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Deconstructing the night Illustration: Mayo Bous. Illustration: Mayo Bous.

Amphitheater of the Historic Center of Havana

If you arrive 15 minutes late, it doesn't matter. Buy your ticket (at the ticket office of La Maestranza Park), "good night, go ahead", and just walk right in. The Amphitheater of Old Havana is spacious, and you can walk between the rows or change seats without disturbing the crowd. 

I remember coming to some children's show as a child. The sun would turn the stone into a burning bowl and the eyes would grow small from the reverberating light. However, what was insufferable in the daytime is transformed by the darkness. The Amphitheater is made for the night. 

At 9:00, from the other side of the bay, the usual cannon shot marks the beginning of the concert. I like that tradition is an accomplice of music, and serves for more than just attracting tourists and setting the clocks. 

Today Ivette Cepeda, who says she often dreams of singing in a big place where there are many people, performs. At last it was granted to her, and she is grateful for it. 

Raúl Paz played here in December and Buena Fe in March. Seeing the enthusiastic chorus of people here now, one can suspect that many come to sing the songs they know by heart, to the haven of those melodies that speak of love and life. With you, Ámame como soy, The Era is giving birth to a heart that hymn

Ivette is loudly requested to sing songs popularized in soap operas, and she obliges, delighted. She descends the steps that separate her from the first seats, and perhaps the fan-like structure makes it easier for her to greet and converse with her audience. Some young people, but mostly people of mature age, the faithful ones who follow her wherever she sings and exclaim: "We love you, Ivette". 

The administration, for its part, has expressed the will to welcome "all the cultures of Havana", including rock, hip hop, folk and electronic music. The center was closed during the pandemic, and after reopening in early 2022 has undergone a "recontextualization", without giving up musical theater and activities for children. 

So much for the coolness of the Avenida del Puerto. The acoustics do not disappoint, although the loudspeakers placed on the sides, on the same bleachers, prevent anyone from staying there for a long time. The stage has a minimal scenery, and allows us to imagine the larger groups that could fit in its amplitude. 

In fact, the Amphitheater was inaugurated in 1936 The same year it hosted the zarzuela Cecilia Valdés, and later in the 2000s the Leipzig Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Along with its potential versatility, the best thing about this coliseum is that it has the ease of open spaces. You can eat, drink, talk, sit with your feet perched... There is room for the audience to dance. Every time a song is played, more people stand up. A couple remained embracing, two others sang while looking at each other. 

But if that was romantic, what followed was like a movie. In the images projected on the wall of the center, a question appeared: Roberto was asking Susel to marry him. As she went on stage, he knelt down on one knee. With the yes kiss, applause and whistles thundered. 

At the back, near the door, two or three improvised stalls remind us of the inflation in which we live. A few tables are arranged as a VIP section, but they do not compete with the vast marble, comfortable in its own way. 

I like that people have the opportunity to put on their Saturday clothes, to forget their daily anxieties for a couple of hours. The Amphitheater draws a parenthesis in this city for others, which sometimes resembles Old Havana. 

Weather permitting, the concert starts at 9:00. Surely those passing by will get a glimpse of what is going on inside. When it is over, a familiar force will push one to stroll along Avenida del Puerto, perhaps to Prado, or in the opposite direction, to the floating dock. Music and sea; the house specialty.

Location:  Amphitheater of the Historic Center of Havana

Address: Peña Pobre St. between Cuba and Avenida del Puerto

Management model: State 

Pricing: Variable (25 CUP for children under 12; between 50 and 300 CUP for adults depending on the show).  

Regular schedule: 5:00 p.m. for children's shows; 9:00 p.m. for concerts.

Avatar photo Eileen Sosín Martínez A journalist in training and professional coffee drinker. She sings not in the shower, but in the kitchen. More posts

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