Radio26.Cu – Matanzas, Cuba


Original and renovated: Sauto theater returns to the past from the modern times

Gloria Machado León 13 abril, 2017

«It is an institution that carries many financial resources, which needs a lot of the sensitivity of those who have to do with restoration. It must be a careful enough work that contributes to saving the cultural heritage that the real estate means. «

Ulises Rodríguez Febles, playwright, historian, researcher and writer

«Sauto is the first piece of the Cuban neoclassical, the most important architectural work of that movement in Cuba. Matanzas has the happiness of owning this property of world importance. This building is worthy of the praise of all the people who visit it because it is one of the true symbols of the city. «

Rolando Estévez, artist of the plastic

For the matanceros the Sauto theater means more than the building that rises austere and magnanimous in the middle of the Place of the Vigia. Undoubtedly, many stories, reunions, adventures, dreams and yearnings have been born in its properties, innumerable memories remain impregnated to its columns now rejuvenated and I guess that not few people feel a strong connection with this property.

Sauto has been silent for several years after the thin rain that baptized his last function, foreshadowing the tortuous silence that reigns there since the theater closed its doors in 2010. After more than two decades without deep maintenance actions in its Locations, the restoration that is carried out seven years ago in the institution can be valued as the deepest one that has been developed there.

«They has made numerous restorations Sauto theater since the 19th century. Of all, the most definitive have been, the one from 1965 to 1970 and the last one in which we are involved, «said Leonel Pérez Orozco, historian of the institution and Conservative of the City of Matanzas.

During much of the constructive actions that take place in the coliseo Matancero, the shortage of budgets, the lack of preparation of its executors and the lack of wood, material that constitutes 90 percent of the structures of the building, had a negative effect on the progress of The works, in different stages of work.

«Sauto is the most important cultural institution of the province of Matanzas; Can be considered the Mecca of practically all the artists and shows that move nationally in the country. To that we can add the feeling of uneasiness that it produces in the matancero that adores its theater and waits its inauguration. «

Venturing to set dates of completion could be the «boomerang» that has so often shaken our heads and hopes. Matanceros have been claiming their theater for a long time.

«Many matanceros miss it for what he represents for our culture. It is an emblem, a jewel of national culture. It remains in the heart of the city, only that it remains inert, does not run blood through its veins. «

But this fervent desire can not become a motive for the work to be carried out with haste. However, after many rains and suns, the reality is very different from the one that lived the institution years before, explained Pérez Orozco, Conservative of the City of Matanzas. «The advance that is observed is evident. Due to the size of the building and the complexity of the process, the restoration began from top to bottom to facilitate the organicity of the work.

«Work was done in the hall: the rows were cut in half, with no aisle, with the aim of raising the auditorium once a year, removing the seats and turning it into a ballroom. The bolts that are installed are safe and easy to manipulate. «

The execution budget for the restoration work of the neoclassical theater this year amounts to more than two million pesos in total currency. The process is in its last constructive stage with high levels of originality.

«In the case of the roofs of the boxes was the assembly of the printed cards with the drawing that they exhibited from the first years, which denotes great elegance for these areas. The rooms were already gilded and the lamps were restored according to their original characteristics. The stage is also almost ready, only the polish remains. «

The non-agricultural cooperative of construction SANCOF assumed the demolition of the sidewalks to replace them with mosaics that imitate the interior of the portal, belonging to the nineteenth century, in order to maintain a homogeneity in the exterior of the theater.

«The shares in the backyard are also in a late stage. Its marble structures are ready, the statues of that space have been restored. Now we await the arrival of the bars to close it to the public. Then the work of restoring the fountains and the preparation of gardening will begin. «


Thanks to the efforts of those who have given themselves to the restoration of the Sauto, the Matanzas people and the visitors who attend the institution will witness a work that watches over the care of the details to give the property elegance and majesty. «Subtract the polish, the varnish and the change of glass from the entrance doors to the theater. These will display engraved letters that distinguish the institution.

«In the Hall of Mirrors was placed a new stage. It also highlights the location of the valances, the appliques, the restoration of their mirrors and the making of new moons from the originals. «

As explained by the City Conservator what may delay the expected opening of the Sauto theater would be the installation of the complex air conditioning system. As for the rest of the actions that are missing to execute, he said that today the works are finished separately, each one is executed in a parallel way and then it goes on to stage, lights, stage and audio assembly.

It is true that the work has delayed more than expected, that the rain of completion dates has ended up soaking insecurity to the matanceros who daily pass through the Plaza de la Vigia. This theater is vital for the cultural development of what is known as Athens of Cuba.

But, at the end of the road, when its closed doors are nothing more than a memory, it will be necessary to evaluate how necessary this expectation was for the success of Daniel D’Allaglio’s designs, it will be unavoidable to give reason to the time.

«People are used to the fact that a work begins today and ends tomorrow, but you have to think about the study that needed to be done to maintain more than 90 percent of its originality, quality and details of the work.

«We are not delivering to the matancero any building, but the most emblematic and one of the most important theaters in the world. If we want this to be the first property of its kind declared a World Heritage Site, this is the price, we have to wait. Sauto is a living being. We can not violate the processes because we can kill the essences of their ends. «

But the Sauto will not be just the theater that was before. The projects that dream of it as a historical cultural complex will bring greater added value as a space where culture, historical memory, steps, feelings and memories of so many artists, the remembrances of so many matanceros and a myriad of curiosities and singularities of this Real estate, will be confabulated to make it even bigger, if that were possible.

Today even sounds related to the construction process accompany the steps of the good ghosts that roam through its corridors. However, a common and silent but persistent heartbeat emanates from the heart of the Sauto in all directions and becomes a kind of cultural and spiritual food that nurtures this city so as not to die, even if its loving companion remains in darkness .

Original text by on April12th, 2017

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