Teatro degollado,

Home of the Orchestra
Teatro Degollado
In 1855 the idea of having a theater in Guadalajara that would prove worthy of the citizens of the state of Jalisco became fashionable, and the Illustrious Governor General Santos Degollado issued a decree for its construction.
Teatro Degollado
The Architect Jacobo Gálvez, who designed and developed the project, placed the first stone in 1856. The original plan was to name the theater "Alarcón" after Juan Ruiz de Alarcón y Mendoza, the most notable Mexican playwright of the three-century colonial era. However, after the death of General Degolladoit was decreed that the building be renamed in his honor.

The theater’s official opening 10 years later featured the soprano Angela Peralta, known worldwide as the "Mexican Nightingale," in the Opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti.

The architectural style is neoclassic, and the recently restored building is now one of the best-preserved theaters in Latin America.

Its magnificent portico features a high relief Travertine marble frieze based on the theme "Apollo and the Muses" by sculptor Benito Castaneda; it bears the engraved inscription "May the clamor of discord never arrive"

Teatro Degollado
Photo: Marco AyalaIn February 2007 "The Goddess of Fortune", a sculpture located in the main lobby, originally carved in Carrara marble between 1870 and 1880 by the Italian artist Carlo Nicoli, was restored in February, 2007 by the Architect Hugo Andres Testolini Deza.

In the Teatro Degollado’s main auditorium, very similar in design to the Teatro Della Scala in Milan, a mural by Jalisco’s painters Jacobo Galvez, Gerardo Suarez and Carlos Villaseñor graces the ceiling, representing the fourth Circle of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Looking down from the ceiling, just above the proscenium arch, another noteworthy piece of artwork stands out: A colossal eagle carved of wood and bathed in gold leaf, holding a piece of chain in his beak, Mexican flag unfurling at its talons. One of the legends that has been told for generations is, "If the eagle were to drop the chain, it would announce the fall of the Teatro Degollado"

Teatro Degollado
Photo: Marco Ayala
Another important detail is a painting by Felipe Castro circa 1880 entitled, "Time and the Hours" in the center of the proscenium arch.
During its history, the theater has had various
"Grand Openings":
  • The first, on September 13th, 1866, with the opera by Gaetano Donizetti, Lucia de Lammermoor, and the soprano Angela Peralta.
  • October 30th, 1880 with the participation of young Italian singer Luisa Mardietti in the operetta (zarzuela) "The Bells of Carrion"
  • September 15th, 1910,
  • June 28th, 1941
  • September 8th, 1964,
  • and November 25th, 2005, with the opera “The Barber of Seville” and the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco.
Teatro Degollado
Photo: Edgar González
Relevant improvements in the Theater’s most recent renovation include the application of 23 ¾ karat gold leaf in such areas as the proscenium arch, the colossal eagle, frames columns, borders, other ornate decorations in the proscenium area, and the restoration of the backdrop originally made by Italian painter Carlos Fontana around 1880, entitled “Athenian Festival”.

Other significant improvements include new floors, seats, painting, lighting replacement, onstage flooring, the installation of a hydraulic platform and a new air conditioning system, and the remodeling of the backstage area, among others.

Nowadays, the theater is a home to the Filarmónica de Jalisco as well as to cultural festivals, performances of live theatre, opera and dance.

The Chamber Hall, located in the basement of the Teatro Degollado, seats 120 people and is used for meetings, press conferences, chamber music performances, book presentations and music appreciation lectures.

Teatro Degollado
Photo: Edgar González
Current capacity: 1027 spectators.