The Angela Peralta Theater in Mazatlan - Visit the Centro Historico and tour this beautiful restored 19th Century theater, the finest performance space in Mazatlan and home to Delfos Danza Contemporanea, E.P.D.M., art galleries, our municipal cultural center and fine arts academy!
The restored Angela Peralta Theater in Mazatlan (Teatro Ángela Peralta) is truly one of Mazatlan's most important cultural treasures, and has played important role in the revitalization of the Centro Historico.
Located just off the Plaza Machado in Mazatlan's Centro Historico, the Angela Peralta Theater is one of the most important Mazatlan tourist attractions; hosts our most sophisticated theater and musical performances; consistently draws internationally known artists; and is considered one of the premier performance venues in all of Mexico.
The Angela Peralta Theater was not the first theater in Mazatlan.
In the mid-1800s there were several theaters in Mazatlan including Teatro El Recreo, Teatro Principal and Teatro Alegria, depicted in the beautiful watercolor to the left by William H. Meyers, a gunner on the USS Dale during the Mexican-American war, in 1843. This painting by Meyers -- a highly skilled but amateur artist -- is likely the earliest depiction of a theater in Mazatlan, and also likely the earliest depiction of any theater in northwest Mexico.
In 1869 Manuel Rubio, a prominent merchant, made a request of the City Council to construct a new, more sumptuous theater.
Rubio wanted to demonstrate the mercantile and political importance of The Pearl of The Pacific -- then the capital of state off Sinaloa -- and highlight it as the economic center of northwest Mexico.
Construction began that same year just off the Plaza Machado in what has become known as the Mazatlan Centro Historico under the direction of Librado Tapia, the city engineer.
In 1870 Manuel Rubio sailed to San Francisco to purchase ornaments for the theater, but his ship capsized killing many passengers, including Rubio. His widow, Dona Vicenta Unzueta de Rubio, continued construction until completion in February of 1874. The inaugural performance was "La Campana de Almudaina", a three act drama by Juan Palou y Colland and "La Casa de Campo", a one act comedy by José Sánchez Albarral.
The theater was officially opened on February 15, 1874, despite the fact that some exterior elements -- notably the beautiful ironwork -- were unfinished.
After just three years, Dona Vicenta Unzueta de Rubio was forced to sell the theater. The Angela Peralta Theater -- as well as the Hotel Iturbide -- were purchased by Juan Bautista Hernandez and the Spanish firm Hernandez Mendia y Asociados, which had substantial real estate investments in 1870s Mazatlan.
With new ownership and new money came revovations that reflected a new vision for the theater. Mazatlan architect Santiago Leon Astengo executed a series of upgrades that included new windows, doors and balconies, as well as the embellishment of other important architectural details.
The theater was officially re-inaugurated February 6th, 1881, with a performance by a women's choir directed by Maestro Manuel Cataño.
On 22 August 1883 the beloved Mexican opera diva Angela Peralta and her troupe arrived in The Pearl of The Pacific, fresh off performances in La Paz, Baja California, and Guaymas, Sonora.
The city prepared an elaborate welcome for her, but tragedy was about to strike.
Within just three days, she and nearly half of the company's members were to die in the yellow fever epidemic that swept the port shortly after their arrival. Angela Peralta died in the Mazatlan Centro Historico at the Hotel Iturbide, now a fine arts center and school.
After her death, the Rubio Theater -- Mazatlan's premier performance venue -- began a long decline. In 1943 it was was re-named the Teatro Ángela Peralta in her honor, but the skid continued.
While the theater operated continuously from 1874 until 1964, featuring operas, plays, circus performances, and boxing, by the late 1960s the Angela Peralta Theater had fallen into near ruin.
Closed in 1964, it was briefly re-opened in 1969 for a burlesque show during Carnival in 1969.
Decades of deferred maintenance began to take their toll, with the roof and other parts of the structure progressively failing.
Already seriously deteriorated and nearly abandoned, the theater was flooded by Hurricane Olivia in 1975.
In spite of efforts by different cultural groups to reopen it, Mazatlan's Angela Peralta Theater remained at the mercy of nature, falling into ruins after years of neglect. Remarkable as it may seem when inside the restored Angela Peralta theater today, the structure was actually used for a time as a parking garage, and a giant Ficus tree grew in the center of the stage.
The low point for the theater came in 1985: the city of Mazatlan tentatively decided to demolish it.
But demolition didn't happen thanks to a group of notable mazatlecos -- Amigos del Teatro Angela Peralta -- who made it their mission to rescue the theater. In a bold move, they staged the first Cultural Festival of Sinaloa in the ruined and roofless structure, complete with symphony performing in front of the delapidated stage and under the giant Ficus tree that grew at its center.
In 1987 the city decided to support the rehabilitation of the Angela Peralta Theater, one of the earlier moves toward the complete revitalization of the Mazatlan Centro Historico.
Video about the Angela Peralta Theater
After years of hard work -- and substantial public and private expense -- the restored and modernized Teatro Ángela Peralta was reopened and the magnificently restored Angela Peralta Theater once again became part of the cultural fabric of the Mazatlan Centro Historico.
On December 19, 1990 by presidential decree, the Teatro Ángela Peralta was declared a National Heritage Building, and was officially inaugurated by President of Mexico Carlos Salinas de Gortari on October 23, 1992.
At a bit over 800 seats, the Angela Peralta is a magnificent performance space that retains an intimate feel, and the highly sophisticated design of its beautiful Italianate mezzanine and balconies provide excellent sight lines from even the least expensive seats in this theater!
The Angela Peralta Theater features performances by many Mexican artists of all types, and draws a varied and spectacular range of international talent.
Teatro Angela Peralta is also home to Delfos Danza Contemporanea -- an internationally acclaimed dance company founded in 1992 by Mexican choreographers Claudia Lavista and Victor Manuel Ruiz -- and E.P.D.M. (Escuela Profesional de Danza de Mazatlan), their famous dance academy.
Beyond its role as one of the premier performance spaces in Mexico, the Angela Peralta has become an important center for cultural development that is home to a municipal cultural center, art galleries and an internationally-acclaimed fine arts school that are important resources for Sinaloa State and all of Mexico.
Interested in hearing what kids can play when given a chance?
Video of Banda Juvenil de Jazz at the Municipal Arts Center, Mazatlan
Our Mazatlan City Guide cannot too highly recommend a visit to the Angela Peralta Theater -- whatever the performance, the building itself is worth the price of admission!
Location Carnaval 1024 / Centro Historico just off the Plaza Machado