Number 15 of my 16 candidates is the Palacio de Bellas Artes. It is an absolute must if you visit Mexico City, not just for the stunning architecture, and not just for the productions that are staged there (pretty inexpensive they are too) but also for the incredible murals that decorate the ornate interior.
The Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts) is the premier opera house of Mexico City. The building is famous for both its extravagant art nouveau exterior in imported Italian white marble and its murals by Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco. Rivera’s Man at the Crossroads mural was originally painted for the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Rivera had finished ⅔ of the mural when the Rockefellers objected to an image of Vladimir Lenin in the mural. When Rivera refused to remove Stalin, his commission was cancelled and the mural was destroyed. Rivera repainted it a smaller scale at the Palacio in 1934 and renamed it Man, Controller of the Universe. The theatre is used for classical music, opera and dance, notably the Baile Folklórico. A distinctive feature of the theatre is its stained glass curtain depicting a volcano and the valley of Mexico. Maria Callas sang in several productions at the Palacio early in her career, and recordings exist of several of her performances here. Palacio de Bellas Artes has been used as the site of wakes for artists of Mexican national importance such as Frida Kahlo in 1954 and María Félix in 2002. The Palacio hosted the North American premiere of the film Frida.