Barcelona's Wagner Club celebrates first anniversary
Fan association strengthens links between Catalan capital and legendary German composer going back to 19th century
In December 1913, Barcelona's Liceu became the first European opera house to put on a performance of Richard Wagner's 'Parsifal' after the Bayreuth theater's exclusive 30-year rights to host the opera ran out.
That forged a link between Catalonia and the German composer that has continued until today, as seen by the existence of the Club Wagner Barcelona, which celebrated its first anniversary this week.
In the past 12 months, the fan club devoted to the legendary composer has organized over 30 Wagner-related activities, such as talks, screenings and debates, all exploring and celebrating his work and life.
Club Wagner also began working with Barcelona Clàssica magazine to offer events in the Fòrum Barcelona Clàssica programme, and teamed up with the Society of Friends of Bayreuth to get tickets at reduced prices for the famous Bayreuth Festival in Germany.
The club also has a number of activities planned to coincide with the production of 'Lohengrin' directed by Wagner's great-granddaughter and Bayreuth Festival head, Katharina Wagner, which will debut at the Liceu theater in Barcelona in 2020.
Barcelona: a Wagnerian city
Wagner's work first struck a chord with Catalan intellectuals at the end of the 19th century, when Barcelona was becoming a capital of Modernism, and the Associació Wagneriana was set up in 1901, whose efforts included translating Wagner's operas into Catalan.
Much of this interest can be credited to Dr. Josep Letamendi and his pupil Joaquim Marsillach. After visiting the Bayreuth Festival in 1876, where Marsillach met Wagner, he returned to Barcelona and wrote the first study of the composer to be published in Catalonia.
Part of Club Wagner's remit is to consolidate Barcelona's profile as a Wagnerian city, and it seems the reputation is well-deserved, as the Catalan capital is one of only two cities outside Germany to host the Bayreuth Festspielhaus orchestra, in 1955 and 2012.