Holiday Gift Guide Part 2…Shop Barcelona!

Elena Estaun Jewelry

These fantastic and unique pieces are not to be missed!  Perfect for the person in your life who enjoys an edgy, statement piece.   Though you can shop the collection online if you follow Elena on instagram (@elenaestaun) you will also catch unique pieces that never make it to the website! If you are in Barcelona you are in for a treat!  Elena is opening her own showroom near Turo Park before Christmas!  Stay tuned!   IMG_4878IMG_4491IMG_4757

On our wish list?  We have our eye on Elenas gold screws bracelet which will match our ring perfectly!

Secretos de Alcoba

Hats, headbands, fascinators, scarves and gloves galore!  These well prices items are perfect for a sister, friend, or mother!  My most recent find is their new collection of collars to wrap around your neck to stay cozy!

Beginning in mid-december they will be open in the afternoons for your Christmas fix!  They also have a website,facebook page, and instagram account!  (@secretodealcobatocados)

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On our wish list?  A fascinator for our 2015 wedding season!

Laura Miret Barcelona

Handbags, clutches, and change purses in all colors, styles, leather and suede!  We recently shopped for our 3 sisters and Mom, all who have very different styles.  We found something for everyone!

Visit the website to see this seasons collection, along with adorable fur collars which are new!  You can also stay tuned on facebook or instagram @Lauramiretbarcelonabags.

IMG_1705  LEAVE IT TO BARCELONA Introduction to NYC by COLLEEN ABUHAIDAR IMG_4264

 

On our wish list?  Laura’s new fur collars!  Perfect for our holiday getaway to the mountains!

Serena Whitehaven

Welcome to a shoe-lovers paradise!  This is a perfect destination to spoil yourself, or to bring the shoe-lover in your life.  These high quality shoes are unique and sure to draw attention during any holiday party!

Visit their website, facebook page, or stop by their showroom in Barcelona on C/ Mallorca 184, Entlo. 1º  They now offer gift cards as well if you want to share your love of shoes with a friend but you don’t know her shoe size.  ;) 

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On our wish list?  We love our pink and green oxfords but there is a pair of boots that we have our eyes on!

Gall Collection Lip Balm

A perfect stocking stuffer uniquely from Barcelona!  These charming art nouveau lip balms can be used as a pill box once you’ve finished!  IMG_8863

On our wish list?  We really love all of them!

Brott Dog

Perfect for the dog, or dog lover in your life!  These leads and collars are so charming the are guaranteed to make any pet owner and pooch delighted.

We found ours at Mar de Cava; a wonderful store filled with creative finds.  You can also shop Brott Dog online.

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BCN Brand Sneakers

Perfect for the person in your life who enjoys to combine comfort and style.  BCN Brand has finally found a way to make sneakers cool!  Perfectly designed to spend a day walking around the city.  We are heading to stock up again soon!

On our wish list?  Maybe the blue sneakers!

Shop online or search the various locations in Barcelona.

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Colmillo de Morsa

A Barcelona gem!  Perfect for a fashionista looking for unique pieces.  We are lucky enough to see two locations in Barcelona now!

C/ Vic 15, 08006 Barcelona (Gracia)

C/ Flassaders 12, 08003 Barcelona (El Borne)

If you pass by the store in Gracia you may be able to catch the creations for the upcoming season!

On our wish list?  EVERYTHING!  Learn more on their website, facebook, or visit their instagram account @ColmillodeMorsa.

IMG_1056 With Elisabet and Javier…the faces behind Colmillo de Morsa.  (I am wearing a top by Colmillo de Morsa)

IMG_9537 In my beloved Colmillo de Morsa black leather jacket with white polka dots standing in Colmillo de Morsa!

Leave it to Barcelona Tour

If you are passing through Barcelona, or would like to give the gift of a tour to a loved one, please contact us at leaveittobarcelona@gmail.com .  We arrange curated tours specializing in the unique fashion finds in Barcelona.

Leave it to Barcelona Tote

Don’t miss our Leave it to Barcelona tote.  With only a few left in stock these are a perfect memory for anyone who loves Barcelona.

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Holiday Gift Guide Part 1. Experiencing Barcelona…

Welcome to our first portion of our Holiday Gift Guide.  See below for a list of our favorite experiences which you can share with a loved one or enjoy yourself.

El Palauet Living

A perfect gift for a loved one when you are planning a romantic getaway to Barcelona.  Book one of 6, luxurious, suites in this modernist building and you will not be disappointed.  Plan ahead and we can help you perfect your Barcelona getaway.

Visit Mr and Mrs Smiths website to start planning now!

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Palau de la Musica

Perfect for so many!  Browse through the calendar to find a show that suits you or your travel dates.  Some performances allow you to enjoy from the stage with the musicians.  Either way, between the architecture, lights, and music you will not be disappointed.

Find your tickets here.  

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Hidden City Tours Barcelona

Perfect for the traveller looking for a unique tour or a local in search of a different perspective.  Lisa Grace, founder ofHidden City Tours Barcelona works to create jobs for Barcelonas formerly homeless…and what an experience you will have!  Guided tours through the old town of Barcelona led by homeless or formerly homeless guides

Stay tuned on their facebook page additionally.

