Next week I’ve allowed myself a treat. The Moscow City Ballet comes to Tenerife, and I haven’t been to the ballet in about 12 or 13 years, the last winter I spent in England. Since the Auditorio in Santa Cruz opened in 2003 there has been the odd classical ballet performance, but, frustratingly, never at a time when I could go. So, that this is being performed not only in the culturally more sophisticated north, but also for one performance in the south is big news for lovers of classical ballet. For a very, very brief period in my childhood I dreamed of being a ballerina, but even at the tender age I was, it didn’t take much for me to realize that, even had my father agreed to the lessons for which I begged, there was a distinct lack of talent, not to mention grace. Still, for years I enjoyed watching other people perform. Of all ballets, they have chosen Swan Lake for this historic event, and I can’t even remember the last time I saw that, still, more about the ballet next week, after I’ve seen it.
The other day I went to collect the tickets, and took the opportunity to walk around the Magma Center, where it’s being performed. I attended a weekend workshop with La Cruz Roja there a couple of years ago, and it was only looking at the snaps we’d taken of the weekend afterwards, that I realized what a good-looking building it was. Normally, here you’ll find me singing the praises of tumble-down or renovated old buildings, and sighing over “what character they have”, but just for a change I offer you some snaps of the Magma Center, which is bang up-to-date modern design in a town which offers very little (if anything else) in the way of attractive architecture.
The Center, designed by a team of three architects Fernando Martin Menis, Felipe Artengo Rufino and José Maria Rodriguez Pastrana, was finished in 2005, to far less fanfare than the famous Opera House of Santa Cruz. Walking around, I found it easy to fall into sympathy with their vision. Unlike the stunning Auditorio, which looks like a giant wave cascading over a harbour wall, this building echoes not only the ocean, which lies like sparkling sapphire, visible from the front terrace, but also the rough and evocative, volcanic landscape which comprises much of the island. It is made mainly from concrete, but mirrors south Tenerife perfectly, that contrast between earth and ocean which lends such drama to the island.
Including the aforementioned workshop, this was only the second time I’d visited the building, and really I only took a couple of steps inside to pay for the tickets. The thing I remember vividly from my first visit was the way interior walls can be moved around to create spaces suited to the client’s needs, because it is what is described online as a multi-functional building, not only theater, but conference center, sports venue, exhibition center and more. I’m no way knowledgeable about architecture, and that concept was new and novel to me. Our needs that weekend were for conference rooms, space for practical activities, and a formal lunch, which I remember being extremely well-catered (not a big fan of en masse catering here!). Clearly, the ballet will require a theater, and it will be interesting to see how the space has been adapted. Watch this space – but in the meantime I am reminded that it isn’t only the old architecture which makes this island appealing.