Flamenco, recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, is an artistic expression born of a mixture of different cultures. Madrid's relationship with flamenco is built through its tablaos, which offer the best flamenco programme in our country in terms of quality, authenticity and variety. The tablaos represent a cultural expression of the first magnitude, which maintains its essence intact, unique in the world.
The flamenco offer of Madrid's tablaos is an essential and unique resource, the best national and international launching pad for the most important artists of this cultural genre. Our region hosts flamenco shows continuously, either in its theatres or tablaos, or in halls and venues.
The best flamenco tablaos in Madrid
The legacy of those magical 20th century years remains alive in Madrid, in different tablaos that have been operating in the capital for decades. The tablaos that make up the brand “Tablaos Flamencos in Greater Madrid” " host the main scene in our region. Surely the most popular of all of them is Corral de la Morería, whose origins date back to 1956. It has been recognized as the best flamenco tablao in the world, for its constant and varied programming that, in addition, is completed with a gastronomic offer that does not forget the origins of the place and its culture. Figures of great importance in the genre such as Paco de Lucía, who presented his unforgettable Entre dos aguas (1981) there, have performed on its stages.
TIt is also worth highlighting Madrid's oldest tablao: Villa Rosa, a tablao that began operating in Plaza de Santa Ana in 1911, although it initially did so as a tapas bar and Andalusian wine bar. It was at the end of that decade when it took the definitive turn that would lead it to become "The Cathedral of Flamenco," as it is known today. In the early 1960s, it interrupted its activity for a year, but by the 1970s it had already regained its rhythm and previous splendor. And up to the present day.
We could continue highlighting other venues. For example, Cardamomo, which the Madrid City Council declared a Cultural Heritage of the city. It opened in 1994 as a proposal that combines dance and singing. On the other hand, in the heart of Vallecas, far from the city center, there is El Cortijo, another tablao that has gained national and even international fame. So yes: it is more than possible to enjoy flamenco in Madrid.
Flamenco in Madrid's history
HTowards the middle of the 19th century, around 1860, pop-up cafés cantantes began to proliferate, direct predecessors of today's tablaos. Chronicles of the time speak of scandalous places, so that certain social classes were opposed to them, finding them indecent. Be that as it may, all kinds of audiences frequented these corners, with a special presence of the lower and middle classes. Together, they took flamenco very far, to the point that by the end of the 19th century flamenco was the owner of Spain's social life.
As mentioned, Madrid was one of the great flamenco centers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of the great stars of the time decided to move to Madrid to grow in the "court city". Thus, the shows began to multiply. In the 1920s, the Pavón Theater, still located in Embajadores Street, created the so-called Copa Pavón. Its objective was to recognize the talent of the singers, increase their prestige and bring the genre even closer to the public.
In the first competition, names like Sevillians Niño Escacena, Pepe Marchena, or Manuel Vallejo could be read. With this competition, the stage of opera flamenca was born, which never had great acceptance because it left out very appreciated palos (different styles in flamenco), such as bulería. But there were also sweet years in which figures such as La Niña de los Peines or, later, Juanito Valderrama could be enjoyed.
More information: Tablaos Flamencos in Greater Madrid