Category Archives: Entertainment

Fiesta of the Virgen de la Paloma

The month of August sees a number of fiestas going on around the city. Probably the biggest and most wel known is the Virgen de la Paloma, which has been celebrated since the 18th century. Around ‘old Madrid’ – Plaza de las Vistillas, La Paloma and Toledo streets and the Plaza de la Paja and Plaza de los Carros you will find a number of events (concerts, processions and street events) going on and people dressed in traditional Marileño costume. The fiesta starts on the 11th August and culminates on the 15th with the procession of a picture of the Virgin through the streets carried by the fireman of the city council.

La Otra Mirada del Flamenco – Flamenco Festival

TeatropradilloThe flamenco festival La Otra Mirada del Flamenco will this year celebrate its tenth anniversary at the Teatro Pradillo. It has supported comtemporary flamenco artists and projects over the decade and says itself that some of the productions have been quite risky and have broken new ground. For the tenth anniversary they have put together a line up of both young and well-known artists such as Belén Maya and Rafaela Carrasco, Angel Rojas, Manuel Liñán and Silvia Marín.

The press information actually says that La Otra Mirada del Flamenco will give international visitors to Madrid an alternative flamenco programme of great quality in a small format to the purely commercial offerings that can be found.

Ticket Prices: 12 Euros can be bought at the theatre
Address: C/ Pradillo, 12
Metro: Concha Espina (Exit Plaza Cataluña)

Madrid’s Cultural Summer Programme

Veranos2Throughout July and right up to August 14th, the Madrid City Council puts on its summer entertainment programme, called Veranos de la Villa, which sees events taking place both indoors and outdoors and cuts across the cultural spectrum. It is a wonderful opportunity to see Spanish culture at its best and the programme includes flamenco, dance, music, zarzuela, theatre and much more. Here are some examples of what’s on offer:

  • Soloists from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden will sing in the Plaza de Oriente (in front  of the Royal Palace).
  • Flamenco dance companies and singers like Compañia Manuela Carrasco, La Tana (Montse Cortés), Belén Maya, Carmen Linares and El Cigala will also play the Sabatini Gardens
  • Richard III will be performed by the Centro Drámatico Galego
  • Miguel Riós, Roberta Flack, Robert Cray and Antonio Vega will play the Patio Central de Conde Duque

This is just a small selection of what’s going on over this time. I would suggest you take a look at the  Veranos de la Villa site – it is in Spanish but you should be able to find your way around. Tip: Actividades means activities/events and Espacios, venues. Many of the events are free, though there is a small charge for indoor venues.

The Barber of Seville at the Teatro Real

Barber_of_seville_1Rossini’s Opera, the Barber of Seville, opens today at Madrid’s Teatro Real. Under the musical directorship of Gianluigi Gelmetti the opera will run until the 29th January and is being staged by the Teatro Real company in association with Teatro São Carlos from Lisbon.

There are 14 performances and 6 of these provide for reduced ticket prices (up to 50%)). Should you be unable to get a ticket, you can catch a live performance on TVE2, Spain’s public television channel, which is showing a live performance on 25th January at 8 p.m. Tickets can be bought from the Teatro Real box office (Metro Ópera).

What’s Going on in Madrid over Christmas

Just before I sign off for Christmas, here’s a link to a pdf that you can download from the Madrid City Council website which lists a number of events – concerts, workshops, shows and nativity scenes – that are going on in the city until the second week of January. It is in Spanish but you should be able to make out  a lot of what is said. Consulta al Programa de las Fiestas (2.470 KB) (2004)

Related Links (2005)
Madrid Opens Ice Rink for Christmas (2005)
Children the Central Focus of Christmas in Madrid (2005)
Christmas Lights Around Madrid
Christmas Nativity Scenes and Markets in Madrid (2005)
Retiro Ice Rink Opens for Christmas (2005)

Music in the Plazas of Madrid over Christmas

Over the Christmas period the City Council of Madrid has organised a series of concerts at some of the main squares across the city.

Plaza del Conde de Barajas – 22nd December (8 p.m.)

Orfeón de Madrid

Plaza de Colón – 23rd December (8 p.m.)
Orfeón de Madrid

Plaza de Carros – 26th
December (8 p.m.)

Nueva Orleans Jazz Band 

Plaza Santa Ana – 27th December
(8 p.m.)

