One of the first things that will surprise you about Catalonia, when you will arrive here, is that Joan Manuel Serrat here is neither a god nor a demigod. He never was and never will be. You are not the first one to think about this. Each Argentinian person who comes to Catalonia goes through the same process of discovery. This reflection, which was the first thought that sparked these lines comes from one of the biggest newspapers in Argentina. The Clarín and La Nación are kind of like New York Times and USA Today. Anyway, on the cover of Clarín, not as the main headline but still, said that Joan Manuel Serrat would be performing at Teatro Colón. This led many to wonder that to get to play at the Colón, one must be like Daniel Barenboim, Lalo Schifrin, Richard Strauss or Arturo Toscanini.
However, Joan Manuel Serrat is a sort of Spanish Bob Dylan. Teatro Colón, the most prominent opera house in Argentina, is a sort of temple of classical music. In fact, one of the greatest acoustic monuments in the whole world, ranked by National Geographic as the 3rd best opera house in the world, and due to its unrivaled acoustics, among the world’s top 5 best concert venues, together with Berlin’s Konzerthaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Vienna’s Musikverein and Boston’s Symphony Hall. Teatro Colón opened its doors for the first time to the public in 1908, with Giuseppe Verdi’s Aïda.
It might be worth mentioning here that Argentines have a historical, traditional way of cheering artists, when they consider that applause is not enough, which consists of chanting: “al Colón, al Colón” (meaning “to the Colón”). It is a way of expressing that the artist is so good that should be performing at this immaculate cultural temple.