Can the symphony return to the Peón Contreras ‘before spring’?

Rubble and fire damage mars the beautiful Teatro Peón Contreras in Mérida. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida Mayor Renán Barrera Concha said authorities are aiming for the Teatro José Peon Contreras to reopen its doors “before spring.”

The famed opera house — Yucatán’s most prominent performance space — was badly damaged in a fire last week.

In a radio interview, the mayor shared more detail on the fire’s cause. The blaze began when an audio console on the top floor short-circuited, he said.

He said that a surveillance drone with night vision and heat sensors helped identify the specific point where the fire originated.

The fire wrecked large parts of the 114-year-old building, most notably its fresco painted inside the dome over the auditorium. Box seats on the third level were also destroyed, as were light fixtures in the lobby.

After the fire, the Peón Contreras’ chandelier remains intact. Photo: merida.gob

Its magnificent chandelier was saved thanks to a mechanical system that allowed workers to quickly lower it from harm’s way, he said.

The Yucatán Symphony Orchestra has suspended ticket sales but still has five performances remaining for its current season.

Renán Barrera said that Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal expressed his interest in reopening the place as soon as possible, so he hopes the Yucatán Symphony Orchestra can play again on its home stage “before the spring of 2023.”

The symphony has not disclosed if the fall 2022 season will be suspended or if they will announce an alternate venue.

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