Columns linked to Gran Teatre del Liceu

Juan Diego Flórez returns to a Liceu in a State of Emergency

Xavier Pujol

Normality comes back at Liceu – a kind of normality which we now know will never be a return to the past. This is being done in a brave, slow and difficult way, both for the staff and artists as well as for the audience. Juan Diego Flórez was due to offer a recital at Liceu last May and, after the pandemic forced it to be rescheduled, it was eventually divided into two sessions, on the 21st and 23rd October, in order to accommodate every person that had bought a ticket in...


The Return of the Old Paper Aida at Gran Teatre del Liceu

Xavier Pujol

Aida - the opera which with over 450 performances is by large the most performed at Liceu - has come back once more to the Barcelonan theatre in a unique staging that belongs to the history of the theatre: the old paper set by stage designer Josep Mestres Cabanes (1898-1990). Aida (c) A. Bofill Aida (c) A. Bofill Mestres Cabanes, master of perspective and scenography trompe-l’oeil, spent 8 years painting this set. This was premiered in 1945 and was used regularly...


Liceu: Rescuing Doña Francisquita

Xavier Pujol

It is not easy to explain what Doña Francisquita is, what it represents, or bring some clarity to the huge weight of the various connotations hanging on this title to the extreme of almost crashing it and making it impossible. To begin with, Doña Francisquita – premiered in Madrid in 1923 – is not an opera but a zarzuela, meaning a musical piece which, as in the German signspiel, combines spoken and sung parts. Moreover, Doña Francisquita, is Catalan...


The Demon falls in love at the Liceu

Xavier Pujol

Demon, the opera by Anton Rubinstein with libretto by Pavel Alexandrovich Viskovatov based on the homonymous poem by Mikhail Lermontov, was premiered in 1875 and was performed often in Russia towards the end of the 19th century, but today is an opera outside the repertoire, almost a rarity. The fact that Liceu decided to participate in a co-production of the title alongside the Helikon Opera from Moscow, the Staatstheater from Nürnberg and the Opéra National de Bordeaux,...


Andrea Chénier at the Liceu: A perfect night

Xavier Pujol

Opera is the most complex and interdisciplinary form of artistic expression created by Western culture, all scenic and musical arts are represented. In this state of affairs, in the same way that it is very difficult to totally ruin an operatic performance it is even a greater challenge to achieve absolute perfection. Nevertheless, this is – or almost is – what happened in the premiere of Andrea Chénier at Liceu, one of the foundational titles of the verismo movement...


Gran Teatre del Liceu: That old dear Elisir

Xavier Pujol

At times, opera can also be the art of nostalgia and of longing, referring not just to the voices. Liceu has once again restaged in its scene its own production of L’elisir d’amore, one of the most successful productions of the theatre, which has toured around bringing dignity to Liceu’s name.  The staging is signed by Mario Gas as stage director, who started his relationship with this title over 30 years ago. That production was the grandmother of the one...