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Liceo Theatre Grand Opera House refurbished 1999

Ornate Grand Opera house dating from 1837, offering guided tours as well as concerts and plays.

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

by: Barcelona Travel Hacks

Views: 670

About Liceo Theatre Grand Opera House refurbished 1999

Below is a tranlated and abridged extract from the Liceo website

The Gran Teatre del Liceu dates back to 1837, when at the instigation of Manuel Gibert, a battalion of the National Militia formed the institutional core of the future Theatre in the unused monastery of Montsio. The first show premiered on 21 August 1837.

In 1838, the project took one step further and added a theatre school aimed at competing with the Maria Cristina Music and Declamation Conservatory in Madrid, thus the Liceo Filarmonico Dramatico Barcelonas (Barcelona Dramatic and Philharmonic Lyceum) came into being.

In 1844, the partner of Joaquim de Gispert i d'Angla was entrusted with finding a new location to construct a building that would house a teaching professorship and a theatre. The space that he chose was the former monastery of Los Trinitarios, on the Rambla. The building was formally purchased on 9 June 1844.

This initially attracted insufficient funds, a new Sociedad Auxiliar de Construccion (Auxiliary Construction Society) was created to raise the rest of the money in exchange for ownership of other spaces of the building. Unlike other European cities, where monarchs had contributed to the construction of the great opera houses, the Liceu was built from private contributions, which meant that part of the Teatre was owned by just a few families.

The first stone was laid in April 1845. The architect Miquel Garriga was in charge of the construction and directed the works until 1846, when he was replaced by Josep Oriol Mestres. On 4 April 1847, Easter Sunday, the Theatre opened with a programme including a symphony, a play, an Andalusian dance and a cantata in Italian. The first opera, Anna Bolena, came a few days later, on 17 April.

The new Theatre had the largest capacity in Europe, seating an audience of up to 3,500, and the stage was equipped with the most modern facilities and technology at the time.

The first theatre only lasted 14 years: on 9 April 1861, a fire that broke out in the tailor's shop spread rapidly and completely destroyed the hall and the stage. The theatre was in ruins and the owners unanimously decided to rebuild it by sharing the costs among all the shareholders and people with interests in the Theatre. The theatre was rebuilt in a year, under the guidance of the architect Josep Oriol Mestres. The Liceu reopened its doors in April 1862 with an opera.

On 7 November 1893, during the opening performance of the season, in the second act of Guillaume Tell (William Tell), the anarchist Santiago Salvador tossed two Orsini bombs into the stalls. Only one exploded, killing 20 people and causing a large number of injuries. The Liceu closed its doors and did not resume its artistic activity until 18 January 1894, with a series of concerts.

At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, when the Theatre was nationalised by the Government of Catalonia. The Franco regime restored ownership of the Theatre to the owners society and in April 1939 Joan Mestres Calvet resumed artistic activity and began organising the 1939/40 winter season , opening on 9 December 1939 with an opera.

By the late 1970s, the financing system was completely obsolete compared to the great opera houses of Europe. After the death of the last businessman, Joan Antoni Pamias, in 1980, the Catalan authorities become aware of the historical and cultural value of the institution, and on 11 December the Government of Catalonia issue a decree of creating a consortium to finance the theatre.

The fire of 31 January 1994 garnered great public sypmathy and the Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to rebuild the Liceu on the same site. The project was entrusted to the architect Ignasi de Sola-Morales and was joined by Xavier Fabre and Lluis Dilme. During constructions, performances of the theatre were held in other venues across the city such as the Palau de la Musica Catalana, the Teatre Victoria, the Mercat de les Flors, the Theatre Nacional de Catalunya, the Palau Sant Jordi etc.

The new Theatre opened on 7 October 1999 with a performance in a modernised theatre building whose appearance was faithful to the previous one but was endowed with advanced technical infrastructure.

4 Attractions Nearby

Visiting Liceo Theatre Grand Opera House refurbished 1999

The theatre offers a one hour guided tour of the auditorium and various lounges for 19 euros. Also available is an 80 minute tour for 25 euros that includes the backstage area as well. Details can be found on the website.

To catch a live show at the theatre visit the Whats on or Calandar section of the website.

Note: Guided tours are currently suspended due to covid.

Accessibility, mobility & Clothing for Liceo Theatre Grand Opera House

Bicycle anchorage points by Liceo Metro station exit. Bicycles in this part of town have a high probability of being stolen so do not take your eyes off it.

Summary of Prices

Train/Bus Fare Entry Ticket Additional Information Train/Bus Fare Entry Ticket Additional Information Adult Zone 1 T-casual € 19.00 Child T-familiar FREE For under 10 yearsNotes Special discounts for retirees, students, children and subscribers. Book Guided tour by Email.

Weather for Barcelona

Getting to Liceo Theatre Grand Opera House refurbished 1999

Address: La Rambla 51-59, Barcelona. 08002

The nearest TMB METRO is Liceo on the green (L3) metro line.

Warning: This part of Barcelona suffers from pick pocket thieves so ensure all zips and flaps on bags are done up and keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Thieves ride past on bicycles to steal off of tables or out of hands, or are disguised as beggars so be extra vigilant when on the street outside the theatre.

Public Transport Guide

Documents for Liceo Theatre Grand Opera House refurbished 1999

Click on any one of the 2 PDFs to view in full screen and download.


Street Map Las Ramblas Area

Author: Barcelona Travel Hacks


Metro Map Liceo


Wikiloc Trail for Liceo Theatre Grand Opera House refurbished 1999

BCN11 - Palau Guell, Las Ramblas, Plaza Reial, plaza Catalunya

A city walk in Las Ramblas area of Barcelona via Palau Guell, Plaza Reial, Liceo Theatre, La Boqueria Sant Josep food market, las Ramblas and Plaza Catalunya

Distance: 2.22 Km

Difficulty: Easy

Return Travel Fare: T-Casual Zone 1

Transport Network: Barcelona Metro

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