The grand Belle Epoque stadium known as La Rural was built at the turn of the 20th century overlooking Plaza Italia. It served as the parade grounds for the Sociedad Rural Argentina, an association of wealthy landowners from all over the country founded in 1866. During their annual meetings in Buenos Aires, they would parade their most prized animals, along with their gaucho workers, and compete for awards. By promoting Argentina's agricultural resources, it was through this association that Argentina was able to become an important world economic force by the end of the 1800s. Their headquarters remain in Buenos Aires on the 400 block of Calle Florida. A modern exhibition hall has been added and is often the site of international expos, conferences, and other exhibitions. The United States Embassy is located behind this complex.
To get an idea of what the experience was like in the society's heyday, tourists should book a night with Opera Pampa, an event held in the old stadium. The show covers the at-times-violent history of Argentina, beginning with the Spanish conquest of the Indians, the 1810 Independence, Roca's slaughter of thousands of Indians in the province of Buenos Aires, through European immigration to Buenos Aires at the beginning of the 20th century. The scenes related to Indian history are exceedingly violent and sad, and include the song "Fuera Fuera" ("Away, Away") as the Indians are forced to leave and one Indian remains behind, begging a soldier to let him stay. The most dramatic scenes are those relating to San Martín and the revolution, full of charging horses and simulated cannon fights. Cheerier portions include gaucho gatherings in pulperías, country bars where they would sing and dance after working on the estancias (farms). The Zamba, the national dance performed with white handkerchiefs, is featured in these scenes. (The tango, in spite of its fame and association with Argentina, is not the national dance.) The show is brilliantly choreographed and exciting to watch. Afterward, patrons are treated to an enormous all-you-can-eat asado (Argentine barbecue) in the stadium's dining hall. An evening here will give you a far better understanding of Argentina's history. I would recommend it for children because it is historically educational, but parents have to make a decision weighing that with the violence.
- © Frommer's 2013
Ask a local about La Rural & Opera PampaLocals have answered 82 questions about Buenos Aires.
Ask Buenos Aires Locals about La Rural & Opera Pampa
- Recommended 2010
- visit website
- tel: 11/4777-5557
- La Rural Stadium and Exhibition Hall on Av. Las Heras, at the intersection of Av. Santa Fe overlooking Plaza Italia. Opera Pampa office and information is at Av. Sarmiento, at Calle Paso
- Buenos Aires
- Showtimes Fri-Sat 8pm, dinner following
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