One of the world’s finest acoustic settings for opera, the up-to-date technical side of this theater is as impressive as its 19th-century over-the-top ornamentation. On November 19, 1850, under the reign of Queen Isabel II, the Royal Opera House opened its doors with Donizetti’s “La Favorita.” Today the building is the home of the Compañía del Teatro Real, which specializes in opera, as well as the Orquestra Sinfónica de Madrid, which plays classical concerts and accompanies opera and ballet. The best way to appreciate the grand space is to attend a performance, of course, but three different tours are also available. The general tour (limit of 25) shows you the lobby, the Café de Palacio, the formal rooms, the Ballroom restaurant, and the main auditorium (with a peek at the royal box). The “artistic” tour (limit of 15) is a behind-the-curtain look at dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, the choir, the orchestra pit, and costume workshops. The technical tour (limit of 12) indulges equipment geeks who love ropes and pulleys and other tools of stage magic.
- Frommer's Staff