Barcelona's Liceu opera house celebrates 175 years with gala concert
Occasion marked with balcony fanfare on La Rambla before works by Verdi, Donizetti and Puccini
Barcelona's illustrious opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, celebrated its 175th anniversary on Sunday with a gala concert featuring international artists performing works by Verdi, Donizetti and Puccini.
The grand sense of occasion was apparent from the beginning of the event, as a brass fanfare from a balcony overlooking the city's most famous avenue, La Rambla, entertained both concert goers and unsuspecting tourists alike.
The concert featured international figures such as Sondra Radvanovsky, Lisette Oropesa, Iréne Theorin, Ludovic Tézier and Joseph Calleja.
Catalan president Pere Aragonès, Congress speaker Meritxell Batet, and Barcelona mayor Ada Colau were among the dignitaries who attended the event.
The gala actually took place the day before the official anniversary, as the Liceu opened its doors on Easter Sunday, April 4, 1847.
There will also be events to mark 175 years since that date on Monday, including arias at the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc at 9pm (and again on April 7-9) and the ringing of church bells and those of the Palau de la Generalitat, the historic palace that is still home to the Catalan government.
The Liceu opera house is one of the crown jewels of Catalan culture and has hosted the biggest names in classical music and opera over the last 175 years.
But locals will also tell you that the venue is said to be cursed, and it is true that it has suffered several unfortunate events during its long history.
As for the future, the opera house is considering opening a second site along Barcelona's seafront. 'Liceu Mar' would be devoted to contemporary and experimental compositions.