IMG_0049 (Enjoying a tour led by Ramon in the Barrio Gothic)

Casa Leopoldo

Perfect for a food lover in search of a wonderful, institution in a hidden corner of Barcelona. Casa Leopoldo is one of our favorite places in town, and we have not been disappointed.  Open since 1936, in the Raval, this restaurant is still in the family.  Enjoy the fresh fish of the day with a fantastic glass of white wine from the Priorat region.

IMG_3618 Enjoying a lovely dinner with family and friends.

IMG_1371 A farewell after a fantastic dinner with friends.  Rosa, the current owner, is the granddaughter of the restaurants founders.

What we order?  We never even look at the menu!  We trust Rosa’s suggestions implicitly!  If you like ham, you certainly will want to order the jamon iberico with the pan de coca.

Make your reservation now.

Leave it to Barcelona Tour

If you are passing through Barcelona, or would like to give the gift of a tour to a loved one, please contact us at leaveittobarcelona@gmail.com .  We arrange curated tours specializing in the unique fashion finds in Barcelona.

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Lluis Genero…a 5 day annual visit to Barcelona.

Once a year Lluis Genero holds a capsule collection sale in Barcelona…and we were lucky enough to catch it!

 

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Walking home one evening we noticed an eye catching affair in our local art gallery, clothing, people, art, flowers….Had a new store opened in place of the gallery?  We had seen commotion for the past few days, and in the ever changing Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona, a new store popping in was entirely possible!

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The following day we popped in to learn that we had stumbled upon the 5 day only capsule collection of local designer, Lluis Genero.  The art gallery was now decorated with art from both Lluis’ personal collection and his own creations.  The designer had transformed the space into a charming boutique filled with sweaters, scarves, and tapestries designed by the designer, who now lives in the Emporda region of Spain.

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This collection called “Soulmates” “unites spontaneity and ease, elegance and sincerity, warmth and sensuality.” (Www.LluisGenero.com)  The designs or composed of cashmere, angora, merino wool, organic cotton, alpaca, and mohair.  The pieces stood out for their quality, style, and affordability. (Every garment is numbered for the collection)

Having lived in Barcelona, Beijing, and multiple other locations around the world,  the designer now resides outside of Barcelona in the countryside. Always knowing he wanted to create, at 18, Lluis travelled to NYC to begin his training at Parsons school of design.  Upon graduation, Lluis has worked has an artist, furniture designer, as well as fashion designer.  Drawing his creativity from daily life, his mind is always working.

What inspires the designer in Barcelona?  The architecture and the people.  For those of you who have visited Barcelona, this won’t come as a surprise to you.

When Lluis is in Barcelona, he loves the fact that he can be in Barcelona without living there.  There is something magical about being a tourist in your own home which we both agreed upon!

Until next year Lluis…for 5 days only.

For more details about Lluis, and for updates on future collections sign up for the newsletter on their website.

September Long Weekend

In September we had 4 delightful ladies come visit from the UK.  One of our guests was a contributing writer to Queen of Retreats. They had only a weekend so we had plenty to cram in!

With a Friday afternoon arrival the girls headed up to the rooftop of our retreat space to catch a class with Sarah Purcell Co-owner and Co-Founder of Infinite Pilates.  Afterwards they had a lovely bit of downtime to enjoy the rooftop jacuzzi!

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The girls had a bit of downtime before popping out for a quick bite and then they were off to enjoy a Flamenco show at the incredibly Palau de la Musica.

From the Palau de la Musica they headed up to Mutis-a jazz bar tucked away in the middle of the Eixample.  The girls listened to a jazz singer croon until the week hours of the night.

Low and behold Saturday morning had arrived and they were up once again for yoga with Kari Zabel, currently based out of Munich, Germany. IMG_3608

After a quick outfit change the ladies were off for a Segway tour of Barcelona.

 

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The girls convened once again for their evening Flamenco lessons with the fabulous Tani, on the outskirts of Barcelona.  Within an hour they were stars!

Another rapid turn around before the girls were tucked into their table at the trendy Boca Grande where they enjoyed into the night.

Soon enough it was Sunday morning-departure day.  After a morning at the beach the ladies soaked in the hammam and massages of the delightful Aire de Barcelona.

In a flash the weekend was over and our girls were off on their way back home to the UK…refreshes, replenished, and ready to take on the mummy and work duties of the week to come.

For more about their weekend you can see the delightful review of our weekend please visit http://queenofretreats.com/experience-leave-it-to-barcelona/

Bicicleta Modernisme

As some of you may have seen via our facebook or instagram pages this Sunday we met up with our friend Carlos, and hit the streets for the Bicicleta Modernisme sponsored by the Modernist Museum of Barcelona. To clarify for ourselves, and for those who may not have been entirely clear, we took to wikipedia to differentiat Catalan modernism from the other Modernist movements which happened around the world. See below for a few photos of our fun filled evening.

