A lively performing arts stage
Bizkaia has a dynamic theatrical and operatic scene based on high-quality productions by renowned local and international companies
In our region, you will be amazed by a wide array of cultural events. In the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall, in Bilbao, you can watch classical operas like La Traviata or Norma, while at Sala BBK and Zawp/Haceria they put on contemporary music shows.
Anyway, the stages do not need to be confined in conventional theatres. Instead, they can be set up in the streets, turning the city into a huge performing art venue.
Kalealdia Festival, for instance, is held in the summer, while BAD Contemporary Dance and Theatre Festival takes place in winter.
There are interesting cultural events across Bizkaia. In Lekeitio and Santurtzi, they hold international theatre festivals. In Leioa, there is the Umore Azoka (Comedy Festival), and the fantastic International Clown Festival brings non-stop joy to Arrigorriaga.
Dig into our culture
An interesting range of options for culture vultures
For classical theatre and opera connoisseurs and for people who are interested in the latest music trends, there are venues in the capital of Bizkaia that host a range of theatre and musical performances. Let the show begin!
The Arriaga Theatre, named after the composer Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga, is a majestic building in the Arenal. Its tragic history includes two fires, the flood of 1983, and the argument the members of Sociedad Nuevo Teatro de Bilbao got involved in. Anyway, in 1990, the Arriaga Theatre turned 100. It hosts classical and contemporary theatre plays, concerts, conferences and different types of shows.
The building of the Campos Elíseos Theatre, aka ‘La Bombonera’ (The Chocolate Box), has been named an Asset of Cultural Interest. Renovated in 2010, the building recovered its Modernist style and added updated technologies. The Campos Elíseos puts on plays by Basque and international artists.
La Fundición (nearby Botica Vieja) is devoted to contemporary creations. Pabellón 6, managed by a team of Basque performers in Zorrotzaurre, reaffirms the value of teamwork in the performing arts. Its 200 members/supporters have purchased each an ‘imaginary seat’. Plus, Bilbao is home to the Basque Classical Theatre Institute Skené, organiser of the Euskadi Ancient Greek and Roman Theatre Festival.
High C in vocal music
In Bizkaia, we feel passion for opera, especially those of us who are members of the Asociación Bilbaína de Amigos de la Ópera. It is an association of friends of opera that stages different styles of opera for all ages and interests.
The Campos Elíseos has always bet on Basque opera. The efforts made by the Arriaga are also worth mentioning, in particular projects like Opera Txiki, aimed at promoting opera among the little ones.
Asociación Bilbaína de Amigos de la Ópera (ABAO/OLBE) offers great operas at reasonable prices through the Opera Berria initiative. It has a loyal audience of 90,000 who value the excellence of the around 50 performances a year.
ABAO’s favourite composer is Giuseppe Verdi. There is even a ‘Tutto Verdi’ opera cycle in Bilbao. Furthermore, a Verdi Week is held in cooperation with the University of Deusto.
The renowned ABAO association encourages an interest in opera among young people. With Abao Txiki, for instance, it offers five operas for the whole family seeking to promote culture and instil moral values in children. Last but not least, ABAO carries out fun cultural activities in around 180 schools a year.