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Which summer festival will you choose?

Theatre, music, dance... there's something for everyone. All across Europe, summer is a time for cultural programmes with live performances of all types; here we take a look at just four of this year's festivals.

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Veranos de la Villa – Madrid's Summer in the city One of the year's top diary dates in the Spanish capital. Dance, theatre, zarzuela (Spanish operetta) and concerts are all performed on stages located in the most attractive settings the city has to offer: from the Sabatini gardens to the Cuartel de Conde Duque – the  former barracks, or the Matadero – the beautifully refurbished old city slaughterhouse; in museums and galleries, streets and squares, and, of course, in the more traditional municipal and independent theatres and concert halls, right through the summer until August 28th. What's more, a large number of these live performances are completely free. This year, the stage at Puerta del Angel will welcome Kool & The Gang, M Clan and the Beach Boys among other big name acts ; there will be dance, music, opera and flamenco at the Sabatini gardens and Daniel Baremboim will conduct an impressive performance of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in the Plaza Mayor, Madrid's iconic main square. 

Arena di Verona – Verona Opera Festival Launched in 1913 to celebrate the centenary of the  birth of Giuseppe Verdi, the annual lyrical festival held in Verona's magnificent first-century Roman amphitheatre is a highspot in the calendar for opera lovers. The outstanding acoustics of the beautiful setting are worthy of the internationally renowned performers, and the experience offered is unparalleled. This year, the 89th Arena di Verona Opera Festival runs until September 3rd and five operas will be staged: La Traviata, Aida, The Barber of Seville, Nabucco, La Boheme and Romeo and Juliet.

The Edinburgh FestivalFrom August 12th to September 4th, the Scottish capital invites visitors to experience the very best in international opera, music, theatre, dance and the visual arts. The best artists, directors and choreographers will travel from around the world to transform Edinburgh into one of the most exciting cultural destinations. Performances range from the National Ballet of China who fuse classical western ballet with traditional Chinese dance, to an extraordinary interpretation of Hamlet by the Shanghai Pekin Opera Troupe sung in Mandarin with English subtitles. The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra debuts at the festival, which is programmed to close with the world's biggest and most spectacular fireworks concert, with over 100,000 fireworks to be launched from the city's magnificent castle.

Festival d'Avignon – Avignon Theatre festivalJuly brings the annual festival to Avignon and transforms the city in southern France into a giant theatre and one of the most important contemporary stages for live performance. Until July 26th, over 40 theatre, dance, visual arts and musical performances will take place in a score of locations ranging from churches to streets and squares, and even the legendary courtyard of the Papal Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This, the 65th Avignon Festival is focused on the family and invites us to rethink Europe from the perspective of young people. And, as if live performance were not enough, buying a ticket to one of the many festival events will also entitle you to discounts of up to 50% in city museums and historical monuments.

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