“Modernisme (Catalan pronunciation: [muðərˈnizmə], Catalan for “modernism”), also known as Catalan modernism, is the historiographic denomination given to an art and literature movement. Its main form of expression was in architecture, but many other arts were involved (painting, sculpture, etc.), and especially the design and the decorative arts (cabinetmaking, carpentry, forged iron, ceramic tiles, ceramics, glass-making, silver and goldsmith work, etc.), which were particularly important, especially in their role as support to architecture. Modernisme was also a literary movement (poetry, fiction, drama). Although it was part of a general trend that emerged in Europe around the turn of the 20th century, in Catalonia the style acquired its own unique personality. Its distinct name comes from its special relationship, primarily with Catalonia and Barcelona, which were intensifying their local characteristics for socio-ideological reasons after the revival of Catalan culture and in the context of spectacular urban and industrial development. It is equivalent to a number of other fin de siècle art movements going by the names of Art Nouveau in France and Belgium, Jugendstil in Germany, Sezession in Austria, Liberty style in Italy and Modern or Glasgow Style in Scotland, and was active from roughly 1888 (the First Barcelona World Fair) to 1911 (the death of Joan Maragall, the most important Modernista poet). The Modernisme movement was centred in the city of Barcelona, though it reached far beyond, and is best known for its architectural expression, especially in the work of Antoni Gaudí, but was also significant in sculpture, poetry, theatre and painting. Notable painters include Santiago Rusiñol, Ramon Casas,[1] Isidre Nonell, Hermen Anglada Camarasa, Joaquim Mir, Eliseu Meifren, Lluïsa Vidal and Miquel Utrillo. Notable sculptors are Josep Llimona, Eusebi Arnau and Miquel Blai

Santuari de Santa Maria Magdalena, by José Sala, in Novelda, Valencian Community

Catalan nationalism was an important influence upon Modernista artists, who were receptive to the ideas of Valentí Almirall and Enric Prat de la Riba and wanted Catalan culture to be regarded as equal to that of other European countries. Such ideas can be seen in some of Rusiñol’s plays against the Spanish army (most notably L’Hèroe), in some authors close to anarchism (Jaume Brossa and Gabriel Alomar, for example) or in the articles of federalist anti-monarchic writers such as Miquel dels Sants Oliver. They also opposed the traditionalism and religiousness of the Renaixença Catalan Romantics, whom they ridiculed in plays such as Santiago Rusiñol‘s Els Jocs Florals de Canprosa (roughly, “The Poetry Contest of Proseland”), a satire of the revived Jocs Florals and the political milieu which promoted them.

Modernistes largely rejected bourgeois values, which they thought to be the opposite of art. Consequently, they adopted two stances: they either set themselves apart from society in a bohemian or culturalist attitude (Decadent and Parnassian poets, Symbolist playwrights, etc.) or they attempted to use art to change society (Modernista architects and designers, playwrights inspired by Henrik Ibsen, some of Maragall‘s poetry, etc.)

Architecture and the plastic arts[edit]

The earliest example of Modernista architecture is the café Castell dels tres Dragons designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner in the Parc de la Ciutadella for the 1888 Universal Exhibition. It is a search for a particular style for Catalonia drawing on Medieval and Arab styles. Like the currents known in other countries as Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Stile Liberty, Modern Style or Sezessionstil, Modernisme was closely related to the English Arts and Crafts movement movement and the Gothic revival. As well as combining a rich variety of historically-derived elements, it is characterized by the predominance of the curve over the straight line, by rich decoration and detail, by the frequent use of vegetal and other organic motifs, the taste for asymmetry, a refined aestheticism and dynamic shapes.[2]

Antoni Gaudí is the best-known architect of this movement. Other influential architects were Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch, and later Josep Maria Jujol and Enrique Nieto.[3]

While Barcelona was the centre of Modernista construction, the Catalan industrial bourgeoisie built industrial buildings and summer residences – cases d’estiueig – in many Catalan towns, notably Terrassa and Reus. The textile factory which is now home to the Catalan national technical museum MNACTEC is an outstanding example.

Literature[edit]

In literature, Modernisme stood out the most in narrative. The nouvelles and novels of decadent writers such as Prudenci Bertrana (whose highly controversial Josafat involved a demented priest who ends up killing a prostitute), Caterina Albert (also known as Víctor Catala), author of bloody, expressionistic tales of rural violence, opposed to the idealisation of nature propugned by Catalan Romantics, or Raimon Casellas have been highly influential upon later Catalan narrative, essentially recovering a genre that had been lost due to political causes since the end of the Middle Ages. Those writers often, though not always, show influences from Russian literature of the 19th Century and also Gothic novels. Still, works not influenced by those sources, such as Joaquim Ruyra‘s slice-of-life tales of the North-Eastern Catalan coast are perhaps even more influential than that of the aforementioned authors, and Rusiñol’s well-known L’Auca del Senyor Esteve (roughly “The Tale of Mr. Esteve”; an auca is a type of illustrated broadside, similar to a one-sheet comic book) is an ironic critique of Catalan bourgeoisie more related to ironic, pre-Realist Catalan costumisme.

In poetry, Modernisme closely follows Symbolist and Parnassian poetry, with poets frequently crossing the line between both tendencies or alternating between them. Another important strain of Modernista poetry is Joan Maragall‘s “Paraula viva” (Living word) school, which advocated Nietzschean vitalism and spontaneous and imperfect writing over cold and thought-over poetry. Although poetry was very popular with the Modernistes and there were lots of poets involved in the movement, Maragall is the only Modernista poet who is still widely read today.