Orfeón de Madrid 

Plaza del Conde de Barajas* – 28th December (8 p.m.)
Cuadro Flamenco. Talegón de Córdoba y Manuel Malena 

Plaza de Oriente – 29th December
(8 p.m.)

Orfeón de Madrid

Plaza del Conde de Barajas – 30th December (8p.m.)
Matritum Cantat

*concerts in the Plaza
del Conde de Barajas take place next to the City Council Nativity Scene

Christmas fun for the Children

This Christmas the city of Madrid will be putting on an a number of shows and activities specifically targeted at children. As the events are mainly in Spanish, this article is aimed at my Spanish (or Spanish speaking) readers. You will find Alice in Wonderland (Alicia en el país de las maravillas); Garfield; Sleeping Beauty (La bella durmiente); the Snow Queen (La Reina de las Nieves); Romeo and Juliet and Los Lunnis (a popular Spanish TV programme for children).

In the Centro Cultural Conde Duque children will be able to choose from theatre, music and the cinema; whilst there are a couple of street shows in the Retiro Park related to Don Quixote. The Auditorio del Conde Duque will also project the silent films of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, complete with a piano in the auditorium.

In addition, children can see puppet shows and the ‘smallest circus in the world’

More information
Navidad para toda la familia (El Mundo)
Diversión para niños en Navidad (Esmadrid)

Mamma Mia, the musical, comes to Madrid

El_mundo_abba_1The International hit, Mamma Mia, has finally landed in Madrid. The show, written by Catherine Johnson, opens on the 11th November in the Teatro Lope de Vega de Madrid. The musical has been translated into Spanish by Juan Martinez Moreno and the lyrics of the songs by Albert Mas-Griera. Mamma Mia is said to be the biggest musical in the world, with over 18 million people having seen it.

The story unfolds on a tiny Greek island. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings 3 men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. The show is in Spanish and its main characters are: Nina, Marta Valverde and Paula Sebastiá.

Address: Teatro Lope de Vega de Madrid (Gran Vía, 57).
Times: Tues-Thurs at 8pm; Fri & Sat: 6pm & 10pm; Sun: 7pm
Price: 15 – 65 euros. Ticket Sales: Box Office and El Corte Inglés (www.elcorteingles or 902 40 02 22)

Links of Interest
Mamma Mia Official site
El Mundo Preview

Festival de Otoño – a festival of music, theatre and dance

Los_elementos_1 Starting on the 13th Ocotber and going on until the 14th November, the Festival de Otoño (Autumn festival) brings together dance, music and theatre acts to a wide range of venues across Madrid. You can enjoy music from Brazil, including Caetano Veloso, and the Serrat Sinfónico. Dance spectacles come from Spain, Belgium and Holland and inlcude a flamenco show called the 4 elements.

Continue reading

Top Tips for Madrid (Part 1)

1. Get the Metro or Airport Bus from the airport to the centre of town. It’s far cheaper than a taxi.
2. In order to get around the city buy a 10-ticket metro/bus pass. This entitles you to use both the bus and metro – also don’t forget to ask for a metro map at any station.
3. Free admission to the Prado Museum on Sundays and for over 65’s and under 18’s with identification at all times.
4. Buy a reduced price ticket(7.66 Euros) for the Golden Triangle of Museums, which allows you to get in to the Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen Musuem.
5. Keep an eye out for the Menú del Día (plate of the day) signs. It consists of a 3-course meal and has to be offered by all eating establishments. It is usually accompanied with bread and wine and usually offers great value from around 9/10 Euros.
6. Buy the Guía del Ocio guide or the Metropoli arts/culture magazine from the newspaper El Mundo on Fridays.
7. Change your eating/going out times. The Spanish eat lunch around 2-3 pm; dinner between 8-10 pm and won’t go out on the town till around 10.30pm
8. Don’t worry about the drinking water, it is exceptionally good and comes from the Madrid mountains.
9. Don’t buy/sell currency from the small exhange booths (usually located around Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía). For a much better exchange rate go direct to the big banks but don’t forget they close at around 2pm.
10. Remember that most palaces, museums and other places of interest are closed on Mondays.

