Madrid has groomed many cultural icons like surrealist genius Salvador Dalí, who studied in the city, renowned filmmaker Luis Bunuel, celeb poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca. American writer Ernest Hemingway who actually came to Madrid as a war correspondent during the civil war fell in love with its beautiful culture. San Isidro festival and light opera (zarzuela) spices up people’s life by showcasing Madrid's very own dancing style, known as 'Chotis'. City’s calendar is packed with cinemas and theatres with all traits.
Madrid is home to plenty of opera houses. The Teatro Real, Plaza de Oriente is one of the most modern opera houses in Europe. The most popular genre of these operas is the theme revolving around the idealized authenticity of working class of Madrid. The major menu for such operas is Teatro de la Zarzuela, Calle de Jovellanos 4. June to September is the season known for the Zarzuela. In summer lots of artists go live with Classical concerts, live performances. Auditorio Nacional de Música houses the performances like classical concert by famous 'Coro y Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid'. Bandstand in Retiro Park is a happening place with such concerts held on Sunday lunchtime.
The legendary & historic Teatro Español, Calle Príncipe 25 whose theatre history dates back to 1583 holds Spanish classics as well as Twentieth-century contemporaries. The newly established Teatro La Abadía, Calle Fernández de los Ríos 42 has gained popularity with its superb performances of international classics. The alternative drama, English productions by the ACT (American and Classical Theatre) and skates by amateur Madrid Players are also gaining popularity day by day.
Most theatres are closed on Monday. The Teatro Real, Plaza de Oriente and Teatro de la Zarzuela, Calle de Jovellanos are not only famous for music and opera, but these theatres house Spanish and international dances. Classical ballets at Teatro de Madrid runs are always houseful. Festival de Otoño (Autumn Festival) is celebrated with 'full of life' dance events.
Compañia Nacional de Danza, choreographer Nacho Duato's proprietary which tours widely in Spain, is among the most popular concerts.
The beginning of the Lent festival is marked on Ash Wednesday with the traditional burial of Sardine. Grand carnival with parades and costume parties are major highlights of the same.
During the Fiestas del 2 de Mayo, a communal festival of Madrid is celebrated with wide variety of concerts, open air dancing and various sporting events along with Bull fights.
Starting around the month of May, Fiestas de San Isidro is a month long and the most lively and popular festival honoring the patron saint of Madrid. The age old tradition of drinking the miraculous water at the fountain of the hermitage continues to be the same. It postulates that for drinking the said water one has to attend the pilgrimage till the saint’s meadow.