Teatro Degollado (Degollado Theater), located directly across from the Guadalajara Cathedral in Plaza de la Liberación, was born out of Mexico’s theatrical movement of the 1800’s, which brought with it an increased demand for a grand theater in Jalisco’s capitol city. The original 1855 proposal for the theater was that it be named after the classic dramatist Juan Ruiz de Alarcon.Governor José Santos Degollado Sánchez (1811-1861) signed the official construction decree on December 10th, 1855 and laid the first cornerstone in March of the following year.
Governor Pedro Amazon made the decision in November 1861 to change the name to “Teatro Degollado,” in honor of the ex-governor who had initially approved the project. A famed military leader, Degollado had been killed in battle the previous summer. In addition to the theater, a city in the highlands of Jalisco is named in his honor.
A lengthy war and a change of government resulted in numerous construction delays, but the theater’s first inauguration was finally held on September 13th, 1866. Opera soprano Angela Peralta performed “Lucia di Lammermoor” in a yet-to-be-completed theater. Numerous renovations and four more inaugurations would occur before the theater would be finally be deemed finished.
Today Degollado is considered to be one of the best preserved theaters in Latin American, and numerous renovations have been made throughout the years to improve upon the concert hall’s design by adding murals and sculptures, as well as giving the theater its current gold on red color scheme.