Arts and culture calendar 2021-2022
Museums, galleries, and concert halls are hoping to put the pandemic behind them with a rich offering of shows and exhibitions this year
As the summer season draws to a close, the curtain rises on a new season in the arts and culture world.
Theatres, museums, and concert halls have been eagerly anticipating the return to relative normality amid the ongoing pandemic, a time when something resembling the full experience could be shared by performers and fans alike.
Months ago already, authorities in Catalonia set the Covid-19 restrictions at 70% capacities for cultural events, although venues and festival organizers have been attentive to any further potential changes.
Now, with vaccination figures having already surpassed the 70% milestone and, from early September, the outbreak risk dipping below the ‘high’ threshold for the first time in months, arts and culture fans can see the light at the end of the tunnel and have some sense of confidence, although tentative, for the future of the sector.
Here, we take a look into the programmes released already by some of the most important arts and culture institutions in Catalonia for the upcoming 2021-2022 season.
National Theatre of Catalonia
Catalonia’s National Theatre welcomes the return of international productions this year. Under new artistic directorship with Carme Portaceli, the theatre will have a strong focus on Catalan dramatist Victor Català, the pseudonym of Caterina Albert i Paradís. The programme features an unprecedented 38 shows and will include many contemporary Catalan writers such as Benet i Jornet, Helena Tornero, Victòria Spunzberg, and Marta Carrasco, among others.
The iconic Liceu concert house on Barcelona’s La Rambla boulevard is offering season tickets for three operas with a discount of 50%. This year, fans will be delighted to productions such as Mozart’s Magic Flute, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, and Strauss’s Ariadne Auf Naxos.
Barcelona’s Teatre Lliure works from two bases - one in Montjuïc and one in Gràcia. This year, this prestigious theatre offers productions from Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Carol López, Eleonora Herder & Alícia Gorina, and more.
Performing arts festival Temporada Alta takes place in Girona and Salt between October and December, and over the years has built a reputation for itself as a reference point in European theatre while opening a window into Catalan culture for the world. This year, celebrating its 30th anniversary, the festival is excited to return to normality as much as possible, and has a programme lined up consisting of 106 shows, 15 of which are from international production companies. Some of the biggest names present at this year’s edition are Guy Cassiers, Alain Platel, Christiane Jatahy, and Romeo Castellucci.
Palau de la Música Catalana
The Palau de la Música Catalana, located just off Via Laietana in the Born district of Barcelona, has one of the most mesmerizing facades in all of Catalan architecture and one of the finest music institutions in the country within its walls. The new year’s programme includes two nights of concerts for piano and orchestra by Beethoven, Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin, Carmen by Georges Bizet, and more from Vivaldi, Handel, Puccini, and Verdi. The programme also includes tributes to modern pop icons such as Abba, Michael Jackson, and The Beatles.
Palau Sant Jordi
The Palau Sant Jordi, located in Montjuïc near the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, is one of the best venues to see international megastars perform. With the pandemic situation not yet fully resolved, there are only a few dates set for Palau Sant Jordi’s calendar, but nevertheless, some of the biggest names in modern pop are on the roster, including Dua Lipa next June 1, Alicia Keys on June 30, and Iron Maiden on July 29.
Similar to Palau Sant Jordi, Apolo often welcomes artists from all over the world. So far for this year, the highlights of the programme feature 070 Shake performing in December, Rejjie Snow for two nights next March, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! in April.
Museums and exhibitions
One of the country’s finest arts centres returns this year with a very strong programme. In Barcelona, an exhibition on René Magritte opens in February, an interactive experience on videogames kicks off in December, and May will see the world of tattooing explored.
In Girona, arts fans will get to see ‘Objects of Desire’, a show on surrealism and design until January, and March sees ‘Art and Myth. Gods of the Prado’ open, looking at classical mythology, which is on display in Lleida until January 2022. After it leaves the western Catalan city, it will be replaced by another on the origins of advertising. Tarragona will enjoy an exhibition on the Apollo 11 moon landing and another on Pixar animation.
Lately, Catalonia’s National Art Museum has been putting a lot of focus on the Civil War. A new permanent room opened up this summer exploring how artists saw the violent conflict, and a temporary exhibition which lasts until February goes hand-in-hand with it, examining how Catalan art was safeguarded during the war period. An exhibition on Antoni Gaudí will open in November, while next summer will see a show on the fresco chapel paintings of 17th century artist Annibale Carracci. Lasting until October, ‘The colours of fire. Hamada - Artigas’ takes a look at the relationship, work, and mutual admiration between Josep Llorens Artigas (1892-1980) and Hamada Shoji (1894-1978).
In Barcelona’s Contemporary Cultural Centre, Science Friction is still open until late November, questioning human supremacy over the living world. Opening in December, ‘The mask never lies’ takes a look at the role of something that has become so essential to our everyday lives of late - masks. However, the exhibit will look at the role of masks from a world before the pandemic, taking a look at how its been used in different contexts, from political activists to hate groups.
Barcelona’s Contemporary Art Museum are displaying Rafael Tous’ collection of contemporary and conceptual artworks until June 2022. Opening in October and lasting until February is Notes for an Eye Fire, the first of a new series titled ‘Panorama’ that will examine contemporary art practices in and around Barcelona. Cosmic Sounds opens in October too, and will look at experimental self-publishing and the management of resources in the climate emergency. Next year, April will see an exhibition looking at Teresa Lanceta’s artistic expressions in the form of textiles, while in July, Cinthia Marcelle opens her first show in Catalonia or Spain.
Joan Miró Foundation
Beyond the permanent collection, in October a new exhibition in the Joan Miró Foundation, located in Montjuïc in Barcelona, will ask what the point of sculpture is, opening an intense dialogue between the past and the present of the artform, offering an overview of the practice of modern and contemporary sculpture.
An exhibition looking at jewellery and the artist’s relationship with it has been extended until January. From November to February you can visit an exhibition on the artist’s sister, Lola Ruiz Picasso, and her efforts to preserve the works of her brother. The Picasso Museum is situated right in the heart of Barcelona's old town, in the neighbourhood of Born.
One of Catalonia’s finest photography galleries, FotoColectania is displaying Txema Salvans’ work A Perfect Day until November, which questions the overexploitation of the Mediterranean coast. FotoColectania can be found on Passeig de Picasso, just outside Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona, towards the neighbourhood of Born.
As well as permanent exhibitions on modernism and fashion, Barcelona’s Design Museum also has temporary shows on jewellery design from 1965-1990 (finishing November 28) and another looking at the architectural processes of Josep Miàs (November 12 to January 9).
Girona Art Museum
In Girona, the centenary of the birth of artist Maties Palau Ferré is being commemorated with a special exhibition lasting until January, where you can marvel at the minimalist genius of his single-stroke creations.
Mediterranean Fair, Manresa
The 24th Fira Mediterrània de Manresa, always a reference point for local creativity and art, will be held from October 14-17 this year. The performing arts festival focuses primarily on popular culture and music and serves as a meeting point for artists and professionals in the field to discover up-and-coming talent and purchase productions.