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Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona

One of the most famous opera houses in Spain, the Liceo, is located in the historic center of Barcelona on La Rambla. It is considered one of the best in Europe, the voices of the world’s stars have been heard on its stage, and for some it was the first step to world fame. The Gran Teatro Liceo hosted Fyodor Chaliapin as Godunov and Diaghilev’s famous Russian Seasons. The fate of the building has not been easy, but it remains one of the most luxurious in its interiors and equipped in theatrical mechanics.

History of the Liceo Theater

Liceo Theater

The city of Barcelona had almost nothing to do with the construction of the building. The construction was carried out with private funds of patrons. Designed by architect Miguel Garriga y Roca, the building was built in the shape of a horseshoe, covering 360 m², with a capacity of 2,292 people. The façade is in the pseudo-Renaissance style, with characteristic columns, arched windows and doors.

In other European cities, monarchs have been the main patrons of the construction and maintenance of opera houses, but this was not the case in Barcelona. The construction was sponsored by private shareholders, so there is no royal box in the theater.

The Liceo Theater was erected on the site of an old monastery, but instead of patronage from a higher power, a series of troubles struck the building. True, as a result, it was reborn and only got better.

The first season was held in 1847, and literally 14 years later the building burned down almost to the ground. It took a year to restore it. The façade, staircases, and central foyer, which is called the Hall of Mirrors, remain from the original design. The next event was ranked as a national tragedy. During the performance in 1893, two bombs set by Salvador Santiago exploded. 20 people died on the spot. In memory of them, 20 seats in the restored hall remained empty for a long time.

The Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona rose again from the ruins, again with the help of voluntary donations from citizens. The heyday for him came in 1920. The people of Barcelona received a standing ovation for Fyodor Ivanovich Chaliapin’s opera Godunov and Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons. But hard times came again and for almost 10 years the theater has not been financed and is rapidly changing owners. The situation stabilized in 1940 and the next 40 years are considered the calmest and most successful.

Teatro Liceo inside

On the stage of the Teatro Liceo the best voices are heard, the career of Jose Carreras and Montserrat Caballé begins, premieres are given. But again the shock – from the flaming curtain the fire rapidly spread to all the rooms. The destruction was so extensive that there was a question of the feasibility of reconstruction work, but the public once again defended the famous theater.

Almost all of Spain was involved in the restoration process. Many famous singers such as Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Montserrat Caballé, Alfredo Kraus and others have given benefit concerts. Proceeds from them were transferred to a special fund designated for restoration.

The architects preserved the remaining parts of the old building while making additions and upgrades to the interior structure using new theater technology. Once again, tragedy was a blessing in disguise for the theater.

Gran Teatro Liceo these days

In the process of reconstruction after the fire, the style of the interiors was preserved, all still luxurious: the main auditorium with a handmade curtain, walls decorated with gilt and stucco, chairs upholstered in velvet. The acoustics are excellent, allowing the singer’s voice to reach anywhere in the hall. But there are some tangible changes. So now the audience does not need to carry with them the score or libretto, this information is easily displayed on the electronic monitor, which is equipped with each seat.

The interior layout of the rooms has also changed. The Gran Teatre del Liceu has a rehearsal room and a children’s stage where plays for young audiences, mostly with fairy tale themes, are performed.

At the theater there is a long and successful music school, where young talents study, some of whom may very well stay in the theater. The repertoire is very broad, covering a huge number of styles from classical to modern and symbolic.

They’re not coming off the posters:

  • “Aida;
  • “Faust;
  • “Rigoletto;
  • “Carmen;
  • “La Traviata.”

Regularly, premieres are offered to viewers.

Many visitors to the capital of Catalonia come to the theater Liceo not only during the performances, they tend to come here on excursions. They take place every day from Monday to Friday, with a walk through the theater lasting 25 minutes.

Location of the theater on the map of Barcelona

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