Modernista theatre was also important, as it smashed the insubstantial regional plays that were popular in 19th century Catalonia. There were two main schools of Modernista theatre: social theatre, which intended to change society and denounce injustice—the worker stories of Ignasi Iglésias, for example Els Vells (“The old ones”); the Ibsen-inspired works of Joan Puig i Ferreter, most notably Aigües Encantades (“Enchanted Waters”); Rusiñol’s antimilitaristic play L’Hèroe—and symbolist theatre, which emphasised the distance between artists and the bourgeoisie—for example, Rusiñol’s Cigales i Formigues (“Cicadas and Ants”) or El Jardí Abandonat (“The Abandoned Garden”).

Linguistics[edit]

Modernista ideas impelled L’Avenç collaborator Pompeu Fabra to devise a new orthography for Catalan. However, only with the later rise of Noucentisme did his projects come to fruition and end the orthographic chaos which reigned at the time.

The end of Modernisme[edit]

By 1910, Modernisme had been accepted by the bourgeoisie and had pretty much turned into a fad. It was around this time that Noucentista artists started to ridicule the rebel ideas of Modernisme and propelled a more bourgeois art and a more right-of-center version of Catalan Nationalism, which eventually rose to power with the victory of the Lliga Regionalista in 1912. Until Miguel Primo de Rivera‘s dictatorship suppressed all substantial public use of Catalan, Noucentisme was immensely popular in Catalonia. However, Modernisme did have a revival of sorts during the Second Spanish Republic, with avant-garde writers such as Futurist Joan-Salvat Papasseit earning comparisons to Joan Maragall, and the spirit of Surrealists such as Josep Vicent Foix or Salvador Dalí being clearly similar to the rebellion of the Modernistes, what with Dalí proclaiming that Catalan Romanticist Àngel Guimerà was a putrefact pervert. However, the ties between Catalan art from the 1930s and Modernisme are not that clear, as said artists were not consciously attempting to continue any tradition.

Modernista architecture survived longer. The Spanish city of Melilla in Northern Africa experienced an economic boom at the turn of the 20th century, and its new bourgeoisie showed its riches by massively ordering Modernista buildings. The workshops established there by Catalan architect Enrique Nieto continued producing decorations in this style even when it was out of fashion in Barcelona, which results in Melilla having, oddly enough, the second largest concentration of Modernista works after Barcelona.

UNESCO World Heritage[edit]

Some of the works of Catalan Modernism have been listed by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage:

Architects[edit]

There were more than 100 architects who made buildings of the Modernista style, three of whom are particularly well known for their outstanding buildings: Antoni Gaudí, Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch.

  • Antoni Gaudí, who went beyond mainstream Modernisme, creating a personal style based on observation of the nature and exploitation of traditional Catalan construction traditions. He was using regulated geometric shapes as the hyperbolic paraboloid, the hyperboloid, the helicoid and the conoide.[6]
  • Lluís Domènech i Montaner created a genuine alternative architecture. Along with Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas he worked towards a modern and international style. Domènech continued on from Viollet-le-Duc, his work characterized by a mix of constructive rationalism and ornaments inspired in the Hispano-Arab architecture as seen in the Palau de la Música Catalana, in the Hospital de Sant Pau or in the Institut Pere Mata of Reus.[7] His Hotel Internacional at Passeig de Colom in Barcelona (demolished after the 1888 World Fair) was an early example of industrial building techniques.
  • Josep Puig i Cadafalch was a Catalan architect, politician and historian who was involved in many projects to retore older buildings. One of his most well-known buildings is his rebuilding of the Casa Amatller in Passeig de Gràcia. It has elements in both the Catalan tradition and others originating in the Netherlands or the German Gothic. Neo-Gothic is also apparent in his Codorniu Winery (Caves Codorniu, 1904). He built Casa Amatller and Casa Trinxet.”

www.wikipedia.com

Saturday night carbo loading in our new outfits.

Saturday night carbo loading in our new outfits.

Just before the bike ride began in front of the gorgeous UNESCO world heritage sight the Hospital Sant Pau.

Just before the bike ride began in front of the gorgeous UNESCO world heritage sight the Hospital Sant Pau.

Making our way with Carlos

Black and white in El Born

(photo credit: Tomas Carcasona)

(photo credit: Tomas Carcasona)

Weekend happenings about town…

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday:

Ballet Gitano at the Teatre Tivoli:

After a three-year tour of Latin America, Europe and the US, Corté is back in Barcelona with his show, Gitano. Performing alongside 10 other dancers, 17 musicians and eight flamenco singers, Gitano is an intensely personal show for the internationally-renowned flamenco dancer and takes the spectator back to his gypsy roots.

Tickets from €28

Friday: Prostibulo Poético: 

Os invitamos al último Prostíbulo Poético de la temporada, en el que presentaremos a las nuevas poetas que entrarán a formar parte del burdel. Ven, aplaudelas, ten un privado con ellas antes que nadie!! Contaremos ademas con Tori Sparks y Amelia Cadwallader. Va a ser una gran noche. Envíanos un mensaje para reservar y te obsequiamos con regalo de Bijoux Indiscrets! prostibulopoetico@gmail.com

8 eu socios
10eu no socios.

