Opera for the public: Spain’s Teatro Real opera house offers free broadcast to towns and cities

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. delight / dɪˈlaɪt / (v.) – to give happiness or satisfaction

    The dancers delighted the audience with their performance.

  2. luxurious / lʌgˈʒʊər i əs / (adj.) – very expensive and comfortable

    We watched a movie at a luxurious cinema, complete with unlimited popcorn, and drinks.

  3. file / faɪl / (v.) – to walk in a line

    The people buying concert tickets filed at the entrance of the ticket booth.

  4. plush / plʌʃ / (adj.) – comfortable, expensive, and of high quality

    They stayed at a plush hotel in the city.

  5. elitism /  ɪˈli tɪz əm / (n.) – a belief or system in which special treatment and advantages are only given to wealthy and powerful people

    There was elitism in Europe during the Middle Ages, and farmers were often treated poorly.


Read the text below.

On a night in the middle of July, tenors, sopranos and a choir delighted the crowd in Madrid’s luxurious Teatro Real opera house with Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece, “Turandot.”

After the curtain came down, the audience filed from their plush seats and left the theater’s state-of-the-art air conditioning for the summer swelter outside — only to be met again by the voices of Calaf and Princess Turandot. The performance they had just seen was being replayed on a giant television screen in the big square at the back of the theater.

Here, the spectators sat on hundreds of plastic chairs. Many wore shorts and sandals. Others, tourists included, sat on the low walls and benches in the square or leaned on the barriers and the nearby subway station’s railings. Some chewed on rolls of Spanish jam, others played cards. But most were absorbed with the show on the 9- by 5-meter (30- by 16-foot) screen.

The night was part of Teatro Real’s “opera week,” which for eight years has been providing a free broadcast of an opera in the theater to towns and cities across Spain. The chief aim is to spread interest in opera.

Opera “is popular music, it was always the total art where literature, music and dance met, (when) there was no television, there was no radio,” said Spanish tenor Jorge de León, who played Calaf.

“We have to remove that label of elitism that opera has, because they (operas) talk about stories, about very understandable things,” he said, sitting on one of the plastic chairs among the spectators in the square.

Cultural life in the village has changed greatly. Gone are the crowded ballroom and visits from traveling theater groups. No longer do residents listen to songs from what was the only radio in the village. For the villagers, the Teatro Real’s offering is a delight.

“We’ve never had it so close. It seemed like we saw it right there, although it is a bit long,” Nemesia Olmos, a 94-year-old resident said, as she left a little before the end.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Why do you think it’s important to make opera and other works of art, like kabuki and ballet, accessible to the public? Discuss.
  • What steps can cultural institutions take to make opera more accessible to a wider audience (ex. flexible venues, affordable ticketing)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • How do you think communities can benefit from experiencing cultural events together, such as watching opera broadcasts in a public square? Why? Discuss.
  • What other forms of art or entertainment do you think can bring communities together? Do you think people would be interested in it? Why or why not? Discuss.