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La Bohème moves to the Banlieue

Xavier Pujol

La Bohème, the title that never fails, the joy of the box office, has come back to Liceu. For over a hundred years La Bohème has continued to work perfectly around the world. Firstly, this is due to the underlying moral and ethical codes continuing to be largely valid, with little variations. And because the late Romantic and bourgeois concept of love (and sex) and of couple relationships on which it is based continue to be largely shared in the Western...

Sondra Radvanovsky: Three Times a Queen at Gran Teatre del Liceu

Xavier Pujol

Although initially planned for the 23rd December, but later postponed due to the pandemic, we were able to finally witness – spread in two performance on the 6th and 8th May – at Liceu the show Radvanovsky: The Three Queens, which until now had only been seen at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Three Queens consists of the overtures and final scenes from Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux, the so called ‘Tudor Trilogy’ by Gaetano Donizetti. The...

Otello at Liceu, a Psychological Drama

Xavier Pujol

Otello’s ship has to overcome the storm to get into port – in order to get to Liceu, the opera Otello had to overcome several storms. Firstly, the replacement of the announced conductor, Riccardo Frizza, by Gustavo Dudamel. With this piece, the Venezuelan conductor – who had already opened the season at Liceu with a concert version of Il Trovatore – directed his first staged opera in Spain. Secondly, the announced production from the Royal Opera House directed by...

A Carmen on the edge at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

Xavier Pujol

In Barcelona, Carmen always comes as a balm for the arks of a theatre that is constantly in a financial crisis. Carmen is a comfortable title, it gets a full house, and this was not an exception. It was presented in the "outrageous" version by Calixto Bieito, originally created for the Festival of Peralada, which has been running around the world for 15 years, conveniently adapted, with a significant success. It is a difficult, risky production.  Carmenis a fleshy,...

Heroic Lessons In Love and Violence at Liceu

Xavier Pujol

Composer George Benjamin affirmed that the performances in Barcelona of Lessons in Love and Violence were a moving and “heroic” act. This was during the press conference for the presentation of the artists which he attended via video call. It was certainly the case. With half of Europe having their theatres closed, facing the Spanish première of such a difficult piece was quite a challenge, which Liceu undeniable overcame. It is worth remembering that Liceu had...

A Magnificent Recycled Hoffmann at Gran Teatre del Liceu

Xavier Pujol

These aren’t good times for new productions, theatres’ pockets are empty and everyone makes do as they can. For the performances of Les contes d’Hoffmann, Liceu had to rescue from the storage the production directed by Laurent Pelly, accredited Offenbach specialist. This same production was shown in Barcelona in 2013 and in a way it was already a re-elaboration of the work Pelly himself had done ten years prior for the Lausanne opera house with the same team...

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