We invite Poetry Brothel to last season, which will introduce new poets who will join the brothel. Come aplaudelas, have a private with them before anyone else! We will also with Tori Sparks and Amelia Cadwallader. It will be a great night. Send us a message to book and we will reward you with Bijoux Indiscrets gift! prostibulopoetico@gmail.com

8 EU partners
10eu fees.

7:30 to 10pm C/Corretger, 5

Maria de la O

first time at the Palau de la Música

May 2014 Friday 30 21:30 h Buy Concert Hall
June 2014 Monday 23 21:30 h Buy Concert Hall
Thursday 26 21:30 h Buy Concert Hall
August 2014 Saturday 9 21:30 h Buy Concert Hall
Saturday 16 21:30 h Buy Concert Hall
Prices: from 30 to 48 €

Cycle:

Organized by: Events Artístics

Juan Cortès – Rafael Fernandezguitarra
Paco de Mode, cajón
Fran Leónflauta
Sara Flores – Mariano Santiago “el makande ” – Jorge “el Pirata”- Juan de la Nana, cantaores
Isaac Barbero – Juan Herediabailaores
Susana Escoda – Raquel Alegria – Ivette Pla – Adelaida Guerrero – Maria Cortés, bailaoras

Susana Escoda, choreography
Sara Flores, art direction
Juan Cortés, musical direction

Program

Maria de la O (zambra )
Amor de riquezas  (tanguillos)
Sueños de amor (tango)
Vivencias (alegrias)
Lamentos (balada)
Coraje y rabia (seguiriyas)
Fiesta gitana (bulerias)
La quimera (martinete)
Mis duquelas (solea por buleria)

Maria de la O, A Spanish gypsy girl from a humble family dreams about a gypsy boy from her village since their childhood. One day when they are grown up a rich non-gypsy man appears and she falls in love with him. After a while she realizes that neither wealth nor gold make her happy. What does make her happy are the humble dresses, traditional customs and especially her true love, the gypsy boy from her village.

Saturday:

The Pool Market Barcelona

Mercadillo, música y piscina!!

Only Vintage Clothing & New Designers

Inauguración The Pool Market

*Pool Party & Market *

Horario: 11h-20h.

C/ Pallars 121-125 – BCN

ZT Hotels-Villa Olimpic@ Suites

Line Up – 16h:

Lifeghetto

Yuki Fukiyama

Wish

ENTRADA 1€!

Inscripciones expositores abiertas: Only Vintage Clothing & New Designers

Sunday:

Vintage Market Barcelona http://www.twomarket.es/

4a Bicicleta de Modernisma http://pedalsdelmodernisme.com/

*Leave it to Barcelona will be at the Pedals de Modernisme and Vintage Market.

One night at the Palau de la Musica-Beethovens 9th Symphony

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Can you guess what we are wearing that is from Barcelona?  (Walid included this time)
Beethovens 9th Symphony: 
Organized by: Fundació Orfeó Català-Palau de la Música and Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès

Marta Mathéusoprano
Gemma Coma-Alabertmezzo-soprano
David Alegret, tenor
César San Martínbass

Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Música
(Josep Vila i Casañas, conductor)
Polifònica de Puig-Reig
(Ramon Noguera, conductor)

Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès
Rubén Gimeno
conductor

With the collaboration of students from the Conservatorio Superior de Música del Liceo

Program

R. Humet: Vent transparent
L. van Beethoven
: Symphony no. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 “Choral”

A night in review, Tosca at the Gran Teatre Liceu

We have had a wonderfully, culturally, fun filled week as we count down the days to our first retreat which begins next Saturday.

Wednesday night we headed to the Gran Teatre Liceu where we enjoyed Puccini’s Tosca immensely.

Dress by Catalan designer Natalie Capell.  If you are ever in Barcelona  a visit to her tiny atelier in the Borne is a must!  The cape is a very generous hand me down from my Mother in Law.  Accesorised only pre show with our little Papillon.

Dress by Catalan designer Natalie Capell. If you are ever in Barcelona a visit to her tiny atelier in the Borne is a must! The cape is a very generous hand me down from my Mother in Law. Accesorised only pre show with our little Papillon.

Enjoying our box seats with time to take a pre-show selfie.  Fascinator by Secretas de Alcoba who we are delighted to share with our retreat guests during our in hotel night of shopping during their stay.

Enjoying our box seats with time to take a pre-show selfie. Fascinator by Secretas de Alcoba who we are delighted to share with our retreat guests during our in hotel night of shopping during their stay.

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It is quite difficult to capture the beauty of the Palau with an iPhone camera shot, but as we were about to begin watching act 3, I noticed that the lighting appeared to be smiling at us.

If you are an opera fan, I would highly suggest a visit to the Gran Teatre Liceu during your stay in Barcelona.

Up next for us before the retreat? We’re heading to the Beethovens Moonlight Sonata at the Palau de la Musica this week before our guests arrive in to town.


For more about the history of the Gran Teatre de Liceu please read below:

History

Interior of the Gran Teatre del Liceu after the 1999 rebuilding

In contrast with other European cities, where the monarchy took on the responsibility of the building and upkeep of opera houses, the Liceu was funded by private shareholders of what would become the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu (Great Liceu Theater Society), organized in a similar way to a trading company orsocietat. This is reflected in the building’s architecture; for example, there is no royal box.

