Teatro Real, MadridCategory: Madrid
Are you planning to visit Madrid, Spain in the upcoming future and looking for some interesting things to do and see while you’re in town? Are you a fan of the opera and classical music? If so, you may want to consider adding the Teatro Real to your itinerary. To help you become more familiar with this famous structure, below we have compiled some interesting facts about the Teatro Real, including its location, history and some of the information regarding the opera company that currently inhabits it.
Teatro Real: Interesting Facts
The Teatro Real de Madrid, or in English, the Royal Theatre of Madrid, is a major opera house and the most significant of its kind in all of Spain. It is located directly in front of the Royal Palace of Madrid, situated between the two plazas, or squares, of Plaza de Isabel II and Plaza de Oriente, and right next to the renowned Café de Oriente. This oft-visited section of Madrid is located in the historic heart of the city and very near some of the most famous sights, attractions and monuments.
The building that is now Teatro Real occupies the spot that was once home to the old theatre Los Caños del Peral, a theatre that was built in 1708 and torn down due to damage in 1818 to pave the way for the construction of the new theatre. Major setbacks, including a severe lack of funding, made for slow and erratic construction of Teatro Real. For 30 years the building remained about half-finished, during which time it was used for a number of other purposes, including a powder store, dance hall and quarters for the Guardia Civil, among others. However, in 1848 Queen Isabella II, a known lover of the opera, took a particular interest in the project and construction of the building gained new momentum. Two years later, on November 19, 1850, the Queen’s birthday, the Teatro Real was inaugurated (under the name Teatro de la Opera) with a performance of La Favorita by Gaetano Donizetti.
Teatro Real was forced to close in 1925, as the building’s foundation was suffering damage due to underground water flow, and because of funding problems (again) it would not reopen until 1965, this time not merely as an opera house, but as a concert hall and the headquarters of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid. In 1988, it was decided by city leaders that the building needed further refurbishment, and nine years later, in 1997 it opened once again as a world-class opera house.
Today the Teatro Real, which has retained much of its 19th century look and feel, is generally considered one of the finest opera stages in the world, mostly due to the buildings superior acoustics. The theatre is home to the Compañía del Teatro Real, a troupe that specializes in opera, but occasionally stages ballets as well. Many famous singers have graced the stage of Teatro Real, including Spain’s own Plácido Domingo. In addition to opera and ballet, the theatre has also become a major venue for classical musical performances.
Tourists who decide to visit the Teatro Real de Madrid can participate in the very reasonably priced daily tours of the facility, a tour which includes an up-close look at the stage and the Royal Box, where many of Spain’s Royals have sat over the years to enjoy opera and ballet performances. There is also a museum located within the theatre, where visitors can explore the history of Teatro Real from its early beginnings at the start of the 19th century to the present day.