Shaped like a compressed oval, the interior of the city's opera house is breathtakingly ornate compared with its sombre façade, and one of the most technologically advanced in Europe. Productions are impressive, with complicated revolving sets and attention to detail in costume and props, and enjoy funding from some of Spain's biggest companies, as well as the Comunidad de Madrid. Projection screens at either side of the stage show the full-stage action, though this does not quite compensate for the lack of vision at the far ends of the top galleries (the tribunas and part of the anfiteatro). There is also a screen above the stage showing Spanish surtitles for non-Spanish operas. The acoustics are so good that the quality of the sound is practically the same everywhere in the hall.
The annual Festival de Verano runs alongside the theatre's regular programme in June and July but offers a more orchestra- and dance-orientated programme as well as children's shows (tickets for these events are much cheaper and easier to obtain). Guided tours run every day except Tuesday, and take visitors through the main dressing room and auditoria. Technical tours can be reserved for Sundays, lasting about an hour and a half (91 516 06 96 for all tour enquiries/booking).
Performances usually begin at 8pm, or 6pm on Sundays, with ballet and family opera matinées at noon. Tickets go on sale approximately ten days before the première, and standby tickets are available on the day. With the cheapest tickets, for rows F and G, vision is seriously reduced; check the website for a detailed plan.