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International popular music acts regularly play Bratislava, using a range of venues: the Incheba conference centre on the south side of the Danube is a favourite for larger concerts. Leonard Cohen, Pussycat Dolls, Alice Cooper and Diana Krall were among those who performed here during 2009.
But classical music has perhaps a stronger tradition in the city. The Bratislava Conservatory of Music celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2009 and has contributed many outstanding musicians to the city's opera and philharmonic orchestra, not to mention numerous operas and orchestras abroad.
The Slovak National Theatre stages opera and ballet at its two main venues in the city. One of those venues – the historical opera house – is also currently being used for performances by the country's main orchestra, the Slovak Philharmonic.
Jazz is also popular and local and international artists play regular gigs at two dedicated jazz clubs. There is also a major jazz festival in November each year, the Bratislava Jazz Days, which attracts top foreign and local talent.
Bratislava has a strong tradition of drama, though most performances are in Slovak so will not be immediately accessible to English-speaking audiences. However, English-language films are normally shown in the original language, and there are several cinemas in or close to the centre.
For more than 90 years, the Slovak National Theatre Opera has been the training ground for renowned opera soloists such as Edita Gruberová and Sergej Kopčák. Its premieres even attract busloads of Viennese opera fans, lured by the reasonable ticket prices and local talent.
For pop concerts a good place to check is the Ticketportal site (partly in English). If you are already in the city, keep your eyes peeled: major upcoming concerts are heavily advertised via billboards and on the sides of buses and trams.
The number of cinemas in Bratislava has decreased in recent years, but the number of screens has grown as multi-screen complexes have opened in out-of-town shopping centres. This means it is fairly easy to catch mainstream Hollywood fare, but seeking out independent films can be more of an adventure.
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