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Teatro Popular Melico Salazar

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Located in front of the central park in San Jose, this neoclassically designed theater is a noticeably distinct face in the capital city.

El Teatro Popular Melico Salazar is one of the oldest and most historical pieces of architecture in Costa Rica.  The theater was originally built in 1799, but throughout its life it has been plagued with misfortune.  In 1828, a terrible earthquake struck San Jose, and sadly the theater was completely destroyed.  It was rebuilt from the wreckage and enjoyed a peaceful stretch of existence until 1849 when Juan Rafael Mora stationed his army here and used it as his base of operations.  Still today there are remnants of this occupation as cannons have been discovered hidden underneath the floor.

In 1918, the building enjoyed a brief stint as an institution for boys. This lasted until 1924, when yet another earthquake struck this area and compromised its structural integrity.  Seeing an opportunity to bring the building back to its roots, Jose Raventos purchased the property and began to construct a new, elegant theater.  Thus, the Raventos Theater was born and was home to years to operas and other entertainment spectacles.

Yet again, tragedy struck this theater when an incident during an adaptation of the play "Dracula" in 1967, and a fire completely gutted the theater's interior.  The interior of the theater was again refurbished and was then renamed the Popular Theater.  In 1976, new interest in the arts and music led to the complete renovation of the theater's interior. A new name was wanted for the theater, and it wasn't until 1980 that it was renamed the Teatro Popular Melico Salazar after a famous Costa Rican tenor.

Currently, el Teatro Popular Melico Salazar exhibits many works of art from the Spanish Museum of Art.  In addition, recent renovations include new cascading balconies, a new third floor, a rebuilt stage, and an orchestra dais.  The theater maintains a full schedule of events, and feel free to come visit during its season from April to December.

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