Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia
Activities, History and museums
Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (Valencian: paˈlaw ðe lez ˈaɾdz ˈrejna soˈfi.a; Spanish: Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofía; anglicised as "Reina (Queen) Sofía Palace of the Arts") is an opera house and cultural centre in Valencia, Spain. It opened on 8 October 2005; its first opera staging was of Beethoven's Fidelio on 25 October 2006. Tenor and conductor Plácido Domingo has maintained a special relationship with the Palau since its founding and has established a young singers training program there.
On 21 January 2015, Spanish police arrested the company's general director, Helga Schmidt, for alleged financial irregularities at the house. She was relieved of her duties with the company on the same day. Davide Livermore has since assumed Schmidt role as general director. In March 2015, the company appointed Roberto Abbado and Fabio Biondi as joint music directors.
From its inception until early 2015, administration of the company was under the leadership of Helga Schmidt, formerly of London's Royal Opera House (from 1973 to 1981). Schmidt attracted some major artists to be involved with the Palau. Among them is Zubin Mehta, who leads an annual music and opera festival, the Festival del Mediterráneo, which began in 2007; the late Lorin Maazel, who became music director of the company before his death; and Plácido Domingo, who brought his Operalia competition to the Palau in October 2007, and performs there regularly (Cyrano de Bergerac in 2007, Iphigénie en Tauride in 2008, Die Walküre in 2009, etc.). He has appeared with the company every season since its creation.
The resident orchestra at the Queen Sofía Palace of the Arts is the Valencian Community Orchestra. The theatre's first season was dated, 2006-2007. During the first and second seasons the theatre staged seven or eight operas per season, as well as an operetta, a zarzuela, and vocal recitals. During the 2008-2009 season theatre staged seven operas and one zarzuela, in performances that mainly conducted by Lorin Maazel. Soloists included Plácido Domingo, Christopher Ventris, Vittorio Grigolo, Maria Guleghina, and Cristina Gallardo-Domâs. The 2008-2009 Festival del Mediterrani included the complete Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle conducted by Zubin Mehta, again with Plácido Domingo.
The Queen Sofía company promotes symphonic concerts, opera galas, and vocal recitals. The company also hosts the Centre de Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo, an advanced training program of international draw for young opera artists, named in honor of Plácido Domingo. The program is run under the famous tenor's aegis.
Queen Sofía Palace of the Arts is the final structure built of a grand City of Arts and Sciences concept designed by the Valencia-born and internationally known architect Santiago Calatrava, which began in 1995. The building was constructed by a joint venture of Dragados and Necso and it was opened on 8 October 2005.
The building rises 14 stories above ground and includes three stories below ground. Its height is 75 metres (246 ft), being the tallest opera house in the world. Under the metallic, expansive curved-roof structure, 230 m (755 ft) in length, the 40,000 m2 (431,000 sq ft) building contains four auditoriums: