• Modeled on opulent opera houses in Europe
  • Seats 863 in scarlet red balconies
  • Originally a glamourous watering hole for the elite crowd
  • At one time was a movie house
  • Ceiling frescoes by Panamanian artist Roberto Lewis represent the birth of the Republic of Panama. He created the works on canvas while living in Paris
  • Leaks in the roof destroyed about a quarter of these frescoes, and the roof partially collapsed
  • Major restoration in two phases: 1970s & early 2000s. Finally reopened in 2004, then closed again in 2015
  • Opulent reception rooms upstairs
  • Bust of ballerina Margot Fonteyn in the lobby; she married a Panamanian politician in 1955 and lived out the last part of her life in Panama

The opening production in 1908 – as the Panama Canal was nearing completion – was Verdi’s “Aida.” Not so coincidentally, the opera had premiered in Cairo in 1871, commissioned by the Khedive of Egypt to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal.


Next: Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco de Asís