The big, plush Royal Carré Theater, on the banks of the Amstel River, opened in 1887 and used to be a full-time circus arena. These days, clowns and animals are infrequent visitors, though spectacles such as the Cirque du Soleil fill the gap. In addition to opera, modern dance, and ballet, look for lavish Dutch-language productions of top Broadway and London musicals. On occasion, a visiting show is in English. Top rockers and pop stars have performed here, but the biggest names now strut their stuff at Amsterdam ArenA. Get tickets as far in advance as possible -- the hottest shows always sell out quickly.