classical music

Catalan tenor Josep Carreras: "We are an adult people and we know how to make our own decisions"

September 10, 2014 10:17 AM | ACN

On Tuesday evening the Barcelona-born opera tenor, Josep Carreras received the Golden Medal of the Catalan Parliament for his outstanding and internationally-recognised professional career, but also for his efforts leading a foundation that fights Leukaemia. In his acceptance speech, Carreras defended Catalonia's right to self-determination and the independence vote scheduled for the 9th of November. Carreras, who became a true world star in the 1990s with the Three Tenors, praised the idiom "live and let live", meaning that the Spanish authorities should authorise the self-determination vote. He asked the Catalan MPs "to do whatever is necessary to ensure that the others live and let us live". His words were particularly relevant as they were said at such an important event and two days ahead of the massive pro-independence demonstration, which will take place in Barcelona on Catalonia's National Day (the 11th of September).

The harpsichord duo Ton Koopman and Tini Mathot opened Bachcelona Festival

July 23, 2014 09:32 PM | ACN

The Bachcelona Festival kicked off on Sunday with a concert by renowned harpsichord duo Ton Koopman and Tini Mathot at the Catalan capital's Palau de la Música concert hall. The performance included the famous ‘Art of Fugue,’ one of the most celebrated compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach. The festival, which is designed to showcase the work of the great composer, will run in Barcelona until 27 July 2014. Koopman, a specialist in Baroque music and great interpreter of Bach’s work, gave attendees an intense and enjoyable musical evening, and was accompanied by his wife Mathot. The pair are noted for the authenticity of their performances, which sometimes even use exact replicas of instruments used by Bach.

Kazushi Ono will be the main conductor of the Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra

February 19, 2014 10:55 AM | ACN / Pau Cortina / Rurika Hashimoto

Japanese conductor Kazushi Ono was appointed the next main conductor of the Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra (OBC) taking over from the current conductor Pablo Gonzalez in September 2015. The decision to appoint Ono has received the consent of "all parties". The Director of the L’Auditori concert hall, where the OBC is based, hopes that Ono will lead the ensemble to be a worldwide fame orchestra from Catalonia. Ono is currently the main conductor of the orchestra of the Opera National de Lyon and will also be the head of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra in Spring 2015.

Korean soprano and tenor win the 51st Francesc Viñas International Singing Contest

January 27, 2014 01:17 PM | ACN / Paula Solanas

The first prize of the 51st Francesc Viñas International Singing Contest, which rewards young opera performers from all over the world, was awarded recently ex aequo to Korean soprano Seyoung Park, aged 31, and Korean tenor Junghoon Kim, aged 25. British singer Anna Patalong won the second prize, while Peruvian Ximena Agurto came in third place. The award ceremony, which was held in Barcelona’s Liceu Theatre last weekend, included a concert with performances by all the winners conducted by internationally-renowned director Guerassim Voronkov and accompanied by the Liceu Symphonic Orchestra.

Händel’s ‘Agrippina’ opens Barcelona Liceu opera theatre’s season

November 15, 2013 09:21 PM | ACN

Georg Friedrich Händel’s opera ‘Agrippina’ is opening this Friday the season of Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu. In addition, it is the first time ‘Agripina’ will be performed at the Catalan opera house, 300 years after it premiered at the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice. This contemporary staging of Händel’s first great opera, with stage direction by David McVicar, is led by Baroque specialist Conductor Harry Bicket.  Mezzo soprano Susan Connolly, soprano Danielle de Niese, and countertenor David Daniels are the lead singers. ‘Agrippina’ will be performed in the Catalan capital until the 29th November.

L’Escolania de Montserrat boys choir prepares for its first ever tour in the United States

August 20, 2013 09:29 PM | ACN

Next March, L’Escolania de Montserrat, one of the oldest music schools in Europe and one of the most famous children’s choirs, will carry out its first ever tour in the United States. On the 13th, 14th and 16th of March 2014 the choir will sing in concerts in the cities of New York, New Jersey and Washington, respectively. Following this landmark tour they will continue to offer performances throughout Catalonia and then they will begin the recording of their new album. The last time the choir group sang in the Americas was in January 2004 when they played in Puerto Rico. L’Escolania de Montserrat is based in the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat, located in the centre of Catalonia, and has produced many prevalent composers and performers down the years.

Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Keane and Diana Krall to play in the next Cap Roig Festival on the Costa Brava

April 6, 2013 01:53 AM | CNA / Pau Cortina

The 13th edition of the Festival de Cap Roig will run from the 20th of July until the 16th of August, and it is one of the main milestones of Catalonia’s cultural landscape during the summertime. The music event takes place in the Cap Roig gardens, a green promontory overlooking the sea, located in Calella de Palafrugell, at the centre of the Costa Brava. This year, the budget has been reduced by 20% and the average ticket price will be reduced by 16% due to the economic crisis. The Catalan bands Manel, Gossos, Antònia Font and Blaumut will play at the festival that will be kicked off with a concert by Elton John, making the only stop in Spain of his 'Rocket Man - Greatest Hits Live' tour. Other important artists are Katie Melua, Fito & Fitipaldis, Vicente Amigo, Melendi, Malú, Rosario and Ainhoa Arteta.

