The PÉREZ GALDÓS THEATRE construction project was initiated in 1866 to provide the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with a theatre with aspirations and in accordance with the demands of the society of the time. It was built thanks to the contributions of people and entities of great economic power, and with the selfless collaboration of the rest of society, from rich and poor alike.
After several attempts, and not without a certain jealousy from the locals, Fracisco Jareño y Alarcón (1818-1892), an architect originally from Albacete, but resident in Madrid, was finally chosen to direct the works. His plans were approved on the 22nd of May 1868. In 1890, what at the time was called the Tirso de Molina Theatre was inaugurated with La Traviata, bankrupting the promoters and causing the theatre to be taken over by the city in 1913. In 1901, with the enormous success of the premiere “Electra” by Benito Pérez Galdós, a proposal was made to name the theatre after the writer.
A fire broke out in the Pérez Galdós Theatre on the 28th of June 1918, which left the thick stone walls and wooden beams blackened and charred. The re-construction of the Theatre over the remains of the building started three years later and was completed with the re-opening in 1928, with Verdi’s opera “Aida”. The seating capacity was increased and the visibility and comfort of the seats were improved and the stage and its annexes enlarged. The architects directing the building works were Fernando Navarro y Navarro, Rafael Massanet y Faus, Isidro Puig Boada and, very especially, Miguel Martín Fernández de la Torre and his brother Néstor.
Refurbishment and extension works started in 2004 on both the historic building (audience area) and on the new extended building (area for artists and administration), encompassing the entire stage from the Proscenium arch, surrounds, annexes and other facilities. The design was the work of architect Marcos Roger Berghänel of TDA, together with Carlos Díaz, co-ordinating architect, and Agustín Juárez as the local architect. Throughout the refurbishment, restoration and construction works, a great effort was made to respect the historic and heritage works of the past by consulting both official and private historic archives and all kinds of other documentation on the original designs. The Pérez Galdós Theatre re-opened on the 14th of April 2007 with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria, conducted by Maestro Pedro Halffter.
The ALFREDO KRAUS AUDITORIUM is the final touch to one of the best views of the city facing the Atlantic Ocean. Designed by Óscar Tusquets as a detached, autonomous fortress, different from the surrounding architectural context, it is a work of enormous dimensions, a castle-style building standing on a plinth of volcanic rock. Towers, masonry walls, dotted with square windows, all erected on a rocky base to confirm the fortress idea.
The entrance to the Auditorium takes advantage of the pleasant year-round temperatures that the city enjoys, letting fresh air in through the latticework truss that pays tribute to the traditional architectural style of the island. Under the wooden latticework, Tusquets planned a wind rose sculpted in stone that can be seen from the entrance pavilion.
This outstanding architectural creation is rounded off with the no-less original work of sculptor Juan Bordes, who has recreated the marine life of Las Canteras Beach in masterly fashion on the four sides of the building and inside. The sculptures in the Auditorium seek to echo Néstor’s exemplary intervention in the Pérez Galdós Theatre. He uses similar iconography to stir up fantastic dreams that come to inhabit the landscape like a rich intruder.
Its spectacular Symphony Hall is the usual stage for concerts given by large orchestras and solo artists of international repute, and by artists and performers of modern music. No other great hall in the world enjoys a back-drop of the Atlantic Ocean, thanks to the great picture window over the sea.
The staggered amphitheatre seating allows the audience very different views of the stage without discriminating between the circle and the stalls, while the upper level seats give you the feeling of being closer to the orchestra. The Symphony Hall is crowned by a central chandelier of stained glass for which leading glass maker Valldepérez Ropollés made 200 m” of spectacular glass pyramids weighing 4.5 tonnes.
Along with the halls, it also has spacious interior areas for resting and leisure, extending outside into a privileged area of the city that hosts a complete range of recreational activities and additional services. There is a full range of magnificent hotels and restaurants located along the promenade that stretches the five kilometres of Las Canteras Beach.
The CANARY ISLAND CONFERENCE CENTRE extends its facilities with the fusion of these two places of great cultural interest in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Under the leadership and drive of the Auditorium and Theatre of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Foundation, this union will enable the city to considerably expand its technical and human capacity to provide services for many corporate and professional association events: conferences, exhibitions, conventions, product presentations and business meetings.
The objectives range from promoting and exchanging ideas and know-how in professional and cultural matters, to improving competitiveness in the organisational area of our available spaces and it is the first conference centre in the Canary Islands to obtain the AENOR and ICUNET ISO9001:2008 standards and the Q for Tourist Quality. The underling objective is to leverage these facilities to reactivate the city economy by helping the regional financing of the Foundation and, therefore to generate the financial resources that help to maintain and promote new projects and events.
As a result of the merger between the Theatre and the Auditorium the CONFERENCE CENTRE exponentially increases the range of conferences it can offer, by offering new halls and amazing, historical spaces. The merger increases the number of halls available to 30, plus the stages and areas of the historic Pérez Galdós Theatre, while the seating capacity grows from 4,600 to 6,079 people, with an area of over 5,600 m2 at two sites of great architectural beauty located in emblematic areas of the city: Las Canteras Beach and the historic and cultural centre of the city (Triana-Vegueta).
The characteristics of this Cosmopolitan city, such as its excellent air connections with Mainland Spain and other European cities, its strategic position between three continents and staging point for Africa, its pleasant temperatures, the best climate in the world according to a study by the University of Syracuse, and its extensive range of hotels, restaurants, shops, culture, heritage and leisure make it the best place for organising business activities.