Teatro Real (Royal Theatre), is a major opera house located in Madrid, Spain The Teatro Real opera is one of the great theaters of Europe and its seasons are home productions involving leading figures of the international singing, musical direction, stage direction and dance The theater also offers guided tours in several languages, including the auditorium, stage, workshops and rehearsal rooms

The Teatro Real has become the leading national opera house in Spain, with a significant international reputation It is considered to be the fifth most important Spanish cultural institution and the most important in the sphere of music and dramatic arts

The artistic projects of the Teatro Real have made it one of the great international centres of operatic activity and an undisputed landmark among Spanish cultural institutions Its artistic programme strives for excellence, nurturing both the traditional lyrical repertoire as well as contemporary works, incorporating twentieth-century and avant-garde music It believes strongly in offering the public a place where they can discover the best artists and creators of the moment It also pays particular attention to new audiences and introducing opera to young people.

The Teatro Real is the opera house of Madrid. It is located in the Plaza de Oriente, in front of the Royal Palace, and is one of the most emblematic monuments of the city. The Teatro Real is a Property of Cultural Interest (BIC) of the Spanish Historical Heritage, in the category of “Historical Monument”.

All of this, combined with the excellence of its Resident Choir and Orchestra, the use of cutting-edge technology and the long-running productions of shows of the highest artistic standards, with an increasingly high profile on stages throughout the five continents, has made the Teatro Real an important presence both inside and outside our borders

The Teatro Real is a Public Foundation, with significant participation by civilian society in its governing bodies and in its financing The management of the theatre is autonomous, stable and professional, as is only to be expected of the principal cultural institutions of the state Its presidents are the King and Queen of Spain and it has the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the Community of Madrid as founding Public Administrative bodies

King Ferdinand VII promoted the construction in Madrid of an opera house included in the remodeling project of the Plaza de Oriente. To this end, the former Teatro de los Caños del Peral was ordered to be demolished. The project was commissioned by the architect Antonio López Aguado, who designed a building with irregular hexagonal shape, whose main facade would look at the Plaza de Oriente and the other, smaller packaging, would fall on the current Plaza de Isabel II. The first stone of the new opera house was put on April 23, 1818, but the shortage of funds of the Royal House prevented the works to start before 1830. Upon the death of the architect, the project was assumed by Custodio Teodoro Moreno . After the accession to the throne of Queen Isabel II, numerous political and bureaucratic events paralyzed the execution of the project, until 7 of May of 1850, by means of a Real Order, the works of the Theater were impelled, demanding its completion in a six months, as it was done.

In the interior decoration worked the most important artists and decorators of the time, such as Rafael Tejeo, Eugenio Lucas, who painted the ceilings, or Humanité-René Philastre, who designed the curtain. Apart from the auditorium, which was said to have a capacity of 2,800 spectators (although in reality it was expected to be 2,200), there were two dance halls, three rest rooms, a confectionery shop, a café, a dressing table and a wardrobe. All these comforts had been copied from the great European theaters of the time, like the San Carlo of Naples or La Scala of Milan.

The Theater was inaugurated the 19 of November of 1850, coinciding with the onomastic of the sovereign. The work chosen for the premiere was Gaetano Donizetti’s favorite opera, and performed by renowned artists such as the contralto Marietta Alboni, the soprano Erminia Frezzolini or the conductor Michele Rachele.

From 1867 it housed the Madrid Royal Conservatory until 1925 when a Royal Order of 6 December called for eviction owing to the damage that the construction of the Metro de Madrid had caused to the building Despite its closure, the government always contemplated the possibility of restoring it, ordering numerous projects, such as the architect Urdanpilleta Flórez, who raised a pharaonic remodeling of the building However, financial difficulties prevented the completion of these projects and led to a simple restoration, sponsored by the Juan March Institute, and carried out first by the architect Manuel Gonzalez Valcárcel, and later by architects Miguel Verdú Belmonte and Francisco Rodriguez Partearroyo

The theatre reopened in 1966 as a concert hall as well as the main concert venue for the Spanish National Orchestra and the RTVE Symphony Orchestra The reopening was celebrated with a concert of the Spanish National Orchestra conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, and the Orfeón Donostiarra In 1969, the 14th Eurovision Song Contest was held at the theatre, featuring an onstage metal sculpture created by surrealist Spanish artist Salvador Dalí

In the 1990s, the house was remodeled to host opera again The building was completed in late 1995, then the process of technical, administrative, artistic and functional organization began which led to the opening of the theatre in 1997 The remodeling was based on the old classical style of opera house with only basic modernization leaving many seats without a view of the stage A considerable percentage of seats have a limited or zero view of the stage and a live stream of operas and ballets is projected on the upper side walls of the house so that the entire audience can follow the performance regardless of their view of the stage.