The Liceu Barcelona Opera House begins seeking international sponsorship

April 5, 2013 08:09 PM | CNA / Marine Berton

Barcelona’s Liceu Opera Theatre aims to attract philanthropic funds from the United States and establish cultural, social and economic links between the institution and American civil society to strengthen the image of the Liceu, one of Europe’s main opera houses. The Liceu Barcelona Opera House Foundation in New York plans to raise $100,000 in the first year. Other European opera houses and festivals such as the Paris National Opera, the Royal Opera House in London get between $200,000 and $700,000 each year. The project is launched by the Gran Teatre del Liceu and Levante Capital Partners with the participation of Baker & McKenzie.

The David Campos Ballet says farewell due to the economic crisis after a 25 year-trajectory

March 18, 2013 10:25 PM | CNA

The David Campos Ballet company, famous for combining classical ballet with contemporary dance, is the latest victim of the crisis that is asphyxiating cultural projects and, in particular, those related to classical dance. On Sunday, the company created and directed by David Campos performed its last show on stage, after 25 years of work at an international level, a representation of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ in Terrassa, Greater Barcelona. The ballet director lamented that dance is “the last echelon of culture” in this country, despite it being “an active genre” that fills up theatres with rejuvenated audiences.

10 grand pianos installed in Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia to promote the 2013 Maria Canals Competition

March 11, 2013 08:18 PM | CNA / Elise Griset

15 days of top-level piano competition are coming up in March in Barcelona. To promote one of the world’s most prestigious international piano competitions, organised in Barcelona since 1954, 10 grand pianos were installed last Saturday in the middle of the street, on the Catalan capital’s Passeig de Gracia boulevard. The pianos could be tried by the pedestrians for free. In addition, a huge variety of concerts in different places all over Barcelona are being held. 91 pianists from 26 countries are participating in the 2013 Maria Canals International Music Competition. The winner will be known in two weekends from now.

International singing contest Francesc Viñas won by soprano Katerina Tretyakova and baritone Michal Jakub Partyka

January 21, 2013 10:26 PM | CNA

The 50th anniversary of the prestigious international competition of opera and oratorio-lied singing, named in honour of the Catalan tenor Francesc Viñas, awarded the joint first prize to Katerina Tretyakova, from Lithuania, and Michal Jakub Partyka, from Poland. The second prize went to Amartuvshin, from Mongolia, and the third prize was for Valeriu Caradja, from Moldova. The first junior prize was for Marina Nachkebiya, from Georgia. The final stage of the competition took place on Friday with 15 singers taking part in Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu. The award ceremony was on Sunday and the winners showed the audience their talent. Besides, the Liceu Theatre organised an exhibition and published a book to showcase Francesc Viñas’ career and the history of the competition named after him.

An opera based on philanthropist Vicente Ferrer to be shown in Barcelona’s Sant Jordi pavilion

November 27, 2012 11:16 PM | CNA / Margalida Amengual

The opera is based on Vicente Ferrer, a Catalan who devoted his life to helping the poorest people in Anantapur, in India’s Andra Pradesh. Vicente Ferrer’s project brought aid to some 2.5 million people. He died three years ago. On the 1st of December, the “opera collage”, as its author Joan Martínez calls it, will be shown in Barcelona’s Sant Jordi pavilion. Martínez met Ferrer in India and created this show in his honour. ‘L’home del paraigua’ has already premiered at the Liceu Theatre in September 2010.

World premiere of an unfinished piece by the renowned Catalan composer Montsalvatge at the Peralada Festival

August 21, 2012 10:04 PM | CNA / Xavier Pi / David Tuxworth

The Cadaqués Orchestra played ‘Concerto libero’, an unfinished work for piano and cello at the Peralada’s Carme Church, in northern Catalonia. The Costa Brava festival is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth whose works have achieved international acclaim. The world premiere of the piece by Xavier Montsalvatge was the highlight of the concert which was dedicated to the composer, one of the most prominent figures in Catalan music.

Ángel Corella: “Barcelona Ballet will represent the city and the name of Catalonia worldwide”

April 11, 2012 09:14 PM | Pep Botey

CNA interviewed Ángel Corella, perhaps the best known face of ballet in Spain. Corella’s company is now established in the Catalan capital with a new name: ‘Barcelona Ballet’. Furthermore, Corella will manage a new international dancing school and residence in Figueres, a town in northern Catalonia. The school will train young talents aged between 11 and 18, aiming to feed the ‘Barcelona Ballet’ company. In an exclusive interview, Corella explains the reasons behind his recent moves and gives us the low-down on the situation of the dance industry in our country.

South Korean pianist Soo Jung Ann wins the International Music Competition Maria Canals of Barcelona

March 22, 2012 10:34 PM | CNA

The 58th edition of the prestigious international piano competition awarded the jury’s first prize to Soo Jung Ann, who is 25 years old. The Japanese interpreter Nozomi Nakagiri and Ukraine’s pianist Vadym Kholodenko won the second and third prizes. Nakagiri also received audience’s prize. The competition ran from March 9th to March 21st, and the final was held at Barcelona’s Palau de la Música Catalana. 89 artists of 23 different nationalities participated in this year’s edition. More than 100 Catalan families offered their grand pianos for the occasion.