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Culture is deeply ingrained in the Catalan soul, and the performing arts are strong. Long a city of the arts, Barcelona experienced a cultural decline during the Franco years, but now it is filled once again with the best opera, symphonic, and choral music. At the venues listed here, unless otherwise specified, ticket prices depend on the event. Tickets can be bought at the venues, but it's often more convenient and easier to use one of the special ticket services or buy online. The bank Caixa Catalunya sells entradas for many events, and it also has the wondrous ServiCaixa -- an automated machine that dispenses theater and cinema tickets -- in many of its branches. Tel-entrada (tel. 90-233-22-11) lets you buy over the phone with your credit card.

Cinema

In Barcelona there's a good choice of cinemas showing original-language (versió original) movies -- mostly in English -- with Spanish subtitles. Some offer Monday and Wednesday discounts. Weekends are popular (and crowded), with most movie houses also featuring late-night shows that start at 1am. Check the Guía del Ocio, Metropolitan-Barcelona, and local papers such as El País and La Vanguardia for information on showings, times, and screenings of special programmes.

Flamenco

Though flamenco isn't the rage here that it is in Seville and Madrid, it has its devotees. It's not a Catalan tradition, but Barcelona has an active Andalucian population and dancers with as much verve and color as you'd find farther south.

Theater

The majority of theater in Barcelona is presented in Catalan by Spanish production companies. Avant-garde theater and comedy is particularly strong; La Fura dels Baus is an internationally renowned troupe, El Comedients and La Cubana draw on local folklore and popular culture to make us laugh, and El Tricicle is a well-loved trio of comedians whose medium is mime. The Catalan director Calixto Bieito is one of the world's leading directors, renowned for his contemporary and often violent versions of Shakespeare's work.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.