Spain, a land of jeweled Moorish palaces, sun-drenched beaches, terraced vineyards, sleepy fishing villages, primeval corridas (bullfights) and sensuous flamenco has become the sophisticated playground of Europe, and a premier destination of art, music and literature lovers. The vitality and excitement of today's Spain have made it popular worldwide.
As the inheritors of a great and ancient civilization dating from before the Roman Empire, Spaniards live in a land as culturally rich as it is geographically varied, with wooded sierras, and plateaus, and sandy beaches. It is this exciting variety in landscape as well as in art, architecture, music, and cuisine that makes Spain one of the top countries in the world to visit.
Spanish cultural life has been reinvigorated, particularly in the years since the death of General Franco. The performing arts, once restricted by lack of facilities, have received major investments including new venues, regional arts centers and new symphony orchestras. The country has produced many remarkable opera singers, including Montserrat Caballé, Alfredo Kraus, Plácido Domingo and José Carreras. Spain now boasts some of the world's greatest opera houses and concert halls.
Spain's music is the embodiment of rich cultural influences from church (Gregorian plainchant reached its pinnacle in Spain), Moorish culture, and Spain's diverse groups such as Catalans, Basques, Galleggos in the northeast to the quintessentially Spanish in Castile or Andalusia. Composers like Manuel de Falla, Isaac Albeniz, Fernando Sor, Tomás Luis de Victoria, Garbriel Balart, Oscar Espla and others have left their definite mark on the world canon of music literature.
Venues in Spain range from the great cathedrals to smaller parish churches, outdoor stages (in some of the major plazas in cities), Roman ruins, amphitheaters, concert halls, conservatory auditoriums and cultural centers. Destinations include Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, Seville, Granada, Avila, Segovia, Bilboa, Valencia and many others.
Selected American groups are invited to share their talents with appreciative audiences in glorious venues and spectacular settings throughout Spain.