Many important events line the history of the Liceu. Here we can only highlight some of the major milestones.
The Liceu's grand opening
The opening ceremony took place on 4 April 1847. On the programme were a symphony by Joan Melcior Gomis, the drama Don Fernando el de Antequera by Ventura de la Vega, an Andalusian-style dance entitled Rondeña by the musician Josep Jurch, and Il Regio Imene, a cantata in Italian by Joan Cortada with music by Marià Obiols. Mixed bills of this type would continue to be offered until the 1880s.
The 1861 fire
On 14 April 1861, a fire broke out which completely destroyed the Auditorium and stage. Reconstruction, under the supervision of Josep Oriol Mestres and in the same style as the first building, took just one year, and the theatre reopened on 20 April 1862.
The Anarchist bomb attack of 1893
The Liceu's social function as the glittering showcase of Barcelona’s industrial and financial bourgeoisie made it a symbol of the oligarchy and a target for revolutionary movements of the day, notably the anarchists. On 7 November 1893, in the midst of the opening performance of the season Rossini’s Guillaume Tell, the anarchist Santiago Salvador threw two Orsini bombs into the stalls. Only one exploded, causing some twenty deaths.
The Second Spanish Republic nationalizes the Liceu
Following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), in a bid to protect the Liceu, the Republican authorities nationalized it and turned it into the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya. At the start of Franco’s dictatorship in 1939 it was returned to its former owners and the original management system was reinstated.