The San Martín Theater is the main theater of the Argentine city of San Miguel de Tucumán, the one with the greatest activity and cultural relevance.
It was inaugurated with the name of Teatro Odeón, name that it maintained until 1951, year in which it closes its doors to reopen in 1959 as Teatro San Martín. It has a capacity of 800 people, and is the home of the Ballet, Choir and Theater Troupe of the Province.
Designed fundamentally as a lyrical, horseshoe-shaped house, its acoustics are optimal in every corner of the auditorium. The exterior facade of the building is of interesting architecture with fine neoclassical XIX Century elements. It conforms, next to the building of the Tucumán Legislature, the Tucumán Casino and the Bartolomé Miter National College and the Urquiza Square, the so-called architectural ensemble Avenida Sarmiento-Plaza Urquiza, the most elegant block in the city, in the Barrio Norte.
The Odeón theater was inaugurated on Saturday, May 18, 1912, staging the operetta The Dollar Princess, by Leo Fall, a piece of great audience at the time, produced by the Sagi-Barba company.
Among other artistic milestones in the history of the theater, Enrico Caruso's visit to Tucumán in July 1915 stands out. On that occasion he sang at the Odeón Theater, the operas Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and I Pagliacci de Ruggero Leoncavallo. On July 17, he played the role of Chevallier Des Grieux of the opera Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini being highly celebrated by the Tucumán public.
In 1916, the famous Italian baritone Tita Ruffo would perform on his stage as part of the celebrations for the centenary of the Declaration of Argentine Independence.
Another illustrious visit that performed at the Odeón Theater was the French composer Camille Saint Saens who arrived in June 1916. On that occasion, Saint Saens offered two concerts with his own works.
During the 1930s and 1940s, the Odeón Theater remained subject to the requirements and initiative of the protocols of the Savoy Hotel, even when the local Government controlled the obligation to represent an opera, at least once a year, on the occasion of the national dates of May 25th and July 9th. However, this requirement lacked continuity, although different operas and zarzuelas were performed on stage under the charge of companies that arrived sporadically in Tucumán.
A new era in the history of the theater began when on January 12, 1951 when, by provincial law 2367, the name "Odeon" was changed to that of "San Martín", which remains to date. However, the theater remained generally closed. Its effective and permanent incorporation to the artistic activity local data of the year 1959, when the Government of the Province, structuring a new organism (the Provincial Council of Cultural Diffusion, today General Directorate of Culture) transferred the San Martín Theater to its orbit .
At present day, the theater houses the Orchestra, Choir and Ballet of the Province, conducted by the Directorate of Music and Dance, and it performs approximately 100 functions a year.
As for the external appearance of the building, in 1979, with an approximate investment of 1,000,000 dollars, the first stage of an integral remodeling of the building was completed. The front was enlarged, preserving its academic characteristics, and added a widening of the entrance hall and the lobby of the first floor, with the construction of a new and wide ticket office, cloakroom and bar. The lobby was enriched with columns and marble baseboards, as well as furnished with style pieces. The theater was completely carpeted, reupholstering all the seats, which enhanced its delicate original structure. The capacity of the Gallery was increased; totally changed the armchair seats; The electrical installations of the building were completely changed, installing an important transformer group at street level, in addition to a new lighting console. The sanitary facilities were completely changed, decorating the bathrooms with specially manufactured tiles, which bore the inscriptions of the theater's initials.
In addition to the integral change of the ceilings and the ceiling, all the moldings of the room that had disappeared under layers of paint were gilded again. A lighting bridge was placed over the stage, among other innovations of great importance, inaugurated all at the Gala Function on May 24, 1979, with the staging of Bizet's opera Carmen, produced by the San Martín Theater, with soloists of the Teatro Colón, Ballet, Choir and Orchestra of the Province, under the direction of Pedro Ignacio Calderón.
From that date, the San Martín Theater will change in a scenario of cultural reference for the entire Argentine Northwest, since several internationally renowned artists passed through its hall, such as the famous Russian dancer Maia Plisetskaya in 1978,or pianists such as Bruno Gelber, Nelson Goerner, or Osvaldo Pugliese and his tango orchestra. Another relevant milestone was the presence of the famous pianist Martha Argerich during the "Musical September" of 2005.
The San Martín Theater can accommodate approximately 800 people. Its amenities are distributed as follows: 340 stalls, 70 gatherings, 250 galleries and 50 boxes.