After his symphonic activity ceased in the summer of 1988, in January of 1991 began the remodeling works for the reconversion of the Theater in an opera room. The project was led by the architect José Manuel González Valcárcel, who encountered difficulties that delayed the work. These difficulties culminated with the death of the own architect in the same Theater during a visit to the works. The Ministry of Culture commissioned another architect, Francisco Rodríguez de Partearroyo, a study of alternatives that soon became a new project, which was approved for execution. The building was finished at the end of 1995: the process of technical, administrative, artistic and functional organization began, which led to the inauguration in 1997 of a theater and a company at full capacity.

The Teatro Real room retained the original Italian-style structure and recovered the original decoration from the 1880s. Despite the small size of the patio, the total seating capacity is 1,746 seats at most, thanks to the 15 rows that houses the area called “Paradise”, above the fourth floor, which takes advantage of the increase in deck height achieved in the works of the 1920s, as was done in the 1966 reform. increase the reverberation time slightly, to an ideal term for an opera room of this size.45

Outside the room, the entrance foyer was decorated with an elliptical colonnade lined with tropical wood. The second floor, accessible to all the attending public, allows to circulate around the perimeter of the building, communicating the lobby with the restaurant, located in the former royal ballroom, on the back façade. An upper vestibule, which opens with large windows to the top of the façade above the Plaza de Oriente, completes the public areas of the Theater.

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Sala Gayarre, with 190 localities, was inaugurated in 2007, which is used for various complementary activities, such as concerts and performances of chamber opera, recitals, pedagogical activities, conferences, colloquia, courses and projections.

Taking advantage of the immense volume resulting from the expansion of the stage box in the 1920s, which provides a span of more than 80 meters from the basements to the top of the loom tower, a complex machinery designed to carry out scenic movements in vertical, before the lack of lateral space, forced by the design of the plant of the theater. The stage space available for the scenographies exceeds 600 square meters in level zero, and reaches up to 1,430 if you add the areas of assembly to 16 meters below the stage and the patio seats. The floor of the stage is composed of 9 platforms that allow to move the scenographies between both levels. The wide stage mouth is 18 meters wide and 14 meters high, and the scenic tower places the grid that hangs the whole section (motorized, and electronically controlled) at 37 meters above the stage floor. The entrance of material located in the entrance hall of the Plaza de Isabel II communicates directly with the stage box and allows to deposit the load directly from the trailers of the trucks on the same floor of the stage.

Practically all the spaces involved in the work of elaborating an operatic spectacle are housed in the theater building itself, from the administrative offices to the warehouses of material or the machine shops. Rooms equipped for the orchestra, choir and dance body, as well as a stage rehearsal room of the same dimensions of the main stage were built on the roof of the building. Also housed in the building are props, tailoring, hairdressing and characterization workshops, as well as several individual rehearsal rooms for artists.

The Theater opened its doors again on October 11, 1997, at a gala ceremony presided over by the Kings of Spain, in which two works by Manuel de Falla were performed: the ballet El sombrero de tres picos (with the sets and original Pablo Picasso figurines) and the opera La vida breve, staged by Francisco Nieva. Both were directed by the new musical director of the Theater, Luis Antonio Garcia Navarro. With this act it put an end to the period of 72 years during which Madrid had not been able to enjoy its great Opera House. From the closing in 1925 until a small regular season began in the 60’s, at the Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid had only had opera in a punctual and irregular way. The seasons of the Theater of the Zarzuela allowed to reactivate the liking of the public of Madrid, but restricted to a small theater and with modest technical conditions. The inauguration of the Real began, without interruption, and from the first moment, to a complete season, with a sustainable subscriber system, which opened a new operatic stage in Madrid.

