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"Attend an Opera in the Royal Theatre" Plaza de Oriente Tip by DanielF

Plaza de Oriente, Madrid: 34 reviews and 57 photos


The Royal Theatre hosts Madrid's opera house and counterbalances the monumental façade of the Royal Palace on the opposite side of Orient Square. It was built in the 19th century under the sponsoring of Queen Elizabeth II, following plans of Antonio López Aguado and Custodio Moreno, who designed an elegant and austere building inspired by the great Italian theatres like La Scala or San Carlo. In the interior of the hexagon-shaped building the impressive Royal loggia, designed to cater for the needs of the monarchs, is worth of admiration. The Theatre was inaugurated in 1850 with the occasion of the queen's birthday. The chosen opera for that event was La Favorita by Donizetti.

The Royal Theatre has had a tormented history since its very opening. Due to mismanagement, it was a complete economic fiasco. Damaged by fires and general decay, it had to be closed in the early 20th century. It was restored decades later but, due to the lack of funds, only as a concert hall. From that time it hosted such prosaic events as the only Eurovision Song Contest ever held in Spain, in 1969.

Only in the 1990's a new restoration project allowed for the transformation of the theatre into a proper Opera house. This last remodelling project was particularly controversial: it took many more years than it was expected; and resignations, accidents and scandals were common during that time, feeding the legend of a supposedly haunted theatre full of phantoms of the opera. Fortunately, since the reopening, Madrid has rediscovered its place in the world map of the queen of performing arts.

Address: Between Royal Palace and Opera House

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 27, 2008
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