The National Commission on Culture and the Art’s (NCCA) Facebook page posted a glimpse of the newly-renovated Metropolitan Theater, and I’m definitely putting it on my places-to-go list when the pandemic is over.
Declared a National Historical Landmark and National Cultural Treasure, the Metropolitan Theater has been undergoing major renovation since 2019. The building was home to the flourishing theater and music scene in the ’30s, staging operas and concerts by international and local talents. It is set to be inaugurated this year, and we could only hope to visit it safely amid the pandemic.
“The Metropolitan Theater will house the quincentennial evening show on April 27, 2021 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan, which will serve as the maiden show of MET after 25 years since its closure in 1996. Currently, the NCCA and the City of Manila headed by Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso is working on a partnership to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the city at the Metropolitan Theater this June 2021,” the NCCA post detailed.
Theater history and architecture nerds, here are six indispensable facts about this cultural icon:
1. In 1862, Teatro del Príncipe Alfonso XII was built within Plaza Arroceros near Metropolitan Theater’s current site, but it burned down five years later with speculations that it was torched down by an angry individual.
2. The Art Deco theater was designed by Juan Arellano, one of the first pensionados in architecture, and was supervised by Filipino architect Pedro Siochi.
3. Metropolitan Theater began construction in the 1930s and was formally inaugurated on Dec. 10, 1931. During World War II and the Battle of the Liberation of Manila, parts of the theater were bombed.
4. The theater has been known to host vaudevilles, zarzuelas, plays, operas and concerts including those by soprano singer Jovita Fuentes and 1987 National Artist for Theater and Music Atang de la Rama.
5. Disney’s Mickey Mouse made its debut here.
6. Currently, the Metropolitan Theater has been billed as the greatest restoration project, guided by the expertise of the National Museum of the Philippines and the National Historical Commission. It was bought by NCCA from the Government Insurance Service System (GSIS) for P270 million.
Photo from NCCA’s Facebook