In the second stage of the Royal Theater have participated first international figures of the singing, the musical direction, the direction of scene and the dance. Among them, the tenors Juan Diego Flórez, Aquiles Machado or José Bros, the baritones José van Dam, Leo Nucci or Carlos Álvarez, the bass Ruggero Raimondi, Willard White or Matti Salminen, the sopranos Maria Bayo, Inva Mula, Cecilia Bartoli, Daniela Dessi, Norah Amsellem, Deborah Polaski, Nina Stemme, Violeta Urmana or Edita Gruberova, directors Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado, Valeri Gergiev, Riccardo Muti, Semyon Bychkov or Teodor Currentzis and stage directors Giancarlo del Monaco, Pier Luigi Pizzi, Anne’s Hugo, Peter Sellars, Robert Carsen and Michael Haneke. Particularly welcome were the appearances of the Madrid tenor Plácido Domingo, who in one of them, the performance of the opera of Verdi Simon Boccanegra, received 25 minutes of applause from the public.

Since its reopening as an opera house, the titular orchestra is the Madrid Symphony.

The Teatro Real hosts some 180 opera and ballet performances per season, as well as an extensive program of concerts, recitals and other activities, between September and July. The Pedagogical Project (currently called “Real Junior”), in collaboration with other Madrid theaters, presents different shows related to the world of opera, adapted for children of different ages, which are attended by educational centers throughout Spain. visit daily, with various guided tours, including the stage box and the rehearsal rooms and workshops.

In July 2011, on the occasion of the assembly of the opera of Olivier Messiaen San Francisco de Asís, performances for the first time were offered for the opera season of the Teatro Real outside the Plaza de Oriente building. In this case, the performances took place at the Madrid Arena. At the beginning of the next season, in September 2011, the first company of the Teatro Real was invited to perform in an opera theater outside Spain, specifically at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, with the production of Kurt Weill’s opera Ascent and fall of the city of Mahagonny. In August 2017 the company (with orchestra and choir) performed at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, with the production of I Puritani. Some of the main productions of the Theater have been presented in other great opera houses of the world, with great success (La Bohéme, The Perfect American, C (h) œurs, Poppea and Nerone, Così fan tutte, etc.).

The theater has also been visited by companies from some of the major European opera houses (Royal Mint in Brussels, Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Bolshoi in Moscow, Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin) ballet companies (St. Petersburg, Milan, Paris, London, Stuttgart, etc.).

At this stage, the theater has been the scene in which different operas have been premiered, mainly by Spanish authors, such as Antón García Abril, Cristóbal Halffter, Luis de Pablo, José María Sánchez Verdú, Leonardo Balada or Mauricio Sotelo, sometimes product of an order of the Theater itself. Among them is that the first composer who has premiered an opera in the Real has been Pilar Jurado, on February 11, 2011, with her work La página en blanco, followed by Elena Mendoza, with the premiere of La ciudad de las lies on February 20, 2017.

In January 2013, the Royal Theater hosted the world premiere of Philip Glass’s opera, The Perfect American, about the life of Walt Disney; the work was well received by critics and the public. In 2014, the world premiere of the opera Brokeback Mountain by Charles Wuorinen, adapted from the homonymous narrative of Annie Proulx, also author of the libretto. The presentation of this opera aroused a great expectation in the means and good reception of the public.

In addition to the premieres, the Royal Theater has recovered works forgotten or not frequently represented, from Spanish authors such as Ruperto Chapí, Tomás Bretón, Isaac Albéniz, Emilio Arrieta or Vicente Martín y Soler. He has also presented contemporary lyric works by Spanish-American authors such as Alberto Ginastera, Osvaldo Golijov and Daniel Catán.

In 2016, the three years of programming and commemorative events with which the Teatro Real will celebrate, on a national and international level, a double anniversary: ​​the 200th anniversary of the beginning of its construction in 1818, and the 20 years of its reopening in 1997, when the opera returned to the stage of the Plaza de Oriente after 72 years of absence. The heyday of the celebrations will be the season 2017-2018, whose years welcome both anniversaries. The commemoration of the Bicentennial has been declared “an event of exceptional public interest” in the Law on State Budgets in 2015.

In addition to the usual lyrical season, the Theater has often been the scene of different events not related to the world of opera, such as the 2011 Goya Awards ceremony, or the Christmas Lottery draws as of 2012 Both the main hall and the different halls of the theater can be hired for activities or shows parallel to the official season.

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