Lisbon Coliseu: Count 125 more


Bold, ambitious work according to some, Coliseu dos Recreios, the Lisbon Coliseu, has been knowing how to reinvent itself over its 125 years of life. It innovated with its more than 100 tons and 25 metres in radius iron dome at a time when that kind of elements were virtually unknown in the country, making "the delights of Lisbon society." It innovated by being an alternative or complement to other theatres, such as São Carlos, it stood out by the number of seats, 4,000, but above all for being a "popular" room where several performances were free or had "social prices".

Four businesspeople, solicitor Joseph Frederick Ciríaco, Philosophy teacher Pedro António Monteiro, warehouse owner  António Caetano Macieira and meat trader João Baptista G. de Ahneida, imagined what Coliseu could be and, despite the costs, managed to make it a reality - a public subscription was required and even the King became a shareholder. There is, however, another name that is inevitably connected to this venue, the Covões family, who has been leading the Coliseu's fate for four generations.

The building was officially opened on 14th August 1890 and features a stage 40m deep and 18m wide. It underwent a profound series of renovations, completed in 1994, providing it with, for example, a more modern electrical installation, a warning fire system and completely renovated dressing rooms.

Besides music, Coliseu has been a space for other arts, from theatre to dance. And stage for other actions, such as conferences, seminars, meetings of different genres, product launches, exhibitions, fairs and congresses.

Looking back at the history of artists who already performed in this room located at number 96, Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, we find a lyrical myriad composed of Alfredo Kraus, Antonietta Stella, Carlo Bergonzi, Elena Suliotis, Fiorenza Cossotto, Joan Sutherland, Piero Cappuccilli, Tito Gobbi ou Tomás Alcaide, more contemporary names, in a rather eclectic list, with Frei Hermano da Câmara, Guano Apes, Rui Reininho, Marilyn Manson, Teresa Salgueiro, Adriana Calcanhoto or Pedro Abrunhosa, and even those who are to come,  highighting, in the near future, Patti Smith (September 21st) and Tiago Bettencourt (November 14th). The month of December, as usual, is reserved for an international circus company.


Photo credit: Mário Pires