Columns linked to Gran Teatre del Liceu

Il viaggio a Reims at the Liceu: A light and easy appetiser

Xavier Pujol

Liceu has resumed its activity with Il viaggio a Reims, an unusual title for a season opening. We need to consider however that these performances, despite being the first ones, do not have the ‘official’ opening character that will arrive at the beginning of October with Un ballo in maschera.  But why is Il viaggio a Reims not an appropriate title to open the season? Because, to start with, dramatically it isn’t a proper opera but rather a sort of scenic cantata...


Il Trovatore at the Liceu: The best was the bad guy

Xavier Pujol

Yet another title from Verdi’s “popular trilogy” at Liceu. We had Rigoletto in March and now, to close the season, Il Trovatore. Betting repeatedlyfor the most popular operas can be dangerous: whilst it is true that they bring with them a full house, they also generate disproportionate expectations in an audience that know them (of thinks to know them) by heart and who wish – often in vain – to listen on stage to the results that tend to belongmore to the...


Don Giovanni at the Liceu: an impossible opera?

Xavier Pujol

It has often been said, in a variety of ways and with a range of argumentations, that Don Giovanni belongs to the limited group of ‘impossible operas’ or ‘trap operas’ in the sense that they are so big, perfect and powerful, and their deep subject – rather than their superficial plot – is so transcendental that, on one hand they are almost always bigger than their performers, and on the other hand they also generate such perfection expectations in the...


La fille du régiment at the Liceu: Propelled to glory in two m...

Xavier Pujol

Very often the experience of opera takes on an exclusively artistic or aesthetic character and we live it as an experience of the spirit. Sometimes, though, the experience of opera resembles more that of a sports event, or a risk sports event to be more precise. We are then in front of a form of vocal athletics. It is a different experience, with lots of adrenaline, very gratifying in the moment and perhaps less so in the long term. La fille du régiment, by Donizetti, is an...


Der fliegende Holländer at the Liceu: Senta's traditional hall...

Xavier Pujol

Philipp Stolzl, the stage director of the Der fliegende Holländer’s version that is being performed at Liceu, states in the programme (quoted by Brigitte Heusinger): “We tell it (the story of the Dutchman)from the perspective of Senta… and we draw the psychograma of a woman that escaped into the world of legend and fantasy and does not manage to come back from it. Now, years later, Senta is a disoriented girl in the body of an adult woman”. The idea of...


Quartett at the Liceu: some distressing unbearable truths

Xavier Pujol

Composer Luca Francesconi clarified the purpose of his piece to journalist Tom Service (The Guardian 19/06/2014) for the premiere of his opera Quartett in London in 2014: Don’t dare to come if you can't accept that you need to analyse what you do and who you are. This piece is violent, it’s sex, it’s blasphemy, it’s the absence of mercy. The only two characters in the opera are the definition of cynical, they have made a pact that they don’t have to...