Origins

In 1838 a battalion of the Spanish army, commanded by Manuel Gibert Sans, was created in the secularized convent of Montsió (next to the present Portal de l’Àngel), the Liceo Filodramático de Montesión (Philodramatic Lyceum of Montesión). Its purpose was to both promote the musical education (hence the name “Liceu”, or lyceum) and organize scenic representations of opera performed by Liceu students. A theater was built in the convent building — named Teatro de Montesión or Teatro del Liceo de Montesión — and plays and operas performed: the first was Bellini’s Norma (3 February 1838). The repertoire was Italian with the most performed composers being Donizetti and Mercadante as well as Bellini and Rossini. The Barcelona premiere of Hérold‘s Zampa was held here.
In 1838 the society changed its name to Liceo Dramático Filarmónico de S. M. la Reina Isabel II (Dramatic Philharmonic Lyceum of H.M. Queen Elisabeth). Lack of space, as well as pressures brought to bear by a group of nuns who were old proprietors of convent that had recovered rights lost and we protesting to return, motivated the Liceu to leave its headquarters in 1844. The last theatre performance was on 8 September.
The Trinitarian convent building located in the centre of the town at la Rambla was purchased. The managers of the Liceu entrusted Joaquim de Gispert d’Anglí with a project to make the construction of the new building viable. Two different societies were created: a “building society” and an “auxiliary building society”.
Shareholders of the building society obtained the right of use in perpetuity of some theatre boxes and seats in exchange for their economic contributions. Those of the second society contributed the rest of the money necessary in exchange for property of other spaces in the building including some shops and a private club called the Círculo del Liceo.
The queen did not contribute to the construction, which is why there is no royal box, and the name of the society was changed to Liceo Filarmónico Dramático, deleting the queen’s name from it.
Miquel Garriga i Roca was the architect contracted; construction began on 11 April 1845. The Theatre was inaugurated on 4 April 1847.

Opening, fire and rebuilding (1847–1862)

The façade of the Liceu, as viewed from La Rambla

The inauguration presented a mixed program including the premieres of José Melchor Gomis’ musical ouverture, a historical play Don Fernando de Antequera by Ventura de la Vega, the ballet La rondeña (The girl from Ronda) by Josep Jurch, and a cantata Il regio himene with music by the musical director of the theatre Marià Obiols. The first complete opera, Donizetti‘s Anna Bolena on 17 April. At this point Liceu was the biggest opera house in Europe with 3,500 seats. Other operas performed in the Liceu during the first year were (in chronological order): I due Foscari (Verdi), Il bravo (Mercadante), Parisina d’Este (Donizetti), Giovanna d’Arco (Verdi), Leonora (Mercadante), Ernani (Verdi), Norma (Bellini), Linda di Chamounix (Donizetti) and Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini).
The building was severely damaged by fire on 9 April 1861, but it was rebuilt by the architect Josep Oriol Mestres and opened on 20 April 1862, performingBellini‘s I puritani. From the old building only the façade, the entrance hall and the foyer (Mirrors Hall) remained.

From 1862 to Civil War

Explosion of Liceu of Barcelona by the anarchist Santiago Salvador in the cover of the newspaper Le Petit Journal, 1893

On 7 November 1893, on the opening night of the season and during the second act of the opera Guillaume Tell byRossini, two Orsini bombs were thrown into the stalls of the opera house. Only one of the bombs exploded; some twenty people were killed and many more were injured. The attack was the work of the anarchist Santiago Salvador and it deeply shocked Barcelona, becoming a symbol of the turbulent social unrest of the time. The Liceu reopened its doors on 18 January 1894, but the seats occupied by those killed by the bombs were not used for a number of years. The second bomb was put on display in the Van Gogh Museum in 2007 during an exhibit on Barcelona around 1900.
In 1909 the auditorium ornamentation was renewed. Spanish neutrality during World War I allowed the Catalan textile industry to amass enormous wealth through supplying the warring parties. The 1920s were prosperous years and the Liceu became fully established as a leading opera house welcoming better singers, the orchestra leaders of the time and companies such as Sergei Diaghilev‘s Ballets Russes.
When the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed in 1931 political instability meant that the Liceu suffered a severe financial crisis which was only overcome though subsidies from Barcelona City Council and the government of Catalonia. During the Spanish Civil War the Liceu was nationalized and took the name the Teatre del Liceu – Teatre Nacional de Catalunya (Liceu Opera House – the National Theatre of Catalonia). The opera seasons were suspended. After the war it was returned to its original owners in 1939.

“Silver Age” and crisis: from 1940 to 1980

From 1940 to the 1960s the seasons were high quality ones. The year 1955, thanks to the creation of a special board, saw a historic event when for the first time since its foundation the Bayreuth Festival was staged away from its normal venue. Performances of ParsifalTristan und Isolde and Die Walküre with innovative stage sets by Wieland Wagner were enthusiastically received.
In the 1970s an economic crisis affected the theatre and the privately based organization was not able to afford the increasing budgets of modern opera productions and general quality declined.

