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Connoisseur's Guide · Europe · spain · Madrid · The World’s Most Special and Legendary Opera Houses

Teatro Real

Author: Margarita Zieda0 COMMENTS

Teatro Real

El Real - the Spanish Royal Opera - is definitely worth your attention, firstly, thanks to the company's new leader Gerard Mortier, one of the world's most intelligent and artistically most interesting opera general directors. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the golden age of his creative thinking tranformed La Monnaie - the National Opera of Belgium - into the most exciting European opera company. A more recent challenge, Mortier's tenure as the head of Opéra National de Paris, made the typical first-night audience of politicians and bankers boo like there was no tomorrow - and the discerning culture traveller include both Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille in his mandatory itinerary. The general director's daring experiments - unheard of during the time when the company was operating in a 'normal opera mode' - always involved very serious artists whose output was invariably work of the highest quality.
Gerard Mortier's greatest ally, both in Brussels and Paris, Sylvain Cambreling - a conductor always ready to try something new - is now also part of his team at Teatro Real. (The Parisian opera-goers found Cambreling's radical new reading of Verdi's La Traviata so scandalous that the administration eventually succumbed to the incredibly aggressive pressure, replacing the conductor at all further performances; Cambreling, encouraged by the famous 'time decelerator' Christoph Marthaler, had decided to slow down the tempo of the score.)
The 2011/2012 Season of Teatro Real will see Sylvain Cambreling team up with the icon of American avant-garde theatre Robert Wilson to stage Pelléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy. Wilson has already created a new impossible-to-pigeon-hole piece for Teatro Real, dedicated to the performance artist Marina Abramović who also appears on the stage where her 'life and death' is being played out.
The playbill of El Real's new theatre season features the names of some of Europe's most interesting conductors, directors, singers and choreographers.
The actual opera house of Teatro Real is a unique phenomenon thanks to its incredibly lengthy breaks: the theatre has been known to close down for decades while the building is being renovated. The new building of Teatro Real, set a stone's throw from Palacio Real, was opened on 19 November 1850 in presence of the Spanish Queen Isabella II. The following decades saw it become one of the most influential European opera houses; however, it was closed down in 1925 due to the disastrous state of the building. It was an incredible forty-one years later that the opera house re-opened - as a concert hall: the necessary stage equipment was lacking. Teatro Real is open as a full-fledged opera house since 1997, restored to its former royal glory.

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