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Madrid is a lively centre for the Performing Arts, almost all of it will be in Spanish though, yet even people with a limited amount of Spanish will find something worth their trip. Above all, Spanish theatre provides amongst the cheapest seats in all of Europe! And you sample a lot of fashionable performance in Madrid at the moment.
If you’re looking for
there are plenty of concert halls and small venues playing from the usual pop stuff to the more local flavor of Singer-Song Writers and Flamenco sounds. A word of warning here, if you are new to Flamenco, it’s worth knowing that there is a light variety played predominantly for tourists, and a more ‘hard-core’ variety that maybe requires attuning your ear to its very harsh tonalities before you attempt it.
Of course, you might prefer to view the usual assortment of popular
that won’t stretch the imagination but can be fun to watch. Even better, how about an opera or even a ‘zarzuela’?
is generally staged at
, if you’re lucky you might be able to catch a performance by Plácido Domingo, but then you’ll need to be really lucky to get tickets! Tickets, which of course, will be more expensive. Nonetheless,
has a very good reputation for high quality productions and any Opera lover will want to visit it. However, you might prefer to see a local
a light operetta-type performance. They are short and sweet, usually lasting about 90 minutes, and they have an emphasis for local happy sounds and colors. They may not be as sophisticated as opera productions but they have a large following in Spain . They are staged at the
Teatro de la Zarzuela
and they exude very distinctive local sounds (using Spanish instrumentation and tonalities), which some visitors may find interesting.
scene is well represented with a fine variety of examples: the classical version at
, and the more folkloric version at
. Meanwhile, contemporary dance can be seen at
but also at the smaller
El canto de la cabra
La cuarta pared
for a more trendy outlook. Perhaps, you may wish to see the Flamenco & Dance fusion that has made choreographer and performer
so popular outside Spain . Check out listings for current shows.
world of theatre
is represented in a variety of forms.
(usually Golden Age 16th or 17th century drama) are performed year round by the Spanish Classical Theatre Company
, at the
(at least at the time of writing whilst their usual venue
Teatro de la comedia
is being refurbished).
are staged by the National Theatre Company
Centro Dramático Nacional (CDN)
at their venues
Meanwhile, far more trendy places like
combine a full repertoire of classics and contemporary writing. This is a favorite theatre in Madrid because the company always tries to bring a fresher look into theatre making and the results can be outstanding. But, if you’re in the mood for the
scene, there are plenty of good little venues, unpretentious and with very limited resources, that may surprise you, amongst them:
Cuarta Pared – Pradillo – El canto de la cabra – Triángulo...
Here, you may catch the latest experiment with theatrical form by Writer-Director
Rodrigo García & La Carnicería Teatro
or the collective
amongst many other fine performers. Maybe not all the work presented in these smaller places will appeal to a wide audience, and quality is variable, but they’re worth considering.
The best way to find out about current
, is to buy either a newspaper like
or even better
, which contains a full weekly program with opening times and prices.
The information printed in the press will give a contact telephone number for a booking agency, usually these are run by two major Banks and a large department store
El Corte Inglés
(of course there is a small booking fee)
The operators will book tickets with major credit cards (but not all), and annoyingly, one of them will not accept credits cards issued outside Spain. They’ll only book one month in advance maximum. They also operate
bookings, ... it’s more convenient and you can easily search for your choice of show.
An easier and more comfortable alternative is to go straight to the
theatre’s box office. Opening times are advertised and you can even go 1 hour before the performance and get tickets easily (unless, of course it’s a very successful play or a musical).
Now for the good news, the theatre is not expensive in Madrid . Even better, one day a week there is such a thing as
when all tickets are half price. These days vary according to each venue, but normally it’s either Wednesday or Thursday.
Most major theatres
between Tuesday and Sunday, and almost all of them
on Mondays, smaller venues may only open at weekends. Some will offer an earlier show on Sundays, not quite a matinee but the closest.
Overall the theatrical scene in Madrid is becoming increasingly vibrant, with international contributions enhancing the local product. Of course, it depends when you go whether you get lucky and see a good show or not...but they are very few failed attempts and the larger companies guarantee a high degree of customer satisfaction.