New direction and 1994 fire

The death of Joan Antoni Pàmias (es) in 1980 revealed the need for the intervention of the official bodies if the institution was to remain a leading opera house. In 1981 the Generalitat de Catalunya with Barcelona’s City Council and the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu created the Consorci del Gran Teatre del Liceu (Consortium of the Great Liceu Theater) responsible for the theater’s management.
The Diputation of Barcelona and the Spanish Ministry of Culture joined the Consortium in 1985 and 1986 respectively. The Consortium managed to quickly attract the public back to the Liceu owing to a considerable improvement in its artistic standard. This included a more complete and up-to-date perspective of the very nature of an opera performance, a great improvement in the choir and orchestra, careful casting, and attracting the interest of the public to other aspects of productions besides the leading roles alone. This approach, coupled with the new economic support and a more demanding and discerning public, resulted in a high standard of productions.
The seasons organised by the Consortium maintained high standards in casting, production and public loyalty, as measured by public attendance, but all this came to a halt with a fire on 31 January 1994. The building was destroyed by a fire caused by a spark that accidentally fell on the curtain during a routine repair. At this time Paul Hindemith‘s Mathis der Maler was performing at the theatre and the following opera to be performed was Puccini‘s Turandot.
Public and institutional response was unanimous on the need to rebuild a new opera house on the same site with improved facilities. The new Liceu is the result of a series of actions to preserve those parts of the building unaffected by the fire, the same ones as had survived the 1861 fire. The auditorium was rebuilt with the same layout, except for the roof paintings which were replaced by new art works byPerejaume, and state-of-the-art stage technology.
In order to rebuild and improve the theater, the theater became public. The Fundació del Gran Teatre del Liceu (Liceu Great Theater Foundation) was created and the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu handed over owners of the building to the Foundation. Some owners disagreed with the decision, which was challenged unsuccessfully in court.

From reopening to now

From 1994 until the reopening in 1999 the opera seasons in Barcelona took place in: Palau Sant Jordi arena (only some massive performances in 1994), Palau de la Música Catalana and Teatre Victòria. The rebuilt, improved and expanded theater opened on 7 October 1999, with Puccini‘s Turandot as previewed in 1994 before the fire. The new venue had the same traditional horseshoe-shaped auditorium as before but with greatly improved technical, rehearsal, office and educational facilities, a new rehearsal hall, a new chamber opera and small performances hall, and much more public space. Architects for the rebuilding project were Ignasi de Solà-Morales and Xavier Fabré i Lluís Dilmé.
Surtitles, projected onto a screen above the proscenium, are used for all opera performances and some lieder concerts. Also, the electronic libretto system provides translations (to English, Spanish or Catalan, as you choose) onto small individual monitors for the most of the seats.

The opera house building

The theatre is in la Rambla, in downtown Barcelona. The building has only two façades as the other two sides were limited, until 1994, by dwelling buildings.
Some parts of the first building remain:
  • the main façade in la Rambla (1847)
  • the hall and the staircase (1861), with a Vallmitjana’s statue of the Music (1901)
  • the foyer (Saló de Miralls or Mirrors Hall) (1847). It preserves romantic ornamentation with round paintings of musicians, singers and dancers from that time of PastaRubiniDonizettiBelliniGluck,Marie Taglioni. It was partially redecorated in 1877 by Elies Rogent and the roof painting, with the Parnassus, is from this period.

Foyer of Gran Teatre del Liceu, named Saló dels Miralls (Mirrors Hall), preserved from the 1994 fire.

The auditorium is huge. Rebuilt after the 1994 fire it is a faithful rebuilding of the 1861 auditorium with some improvements. With 2,292 seats it is one of the biggest opera houses in Europe. It is a typical Italian horseshoe-shaped theatre. Maximum length and width are 33 and 27 m. There is a platea (main floor) and five tiers (or balconies). Boxes, with small rooms attached, are in the forestage, in the platea and in the some of the galleries. There is no significant physical divisions among boxes: only a low screen separates one box from another. No columns are in the theatre apart from inside the platea giving the appearance of the galleries of a golden horseshoe without visual interruptions. Another peculiarity is in the first gallery where the amfiteatre ubicare is located. This is a projecting part of this gallery, with a less pronounced horseshoe shape, that allows three ranks of seats to be located there and are considered the best in the theatre.
Building expenses were covered by the sale of boxes and seats. Boxes were lavishly decorated by their owners but all them disappeared in the 1994 fire. Upper balconies (4th and 5th tiers) are the cheapest seats and are is called the galliner (literally “henroost”). 
The forestage, or proscenium, reproduces the old one which was rebuilt in 1909. It has a big central arch with two Corinthian columns on both sides and, among the columns, four tiers of boxes parapets with the wider and more luxurious boxes in the theatre being called banyeres (literally “bathtubs”).
The auditorium ornamentation reproduces that of 1909: sumptuous with golden and polychromed plaster moldings, as usual in 19th-century European theatres. Lamps are of brass and glass in the shape of a drake. Armchairs on the main floor are made of strained iron and red velvet.
In the rebuilding some modern features were introduced. The eight circular paintings in the roof, and the three in the forestage, were all lost in the fire and have been re-created by contemporary artist Perejaume. The stage curtain is a work of the Catalan designer Antoni Miró. The new hemispheric lamp in the center of the roof is a platform for technological facilities (lighting, sound and computer).
Other technological facilities are control and projecting cabins in some balconies, a “technical floor” over the roof, and high-tech equipment to record and broadcast performances. With computerized cameras the auditorium could also be used as a television set. Stage facilities are among the most modern and allow quick scene changes and to perform four different sets simultaneously.
A new foyer has been built under the main auditorium. It is a room where is the main bar and the restaurant are located and is used also to stage concerts, small format performances, lectures, cultural activities, and meetings etc.

