Last week I had the opportunity to celebrate the start of the holiday season in one of my favorite ways –with a performance of The Nutcracker.
The Nutcracker at the National Theatre of Costa Rica
I attended the ballet at the National Theatre of Costa Rica in San José. Built in 1897 with the proceeds from coffee exports, the National Theatre of Costa Rica is a prized architectural and cultural jewel for the country.
The ornate theatre, constructed in a baroque style gives the grandest opera houses of Europe a run for their money and hosts world class ballet, theater, opera and symphony performances throughout the year.
Indeed, entering the theatre, with its high ceilings, gold trim and marble statues, feels like stepping back in time to the pages of a storybook from the days of imperial Russia or France.
The vestibule ceiling contains one of Costa Rica’s most famous mural, complete with farmers, coffee beans and bananas, a depiction of rural life in the country at the turn of the 20th century. Today these images can be found on the backside of the 5-colón banknote.
A marble staircase, gently embraced by gold-trimmed walls and portraits of flowers and pineapples, leads to the second floor of the theatre, where balconies look down at the theatre stage below. The second floor is also home to an elegant room for private parties and marble bridges that offer views of the first floor.
If you have been following on my adventures for some time you may recount my fashion mishap at the Vienna State Opera House some months ago. Well, this time I made sure to trade my yoga pants in for a more appropriate dress, and this time I fit right in with the elegant crowd of ticos and American ex-pats.
Prior to the performance, I enjoyed a chicken crepe and cappuccino at the Café Teatro in the Foyer of the National Theatre. The cozy ambience and good eats made me feel as if I were back in Paris, though the coffee was distinctly, and deliciously, Costa Rican.
The Nutcracker, or el Cascanueces, was an independent production with ballerinas from Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, the United States and more.
The dancing was top notch, and I was captivated, at the edge of my seat for the entire performance.
Thank you to the National Theatre of Costa Rica for my most elegant evening in Costa Rica yet! For a list of future performances at the National Theatre of Costa Rica, visit teatronacional.go.cr.