Sara Baras brings her flamenco show ‘Sueños’ to Madrid


“… her dance is sculptural and magnificent, her footwork of a virtuosity rarely attained by a female flamenco dancer.” — Le Figaro

From the 17th August to the 5th Spetember, visitors to the Teatro Lope de Vega will be able to enjoy a flamenco show given by one of the countries most popular Flamenco Artists, Sara Baras. Her show Sueños, which has toured all over the world, will display to the audience the various forms of this dance form. She is accompanied by 7 dancers and 3 musicians in a 2-hour show which will mark the end of Festival Chivas Regal. Take a look at the Sara Baras website for more information on her and her shows (some of it is in English, just click on Biografía). You can also find more information on Sara Baras on Flamenco World.

Ticket Prices: 15 to 33 Euros
Ticket Sales:Box Office & El Corte Inglés
Address/Telephone: Gran Vía, 57; 91 547 20 11
Metro: Santa Domingo

Veranos de la Villa – Madrid Summer Festival


For 2006 click here: Veranos de la Villa 2006

During the months of July and August, the streets, gardens, theatres and other public places of Madrid see a number of activities organised by the Madrid Council for Art and called Veranos de la Villa. The city plays host to dance, music, theatrical events and zarzuela throughout this period. You can catch Flamenco Nights in the Sabatini Gardens (next to the Royal Palace); Spirit of the Dance by the Arabic Wall; Bizet’s Carmen, Madame Butterfly and Steve Winwood in Conde Duque and a variety of Zarzuelas, too.

Details of the events, times and prices can be found on the Veranos de la Villa website or you can download the Veranos de la Villa press release.  In the ‘Useful Information‘ section of the site, you will find the Madrid locations where these events take place.

Related Links
Veranos de la Villa 2006

Parque de Attracciones – Amusement park

Parque de Atracciones, Madrid theme parkThe Parque de Atracciones, set in Madrid’s vast Casa de Campo park, is the city’s main theme park. It has been around for many, many years and is open all year round. Summer makes it an ideal place to visit, especially at night, because in addition to its many attractions the air is much cooler than the centre of the city. Here is an excerpt from the website on the attractions you can expect:

Mythical roller coasters like 7 Picos (7 peaks) are joined by such impressive attractions as El Tornado, La Lanzadera or La Turbina. Roller coasters that reach speeds of 80 km/h, giant pendulums that can move 180 degrees, or free falls from 63 metres high turn your visit into an unforgettable experience. Strong emotions are the order of the day on aquatic attractions such as Los Fiordos or Los Rápidos, which offer a good moment to cool down.

In the Tranquil Zone more relaxing activities are offered such as boats trips in the jungle, a 15 metre high ferris wheel, or great radio control games.Small children have their own area with small roller coasters and water slides, bumper cars or pirate ships, all mini sized.Puppet theatres, train rides or adventure playgrounds complete the offering.

During the summer months the Parque de Atracciones plays host to a number of concerts, with performances taking place in a specially designed auditorium. In addition, there are a huge amount of bars and restaurants to be found within the park – it is also refreshing to find restaurants which will serve up typical Spanish fair and not the usual junk food you associate with theme parks. However, if you wish to bring your own food and drink, there are zones/picnic areas set apart for people to enjoy pre-prepared food.

Entry Prices
Calco (pass) adult (7 and above) 20.90 €.
Calco (pass) child (children 3-7 ): 11.80 €.
Child under 3 : Free admission.
Admission only:5.00 €.

Getting there
Bus: Lines 33 and 35.
Metro: Line 10 (Batán Station).

Cine Doré and Filmoteca – No Blockbuster films here!


Cine Doré is a great film theatre, which dates back to 1923. The films it shows are certainly not the blockbusters you see in mainstream Spanish cinemas (and almost always dubbed) and acts as a magnet for film buffs. Cine Doré has three screens, which show films every day in their original language. They often have film weeks, where they will project the films of a famous director, like Luis Buñuel or Woody Allen or from a certain country, like Sweden or Japan. From July until the middle of September they offer an open-air cinema.
Cine Doré comes under the control of Filmoteca whose mission statement is to investigate and preserve the cinematogrpahic patronage and promote its knowledge. Filmoteca itself comes under the scrutiny of the Ministry of Culture and Education and has a huge historical film archive.

Here is the current programme schedule

1.35 €
10.22 € for 10 sessions

Fimoteca: Magdalena 10 (Metro – Tirso de Molina)
Cine Doré – Santa Isabel 3 (Metro – Antón Martín)