Cava, Comida, y Canción.
Sparkling wine, food, and song. There’s just something about getting fancied up and going to the opera that makes for a special evening out. A night at the opera is a great way to indulge in the cultural scene of Valencia. The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía opera house is the star of the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences. Opened in 2005, it is a state of the art facility that is gorgeous inside and out. Our favorite part of the opera in Valencia—they make the most of intermission with a Rincon Gastronomico (Gastronomic Corner).
It’s like a blitz of a cocktail party held in the main lobby in front of immense windows with views out over the City of Arts and Sciences. At €12.50 euros for unlimited drinks and food, it’s the most fun you can have at the opera in 20 minutes. Tickets for the Rincon Gastronomico are for sale at a small table just inside the entrance to the lobby – look for the sign. We buy ours before the performance just in case they sell out, since there is a limited capacity.
We recently attended opening night of of the opera “Peter Grimes” (many thanks to a friend that plays with the Valencia Orchestra). It was nice to finally see an opera in the English language, though I still need to use the translation screen in the seat back in front of me to follow the story. I just love being there in the impressive Sala Principal, which is the main concert hall where operas are held.
Needless to say, we don’t linger at our seats when the lights come up for intermission. We head straight for the lobby to dive into the Rincon Gastronomico.
The Rincon is roped off from the rest of the crowd and tickets are checked at the entrance. Once inside, you can pour yourself a glass of cava from the self-serve station or ask for a glass of wine from the bar.
Then, graze among a spread of bite-sized hors d’oeuvres, including meats, cheeses, sushi, tortilla, etc… Don’t wait too long to make it to the desserts. The single table of cupcakes and tiny chocolate cakes doesn’t stand a chance.
It’s all very elegant, despite the marathon noshing in a race against time. By the end of intermission, the tables are emptied out with just a few remnants sitting among the crumbs.
I’m not sure that it’s a bargain, given that beverages and food are so affordable at the regular intermission bars. Chugging down three or four glasses of cava to get your moneys worth before returning to your seat for another hour of opera just seems like a bad idea.
Still, we are happy to pay the €12.50. The atmosphere is grand, the food is good and it makes the event that much more extravagant.
If you’ve never been inside of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía Opera house, you can take a guided tour for €10.60 euros which takes you through each of the four performance venues for an inside look at the spectacular architecture.