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Madrid Offers "Summer in the City" Festival

June 23, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox


For 60 days this summer, Spain’s capital will welcome such performing artists as Sara Baras, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Cesária Évora, Gilberto Gil, Jerry Lee Lewis, Youssou N’Dour, Carlos Saura and James Taylor during the “Summer in the City” Festival. A total of 1,166 performances—65 concerts, 50 plays, 30 dance companies, 200 film screenings and two circuses—will kick off June 25 and run through August 23.

Now in its 24th year, Madrid’s summer festival includes many free events, and will even offer dancing in the streets (July 13-15.) “Music for the Sunset” will feature five free concerts by orchestra ensembles and string quartets July 7 to 10 in the Plaza de Oriente. Once again, the city’s grand 16th century Plaza Mayor, one of the finest main squares in Europe, will be the setting for a free concert of Liszt and Berlioz on August 5 by the West-Eastern Orchestra Divan with Daniel Barenboim conducting. Visitors to the city’s 4th century B.C. Templo de Debod (a gift from Egypt) can hear groups from Greece, Egypt, Morocco and Spain giving nine free concerts from July 19 to August 8.

Two modern dance companies will perform July 13 to 15 as part of “Danzacalles” in the Plaza de Sanchez Bustello. Admission is free. In Retiro Park, Madrid’s Municipal Symphonic Band will offer free performances June 28, July 5, 12 and 19.

A U.S. production of Leonard Bernstein’s "West Side Story,” will inaugurate a new easily-accessible venue, the Puerta del Ángel, from June 25 to July 5. On June 30, Roberto Benigni takes the stage in “Tutto Dante” at the Sabatini Gardens. George Benson kicks off a series of 27 concerts and ballet performances on July 6 at the Puerta del Ángel. Music stars and artistic companies including Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed, Kool & the Gang, Seal, Paquito D’Rivera & Chano Dominguez and the Opera Ballet of Munich will perform there through August 3.

Every one of Madrid’s theatres, concert halls and cultural institutions like Teatro Español, Sala Cuarta Pared and the Matadero Madrid, will present plays by William Shakespeare and Harold Pinter; tangos and zarzuela (Spain’s version of lyric opera); and more. There are also many activities for children as part of the Titirilandia Festival.

Prices and times for “Summer in the City” events vary by venue and performance. Go to

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