades. Its great facades show the Cuban colonial architecture. lts ceilings resemble a Spanish mudejar decoration. Luis Chacón lived in it when, he was part of the island’s government, at the beginning of the l8th century. It was a house until the end of the l9th century; then, the headquarters of the College of Actuaries and, afterwards, the news room and printing shop of the “La Discusión newspaper. In 1935, the Arrechabala rum company installed its warehouses and offices here, as well as a private bar that was very busy in those days. Once restored, the Museum of Colonial Arts was installed in it in 1969.
In the rooms of the museum there is an important representation of the decoration and furniture of the biggest colonial mansions of Havana from the l7th to the 19th centuries. Furniture. Glassware. Porcelain. Grille. Doors. Carriage. Stained glass windows and fornalete, art style that was especially developed during the colonization.
Type: Arts Cuba Museums.
Address: Calle San Ignacio No. 61 e/ Empedrado y O´Reilly, Plaza de la Catedral. La Habana Vieja. Ciudad de La Habana.
Open: All days.
National Museum of Music
Built in 1905 for merchant Francisco Pons, the house became the residence of me Pérez de la Riva family up to 1936. In that year it was acquired by the Cuban government to install the Secretary of State. In 1981 it was restored to settle down the Music National Museum.
Its collections store folk instruments, scores of fundamental pieces of our country, music machines, etc. The facade is of stalls, imitating the Italian Renaissance. Their interiors were eclectic in styles, but maintaining the sobriety and the elegance characteristic of one of the best Havana residences in principles of the 20th century. It portraits the historical development of the Cuban music and its instruments from the 16th to 20th century. History of the Cuban and international music. Musical instruments. Works of art. Scores.
Type: Arts Cuba Museums.
Address: Calle Capdevila No. 1 e/ Aguiar y Habana. La Habana Vieja. Ciudad de La Habana.
Open: Tuesday to Saturday.
National Museum of Fine Arts
Its construction was completed in 1953, three years later it received the collections of the then National Museum. It was built on the site of the former Mercado del Polvorin. Architect Alfonso Rodríguez Pichardo designed a very modern building for the time. It was the final solution to provide a permanent seat to the National Museum, which bad been created by decree in 1913, but was wandering from one place to another in the city without government support. The Palace of Fine Arts houses the largest collection of Cuban plastic art. There is a hall dedicated to the Cuban painting and gravure from the 16th century up to now.
Type: Fine Art Cuba Museums.
Address: Calle Trocadero e/ Zulueta y Monserrate. Ciudad de La Habana.
Open: Tuesday to Sunday.
Museum of the Havana City
It is located at the former headquarters of the Generals of the Army (Capitanes Generales) of the Island during the colonization. It has collections that illustrate a historical background of the city since it was founded up to the present times. The most important rooms exhibit the Cuban wars for the national independence.
Type: Historic Cuba Museums.
Address: Calle Tacón No. 1 e/ Obispo y O´Reilly. Ciudad de La Habana.