One night at the Palau de la Musica Barcelona

After Antoni Gaudi saw a performance of Hansel and Gretal at the Palau de la Musica it is said that is where his inspiration for Parc Guell arrived. Though we didn’t see Hansel and Gretal, I can see his inspiration after having spent a lovely evening in this art nouveau building.

A few photos from our evening. We can’t say enough wonderful things about the performance of the Russian Musical Chamber Ensemble Victoria. Upon their return to Barcelona we will certainly try to get to another show, and of course we will let you know as well.

Coming later this week…Puccini’s Tosca, at the Teatro Gran Liceu.

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Pre-performance cafe cava. I think I could sit in the cafe all day long.
The best part? You don’t have to be attending a performance to enjoy the beautiful art nouveau cafe!

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Can you imagine a better view? What a treat to sit in the front row with a view of this grand pipe organ and all of the architectural detail.

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We couldn’t get enough of the cafe! Post-show cava. So happy to be in my new outfit from Colmillo de Morsa, designers from Barcelona, living in Barcelona, creating in Barcelona, and selling in Barcelona.

Happenings at the Palau de la Musica

We are super excited to be able to go and see tonights performance of Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons in the Palau de la Musica played by the Russian Victoria Ensemble. Tickets are still available if you would like to catch the show!  Buy your ticket here!
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Russian Ensemble Victoria
Rodion Zamuruev, solo violinist
Russian Victoria Ensemble
Rodion Zamuruev, violin soloist
program
A. Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
A. Piazzola: Seasons Buenos Aires
Born in 2002 as a project of three musicians Moscow Conservatory graduates Official Music awards at international contests and Moscow, to provide an image of the virtuous skillful works of classical music. Participating in numerous festivals in countries of Western Europe.
Rodion Zamuruev, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory graduate, began playing in the most prestigious halls of Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities of Russia at the age of 7 years. He has won several national and international awards such as first prize peer to Tibor Varga Competition.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Palau de la Musica, read below about this magical art nouveau building.

THE ART NOUVEAU BUILDING

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The Palau de la Música Catalana was built between 1905 and 1908 by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner as a home for the Orfeó Català, financed by popular subscription.

The Palau de la Música Catalana is an architectural jewel of Catalan Art Nouveau, the only concert venue in this style to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (4th December 1997), which today represents an essential landmark in the cultural and social life of Catalonia. Moreover it represents a symbolic emotional heritage for a whole people who identify with its history.

The building is designed around a central metal structure covered in glass, which exploits natural light to make the make Domènech i Montaner’s masterpiece into a magical music box which brings together all the decorative arts: sculpture, mosaic, stained glass and ironwork. The guided tours offered by the Palau de la Música Catalana are a must on any visit to Barcelona.

The Concert Auditorium – one of the most distinctive in the world – is for more than hundred years the privileged setting for the musical life, both national and international, of the city of Barcelona. It has hosted world premieres and iit is a landmark symphonic and choral music. Dominated by the organover the stage and with a central skylight portraying the sun, the auditorium is filled with natural light. A mystical, paradoxical hall, packed with figures like the muses which surround the stage, a bust of Anselm Clavé on one side and Beethoven on the other, and hundreds of natural motifs, including flowers, palms, fruit, jars and cases filled with jewels.
As well as the large Concert Auditorium, the Palau has two other venues for the artistic life of the institution. One is the Petit Palau, a modern auditorium opened in 2004, ideal for chamber music or small-format concerts and offering excellent acoustics and high-tech audio-visual equipment. The last venue is the little gem of the Palau de la Música, the Sala d’Assaig de l’Orfeó Català, the Orfeó Català Rehearsal Room. A cosy, intimate venue for small-format concerts, talks, presentations – and, of course, where the Orfeó Català choirs practise. The first stone of the Palau, laid in 1905, is here. With its semi-circular arc of seats facing the half moon arch on the ceiling over the Concert hall stage, it features robust columns, stained glass and period decoration.
Another very special part of the Palau is the great Sala Lluís Millet, or Lluís Millet Hall, a meeting place in intermissions dedicated to Maestro Millet, the founder of the Orfeó Català. The hall is two storeys high, with great stained glass windows decorated with floral designs, giving an extraordinary effect. Even more exceptional is the balcony which can be seen through these windows, with its double colonnade decorated with distinctive colours and ornamentation. Another exceptional setting is theFoyer of the Palau, which has room for a large number of people, even seated at tables, both when there are performances and when it is used as a separate restaurant-cafeteria. The wide arches built with bricks and green and floral-pattern glazed ceramics give this area a distinctive air or its very own.