Barcelona's Liceu opera house boasts new doors designed by celebrity sculptor

Jaume Plensa's 'Constellations' celebrates both diversity and universality of music

Jaume Plensa poses in front of the Liceu on Barcelona's La Rambla (by Pau Cortina)
Jaume Plensa poses in front of the Liceu on Barcelona's La Rambla (by Pau Cortina) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 6, 2022 09:55 AM

Barcelona's Liceu opera house, located on the picturesque La Rambla boulevard in the city center, now boasts three new doors designed by famed Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa.

Officially unveiled on Monday evening to the sound of choir music, 'Constel·lacions' (or 'constellations' in English) is made of, in the words of Plensa, "three clouds of letters" – that is to say, stainless steel letters from nine different alphabets.

The new doors "celebrate the world's great diversity and the richness of dialogue between its identities" while also serving as an invitation into the Liceu, where one can enjoy the universal language of music.

A "generous gift"

'Constel·lacions' cost some €750,000 to build, of which 50% were covered by the ACS construction company, 35% came from EU ERDF funds, and 15% from the Liceu itself.

But Plensa, who is known for works including 'Water's Soul' facing the New York City skyline or 'Carmela' in front of Barcelona's Palau de la Música, donated his time and know-how to create the opera house's new doors.

Catalan culture minister Natàlia Garriga commended him for his "generous gift" to the city. "Making art available to everyone means people can get to know it and appreciate it," she added. 

Welcoming doors

Liceu authorities insist Plensa's creation "invites people" into the opera house – as did the artist himself months ago when he claimed he disliked the concept of doors.

And the choir sang a song from the second act of Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser celebrating the arrival of guests, which the opera house said metaphorically welcomed visitors in to discover the universal language of music. 

This contrasts with initial comments by artistic director Víctor García de Gomar, who said 'Constel·lacions' would help keep "difficult situations" – La Rambla's homeless population, prostitutes, and drug users – out of the building before quickly retracting his "unfortunate" remarks.