Considering the fame of Spanish operatic singers such as Victoria de Los Ángeles, Plácido Domingo, and José Carreras, there is a surprising lack of opera houses in Spain. The closure of the Royal Theatre, Madrid, in the 1920s left the Liceu Theatre, Barcelona, as the only dedicated venue in the country, and when that theatre was burnt down in 1994 during renovation, there was none until the eventual reopening of the refurbished Royal as an opera house in 1997. However, Madrid and other centres were not completely deprived of operatic performances, since individual productions and limited operatic seasons were staged at various theatres. In Madrid, for example, the Zarzuela Theatre was a frequent venue from 1955, and the Madrid Opera Festival was held annually from 1964. Elsewhere the Associations of Friends of the Opera (Asociaciones de Amigos de la Opera) were responsible for organizing short festivals in the major cities. In the late 1980s and the 1990s venues for opera seasons increased as theatres were either refurbished or built as the result of joint investment by the state and the autonomous regions and city councils. In Seville, for example, the Teatro de la Maestranza was inaugurated in 1991, and an extended opera season organized for Expo-92.
   Although the classical repertoire predominates, new operas by Spanish composers have included Luis de Pablo's Kiú (1983) and El viajero indiscreto (The Indiscreet Traveller) (1990), both at the Zarzuela, J.L.Turina's Ligazón (Liaison) (1982) in Cuenca, Joan Guinjoan's Laudí (1992) on the occasion of the Barcelona Olympic Games, and García Abril's Divinas Palabras (based on Valle-Inclán's play Divine Words) (1997) at the Royal Theatre.
   See also: music; performing arts; zarzuela

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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