SPAIN (2020)- Artistic Heritage, 125th Ann of the Construction of the Campoamor Theatre

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About Artistic Heritage, 125th Ann of the Construction of the Campoamor Theatre

Oviedo’s Campoamor Theatre is known around the world, above all, as the venue of the annual Princess of Asturias Awards.

But this theatre, which has now celebrated its 125th anniversary, has a much more varied history.

It was built in 1883-1892 by J. López Salaberry and Siro Borrajo Montenegro on the site of the former convent of Santa Clara.

Before then, plays were performed at the Casa de Comedias del Fontán, next to the square of the same name.

As this theatre was falling into ruin, a new space was needed where operas and plays could be presented.

The rise of the upper middle classes accelerated the modernisation of the city: railways and telephones came to Oviedo, gas lights were replaced by electricity, and the Fresno water tank was built. Commerce was encouraged by a public initiative to build the Trascorrales, 19 de Octubre and El Progreso markets. Many schools were created and abattoirs were established.

The people of Oviedo also demanded leisure facilities, and the then Mayor, José Longoria Carvajal, responded with this project.

The theatre was designed to be modern, beautiful, and above all, safe. On a horseshoe plan and with excellent acoustics, it was inspired by the Teatro de la Comedia in Madrid.

It has iron columns and balusters on the boxes, and new features such as spacious halls rather than the narrow corridors of older theatres. Another novelty was electric lighting in the theatre.

Interestingly, smoking was banned in the theatre, mainly to avoid making the ladies uncomfortable.

Unusually, the mini sheet unfolds to show the stamp with an image of the stalls with the stage behind. When folded, the scene is framed by the main façade of the monumental theatre, with a row of seats in the foreground.

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