For four centuries Plaza Mayor has been Madrid’s courtyard, a square that is both uniform and diverse, a rendezvous for locals and visitors to the city, a place like no other.
2017 marks 400 years since the first stone was laid and the events organised to commemorate this special anniversary will serve as a reminder of the square’s undeniable role as one of the city’s main cultural hubs. The jubilee’s programme will comprise cultural, artistic, commercial and social initiatives which will breathe new life into this popular square that is at once beautiful and harmonious, courtly and popular, plain and lively. Madrileños and visitors alike are invited to celebrate together 400 years of history.
A Comprehensive Programme
Commemorations kicked off on 17 February with an immersive 360º projection mapping to illustrate the history of the square.
The impressive event was just the start of what promises to be an action-packed official programme, though. In 2017 the city’s biggest events (San Isidro, Veranos de la Villa, Jazz Festival and Christmas) will make a stop at the square because this year Plaza Mayor is undoubtedly the place to be seen. For now, jot down these dates in your diary because you won’t want to miss out:
- The four seasons (23-26 March, July, September and December): Coinciding with each of the four seasons, four prestigious innovative artists will be invited to intervene in the space of the Plaza Mayor and turn it into a kind of artistic playground for all ages, providing exceptional live artistic experiences for citizens.
- Easter: Flamenco Saetas: Three Generations (14 April): Five flamenco singers from three different generations will reveal the evolution and wealth of this art and will offer their songs to the four brotherhoods that will pass through the Square in procession on Easter Friday, culminating their offering with an outstanding newly created choral.
- Madrid Capital of Peace. Screening 2017. Imagining other possibilities (20-21 April): Activity within the Madrid Capital of Peace Forum, a worldwide meeting on urban violence and education for coexistence and peace. In order to bring photography onto the street and become an annual outdoor screening event in the heart of Madrid, this first edition kicks off in the Plaza Mayor: under the theme of imagining other possibilities, with a large screen offering an international selection of contemporary videographic pieces.
- The Words Market (Spring): As of 23rd April, the Plaza Mayor will hold this outdoor market on one Sunday a month with seven stands that invite passers-by to participate. They will find a different and innovative proposal to get closer to words: listening, guessing, completing, imagining, buying and selling without money, exchanging, tasting…
- Zarzuela in the Street. The Zarzuela Theatre sings in the Plaza Mayor (15 May) The Zarzuela Theatre, which has so much in common with the essence of our Square, joins in the celebration of its 4th Centenary by coming out onto the street: to mark the San Isidro festivities, we will be able to enjoy a show with singers, dancers, choir and orchestra, written and presented by Enrique Viana and with musical direction by Óliver Díaz.
- Andante. Performing arts meeting in the street (2, 3 and 4 June): a programme of new circus, object theatre, humour, music, dance shows… Multi-disciplinary artists who make the street their stage and get the spectator to see a different view on a journey that will take them through different shows that are both surprising and unexpected.
- Get your Portrait Madrid! A PHotoEspaña activity in the Plaza Mayor (16, 17 and 18 June): a photographic set, two Spanish photographers and numerous improvised models: this is the proposal of this playful and dynamic activity in which the people of Madrid and visitors will be able to portrayed by leading photographers who will capture their friendliest, most pleasant and funniest side....
- Music for the 4th Centenary. Concert by the Bankia Symphonic Orchestra (24 June): orchestra, made up of young professional musicians, commemorates the 400 years of the Plaza Mayor, offering a concert which combines classical and popular music.
- Screening of the zarzuela, Luisa Fernanda (1 July): A giant screen will enable us to enter the Royal Theatre without leaving the Plaza Mayor: this is a unique opportunity to see one of its most renowned international performances, in coproduction with the Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera. One of the world’s greatest performers can be hears and seen in high definition and in the open air: Plácido Domingo and Nancy Herrera who, along with José Bros and Mariola Cantarero, will star in Emilio Sagi’s brilliant production of the great zarzuela by Moreno Torroba, directed by Jesús López Cobos.
- A Film Concert (July. Date to be confirmed): screening of over fifty clips, from the 1950s to the present day, in which the Plaza Mayor plays an important role, with a live tribute concert to our films by the Municipal Symphonic Band.
- Literature in the Square. Poetic Jousting (September): to mark the opening of the Plaza Mayor and coinciding with the beatification of San Isidro Labrador, Lope de Vega was responsible for organising some poetic jousting, literary events that brought writers together in order to stimulate the creativity of novel poets. Four centuries later, the art of the word is back in a proposal that will bring together literary groups and writers.
- Baroque Party. Mythological Madrid (of the Habsburgs) (7 October): Like the great street theatre it was, venue for the parties of the city and the kingdom, the Plaza Mayor regains its essence with a great event: a majestic Baroque Party that reflects the history of Madrid, and the mythological comedies that were performed in the era of the Habsburgs.