Teatro de la Zarzuela

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Teatro de la Zarzuela
Native name
Spanish: Teatro de la Zarzuela
Teatro de la Zarzuela Madrid auditorio 1.jpg
Auditorium of the Teatro de la Zarzuela
Location Madrid, Spain
Coordinates 40°25′02″N 3°41′48″W / 40.417185°N 3.696782°W / 40.417185; -3.696782Coordinates: 40°25′02″N 3°41′48″W / 40.417185°N 3.696782°W / 40.417185; -3.696782
Architect Jerónimo de la Gándara
José María Sánchez Guallart
Official name: Teatro de la Zarzuela
Type Non-movable
Criteria Monument
Designated 1994[1]
Reference no. RI-51-0008693
Teatro de la Zarzuela is located in Spain
Teatro de la Zarzuela
Location of Teatro de la Zarzuela in Spain

The Teatro de la Zarzuela is a theatre in Madrid, Spain. The theatre is today mainly devoted to zarzuela (the Spanish traditional musical theatre genre), as well as operetta and recitals.[2][3]


The theatre was designed by architect Jerónimo de la Gándara and executed by José María Sánchez Guallart, thanks to the initiative of the Spanish Lyrical Company, in order to have room for performances of operettas in the capital of Spain. Modeled on the La Scala theatre in Milan, shaped like a horseshoe with three levels of boxes, it was opened to the public on 10 October 1856, on the birthday of Queen Isabella II, providing a venue for "Zarzuela Theatre", which combines spoken scenes with scenes that include song and dance. Its promoters were established masters of the time such as Francisco Asenjo Barbieri, Rafael Calleja Gómez, Joaquín Gaztambide, Rafael Hernando, José Inzenga, baritono Francisco de Salas, librettist Luis de Olona and composer Cristóbal Oudrid, under Francisco de las Rivas, an important banker.

During the second half of the nineteenth century, the theatre became the central place where they interpreted masterpieces of the genre and staged them to the public eye. The city's long absence of an opera theatre, during the closure of the Teatro Real up until 1997, the Teatro de la Zarzuela was Madrid's theatre where most major opera performances were shown.[4] The resident orchestra of the theatre is the Community of Madrid Orchestra. On 9 November 1909, the building was virtually destroyed by fire, and rebuilt by Cesareo Iradier with less wood and metal. In 1914, maestro Luna raised the curtain to reopen the theatre together with his orchestra.

Originally the ceiling of the hall was decorated with magnificent sets of works by the painters Francisco Hernández Tomé and Manuel Castellanos, but these were eventually destroyed during renovations and structural changes in 1956,[5] when it was bought then by the Sociedad General de Autores de España, although it lost much of the facade and interior ornaments. Later it became the property of the state. In 1984, the Ministry of Culture, with the absence of an opera house in Madrid, expanded the range of activities, besides the zarzuela and opera, to dance and flamenco as well. In 1998, after the declaration that the building was National Memorial, it was remodeled once more, regaining much of its original structure and form, being exclusively used for Spanish poetry.

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