Regarded as one of the most important cultural institutions in Spain, the Teatro Real reopened on 11 October 1997 and has become an internationally acclaimed opera house which showcases leading voices and state-of-the-art productions.

The Teatro Real is Spain's leading opera house. It is considered to be the top institution in the country in the music and performing arts field. 


The Teatro Real Foundation is chaired by the King and Queen of Spain. It relies on two public administrations that took part in its creation: the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, and the Comunidad de Madrid (Regional Government of Madrid). The Foundation is governed by a Board of 31 trustees. The Board of Trustees elects the President of Board and the Executive Commission as proposed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. The Foundation is a public entity and there is an important role played by civil society in its governance and sponsorship. 

The objective of the Teatro Real is to create a venue for the most talented singers, conductors ands stage directors from around the world. Its artistic mission is expressed in programming which seeks excellence by combining classical and contemporary lyrical repertory to appeal to audiences of all ages and interests. Introducing young people and children to opera is of particular concern. All this, along with the Principal Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real, the most up to date technological expertise and the large number of in house productions on stages around the world has firmly positioned the Teatro Real in Spain and abroad. 

The Teatro Real abides by a self-governing, permanent and professional management style, in accordance with the most important national cultural institutions.

The Organization chart is as follows:

  • a) The governance of the Teatro Real Foundation is constituted by the Board of Trustees. The President is elected by the Board at the suggestion of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. The President has a term of five years and also presides over the Executive Commission.
  • b) The Management is also a part of the governance. The CEO attends the meetings of the Board of Trustees and Executive Commission, and presides over the Board of Directors. The CEO is responsible for the totality of the organisation of the Teatro Real. The CEO appointment is based on professional qualities and contractual conditions. The Artistic Director is dependent on the CEO, and the Musical Director on the Artistic Director. Both the Artistic and Musical Director have considerable autonomy in decision making.
  • c) The Board of Patrons includes the principal sponsors of the Teatro Real and it is the body of corporate giving. The President is a member of the Executive Commission and attends the meetings of the Board of Trustees. It meets at least twice a year.
  • d) The International Council represents international backing from philanthropists who financially support and project the artistic project of the Teatro Real.
  • e) The Diplomatic Circle includes 13 ambassadors who participate in the activities of the Teatro Real as representatives of the international community: Belgium, Canada, China Columbia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom.
  • f) The Friends of the Real is made up of 25 to 35 "Amigos", philanthropists who provide publicity and financial support to the Teatro Real.  
  • g) The Advisory Council is the counseling body of the Foundation. Its members are prominent citizens in the cultural world and representatives of important cultural institutions.  


On January 7, 1817, King Ferdinand VII issued a Royal decree that the Plaza de Oriente of Madrid be redesigned. He ordered an opera house be built on the same site which only a year before had been the Real Teatro de los Caños del Peral. The project was decided upon on October 1, 1817 and the first stone was laid for the construction of the Teatro Real on April 23, 1818.
After the Glorious Revolution of 1868 and deposition of Queen Isabella II, the theatre was renamed Teatro Nacional de la Ópera. In October 1925, subsiding in the building forced the theatre to be closed and a 41-year period of repairs ensued without the building opening again. The Civil War (a powder keg exploded inside the building) and hardships during the postwar years made reconstruction even more difficult and everything came to a standstill.
In 1966, the building opened to the public both as an auditorium and the offices of the Real Conservatorio de Música y Escuela de Arte Drámatico. The last concert by the Orquesta Nacional, seated here, was on October 13, 1988. From 1966 to 1988 the Teatro Real was the main concert venue in Madrid, but the need for a proper opera house led to the conversion of the building into an opera house, which began on January 2, 1991. This time the renovations lasted nearly 7 years.

On 11 October, 1997 King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, with architects Juan Manuel González and Francisco Rodríguez de Partearroyo, officiated the opening of the theatre as an opera house with Manuel de Falla’s opera La vida breve and ballet El sombrero de tres picos. A week later was the première of Divinas palabras by Antón García Abril.

In 2017, the Teatro Real celebrates the 20th anniversary of its reopening (1997-2017) 
The commemoration of the "200th Anniversary of the Teatro Real" and the 20th anniversary of its reopening to be celebrated during the 2017/2018 season, is of particular interest with regard to Article 27 Law 49/2002 on December 23, 2002.  This refers to the tax regulations of non-profit organizations and tax incentives for patronage.
Special celebratory events will extend over three consecutive seasons of the Teatro Real: 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018. Covering a wide range of activities, the calendar will include an artistic commemorative programme along with various institutional acts and projects. Among the main objectives, there is an interest to:

  • - reinforce the historical role of the Teatro Real
  • - stimulate opera in Spain as a cultural meeting point
  • - attract the widest possible audiences with an emphasis on young people.
  • - intensify the role of the Teatro Real internationally.



  • Carmen Alborch Bataller (December 1995 - July 1996)
  • Esperanza Aguirre y Gil de Biedma (July 1996 - January 1999)
  • Mariano Rajoy Brey (January 1999 - June 2000)
  • Pilar del Castillo Vera (June 2000 - April 2004)
  • Carmen Calvo Poyato (April 2004 - July 2007)
  • César Antonio Molina Sánchez (July 2007 - December 2007)
  • Gregorio Marañón y Bertrán de Lis (December 2007 - present)


  • Elena Salgado Méndez, C.E.O. (January 1996 - July 1996)
  • Juan Cambreleng Roca, Executive Director (February 1997 - January 2001)
  • Inés Argüelles Salaverría, Executive Director (January 2001 - September 2004)
  • Miguel Muñiz de las Cuevas, C.E.O. (September 2004 - March 2012)
  • Ignacio García-Belenguer Laita, C.E.O (April 2012 - present)


  • Stephane Lissner, Artistic Director (March 1996 - February 1997)
  • Luis Antonio García Navarro, Artistic and Musical Director (May 1997 - October 2001)
  • Jesús López Cobos, Musical Director (July 2002 - August   2010)
  • Emilio Sagi, Artistic Director (October 2001 - August  2005)
  • Antonio Moral, Artistic Director (September  2005 - August 2010)
  • Gerard Mortier, Artistic and Musical Director (January 2010 - September 2013)
  • Joan Matabosch, Artistic Director  (September  2013 - present)
  • Ivor Bolton, Director Musical (September 2015 - 2020)

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Live the Teatro Real experience beyond its wonderful productions and you will contribute to elevating our institution project.