Classical Music: Barcelona’s Finest Venues

In Barcelona, you can find music to suit every taste. But if you specifically love your classical music, there are three main venues that stand above the rest. Throughout the years, they have been visited by some of the best opera singers, orchestras, and conductors the world has to offer. Here is why you should visit them.

Liceu

The Gran Teatre del Liceu is an impressive establishment. Opened in 1847, its history is interesting and quite tumultuous.

In fact, the venue had to be rebuilt two times due to fire damage. The first one struck in 1861, requiring  some minor adjustments. One year later, The Gran Teatre was up and running again. The second fire came in 1994, caused by a spark that accidentally set light to a curtain during a routine repair. After that event, the theatre had to be rebuilt and it re-opened its doors only five years later, in 1999.

Liceu Interior example of the Barcelona Classical Music
Circle upon circle of stunning decor

There was a gap in performances too. During the Spanish Civil War, from 1936-39, operas and other plays were suspended in the theatre.

Aside from catastrophic events, there are of course moments of bliss. Liceu has seen the most famous opera singers in the world grace its stage, including the likes of Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti and Barcelona native, Montserrat Caballé. Operas of Catalan, Spanish and Italian composers have premiered within the famous walls. Several masterpieces have also been performed in this theatre, from composers Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Rossini, Verdi, Stravinsky, Dvořák, to name but a few.

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Catalan native Montserrat Caballé performed here many times (credit: Warner Classics)

Liceu is not only a place for classical music and opera, performers of other genres also make use of its beautiful stages, profound acoustics and richly decorated halls that seat up to 2292 guests. A great example of this is Icelandic singer, Björk, who famously performed here in 2001.

These days, you can enjoy contemporary and classical ballet, classical operas and famous orchestras from all over the world. This March, you can enjoy Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto, so remember to book tickets in advance. It is worth checking the schedule of upcoming events as there is a lot coming up this season.

Palau de la Música

Opened in 1908, the Palau de la Música also has a rich history. It is ideal if you’re staying in our Plaza Catalunya residence nearbyToday, more than half a million people annually attend Palau’s musical events, ranging from symphonic and chamber music to jazz.

In 1997, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is not surprising when you see it in person. Its design is typical of Catalan modernism, when curves predominate over straight lines, dynamic shapes are preferred over statics forms, and rich decoration, that emphasises floral and other organic motifs, is used extensively.

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A seat with a view

Its concert hall, seating about 2 200 people, is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. It is the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated during daylight hours entirely by natural light.

In its beginning, the Palau de la Música paid special attention to promoting local composers and artists, such as Enric Granados and the orchestra of Pau Casals. Many of the best soloists, orchestras and conductors have visited this venue, such as Emil Sauer, Maurizio Pollini, the Berliner Philharmoniker with Richard Strauss, amongst others.

Popular singers and bands, like Norah Jones and Juanes, have performed at the Palau. Some events in March are include renditions of The Fourth by Tchaikovsky and Gran Gala de Flamenco. Check the following link to know what’s going on at the venue.

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Look up to this: the stunning ceiling in the Palau

Auditori

Not far from our Sagrada Familia Residence, you will find the newest of the three major venues, opened in 1999. Architecturally, it is also the most modern.

Nowadays, some of the greatest orchestras of the world come to the Auditori. It also serves as the home of the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona, where the new great conductors and orchestras of our century are being taught. On average, they perform 75 concerts a season. The venue has 3 halls (Sala 1 Pau Casals for 2.200 spectators; Sala 2 Oriol Martorell with 600 places; and Sala 3 Tete Montoliu with 400 places).

Don’t miss the string quartets this spring.  The programme for the upcoming season has something for every classical music fans and looks very impressive.

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Modern setting: Barcelona’s Auditori