Home to the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center, or el Centro de Bellas Artes, located in Santurce is also host to some of the island's most widely acclaimed music and dance festivals. It is perhaps Puerto Rico's most prominent venue for the performing arts. In fact, at the end of this month, the widely acclaimed Broadway musical "In the Heights," will be performing there. With the start of the holiday season, the National Ballet Theater of Puerto Rico has just began its interpretation of "The Nutcracker" at El Centro de Bellas Artes as well.
The Casals Festival, is an annual classical music event held in El Centro de Bellas Artes in honor of the late musician Pablo Casals. It is the best place to get a taste of Puerto Rico's performing arts culture. The center is under the auspices of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, or el Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. Since it's a public corporation, it largely depends on government funding, as well as private donations and patrons. This year, the government slashed its general budget by over 50%, from $3.3 million in 2009 to $1.4 million in 2010, but was able to assign the center an additional $1.4 million from an economic stabilization fund. If you enjoy the performing arts, I urge you to support El Centro de Bellas Artes by attending one of their performances. Those who are 60 years old or over, can purchase tickets with a 50% discount at the box office. Better yet, those 75 years old or over can attend most performances for free and only have to pay a small handling fee. To find out more about upcoming performances, please click here.