The building was opened November 19, 1850 by Queen Isabel II with an opera in four acts by Gaetano Donizetti, The Favourite, which French-language libretto magnified Leonara, mistress of King Alfonso XI de Castile. The neoclassical Teatro Real had a prestigious run until 1925. It hosted the greatest Spanish artists of its time (Ruperto Chapi, Tomás Bretón, Emilio Serrano), alongside Verdi, Strauss, and Saint-Saëns, and also staged works by Meyerbeer, Bellini, Rossini, and Wagner.
After many adventures (during the 1920s, the theatre was closed down because damages caused by the excavation for the Madrid metro), it was rehabilitated as the official state opera house in 1997, regaining its former magnificence. The best thing, of course, is to buy a ticket and attend a performance, but you can also just have a tour. The views of the Royal Palace, Almudena Cathedral, and the gardens of the Plaza de Oriente are spectacular. Unless you would rather try its starred-ceiling restaurant, decorated by Pascua Ortega, or the Palacio cafe.
Plaza Isabel II
+34 902 244 848