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.
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:
Opening, fire and rebuilding (1847–1862)
From 1862 to Civil War
“Silver Age” and crisis: from 1940 to 1980
New direction and 1994 fire
From reopening to now
The opera house building
- 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 Pasta, Rubini, Donizetti, Bellini, Gluck,Marie Taglioni. It was partially redecorated in 1877 by Elies Rogent and the roof painting, with the Parnassus, is from this period.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Russian Ensemble Victoria
Rodion Zamuruev, solo violinist
THE ART NOUVEAU BUILDING
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.
As the weather is growing warmer and warmer I am back out on my Brompton foldable bicycle…one of my favorite ways to get around Barcelona…and if you live in Barcelona, one of the fastest!
Barcelona was was one of fifteen “bike friendly” cities listed on CNN travel.
“Barcelona’s Bicing program, one of many mass bike rental systems that have popped up recently in Europe and beyond, debuted in 2007 in the Catalonian capital. An annual Bike Week is held in late May to spread the word.” Cnn.com
Whether you hire your own bike, opt for a tour, or live in Barcelona and sign up for the Bicing bike sharing program, I can confirm that Barcelona is not only a bike friendly city it…it is a fun city to bike in!
My favorite agency: okbarcelonatours.com Uses my favorite bicycle…the Brompton!
During our yoga retreats this is the company I suggest using to our guests. They have wonderful tour leaders, insider knowledge, and are extremely helpful. Visit their website or check them out on Instagram.
After a week of scouting and yoga we came up to the Pyrenees for our weekend recharge. This weeks find was Bcn Brand sneakers. I have always had a hard time finding a sneaker that doesn’t make me stand out as a tourist, yet at the same time doesn’t send a full hipster vibe. (which I love but it isn’t my personal style)
So you will see below, plain clothes yoga, in a headstand, in calzedonia leggings, barbour sweater, my beloved Stella Mccartney whistle necklace and of course…Bcn Brand sneakers. We seriously can’t get enough of them.
My husband who is half Lebanese, half WASP, never wears sneakers bought a pair and hasn’t taken them off!
Get your own pair today in a huge variety of colors. They will be coming in to our hotel in March to sell directly to our guests but if you’re unable to make it to Barcelona anytime soon and you just can’t wait visit them right here and order your pair today.