Geneva : Classical music, theatre and film
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The Grand Théâtre on Place Neuve (©_M.Quintana)
Classical music, theatre and film
There’s plenty of classical music in Geneva. The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, which shuttles between Geneva and Lausanne, is one of Europe’s best, and often performs – in amongst big-name visiting orchestras and soloists – at the glittering Victoria Hall, 14 Rue Général-Dufour (022/328 81 21). The Grand Théâtre on Place Neuve (022/311 23 11) has a continuous programme of classical concerts and chamber music, and both it and the Grand Casino, 19 Quai du Mont-Blanc (022/732 06 00), stage plenty of opera. There are free classical concerts in many of Geneva’s churches year-round, and open-air concerts at the Hôtel-de-Ville in July and August. The Conservatoire de Musique, also on Place Neuve (022/311 76 33), hosts a prestigious annual international competition for young soloists in late September.

You may come across high-quality amateur theatre companies performing in English: TIE (Theatre in English; 022/341 51 90) has details of productions by GEDS (Geneva English Drama Society), LTG (Little Theater of Geneva) and GAOS (Geneva Amateur Operatic Society). However, most theatre is in French. The Comédie de Genève, 6 Boulevard des Philosophes (022/320 50 01), is the main stage for classic drama, and the huge Bâtiments des Forces Motrices (BFM), formerly housing hydroelectric machinery on the Rhône, has been converted into a gigantic, lofty space for contemporary theatre and occasional opera (Quai des Forces Motrices; 022/322 12 20). There are also dozens of smaller, more experimental theatres, including Théâtre La Poche, 7 Rue du Cheval Blanc (022/310 37 59), and Théâtre du Grütli, 16 Rue Général-Dufour (022/328 98 78). Kids will love Les Marionettes de Genève, 3 Rue Rodo (022/329 67 67). The Théâtre de l’Usine on Place des Volontaires often features avant-garde dance and music-drama.

As for film, you’ll find dozens of city-centre cinemas showing Hollywood releases (often ahead of London), but you should check in the listings for “v.o.” (version originale), which indicates original dialogue with French subtitles – many prime-time showings are dubbed. The tiny handful of non-commercial movies you might be able to discover rarely feature English subtitles. Every summer there are big open-air screenings of all kinds of movies on the waterfront at Port Noir. The Geneva Film Festival, every October, is devoted to airing the work of unknowns from around Europe.

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