- The artistic project looks to the future and remembers the past with great titles, great voices and the opening of five new productions, three of them led by the Liceu.
- New productions of Franc Aleu’s Turandot, which opens the season, Lohengrin from Katharina Wagner and Il barbiere de Siviglia from Josef Ernst Köpplinger will be performed for the first time in the Liceu.
- Doña Francisquita, staged by Lluís Pasqual and Alcione, with musical direction from Jordi Savall, are two new co-productions from the Teatro de la Zarzuela and the Opéra Comique de Paris, respectively.
- Carmen from Calixto Bieito and Aida with stage design from Mestres Cabanes, are two of the Liceu’s most emblematic productions and feature the most prestigious cast to celebrate its 20 years.
- A celebration of great voices: Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov, Javier Camarena, Juan Diego Flórez, Joyce DiDonato, Anita Rachvelishvili, Roberto Alagna, Klaus Florian Vogt, Clémentine Margaine, Gregory Kunde, Jorge de León and Myrtò Papatanasiu, among many others.
- Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci comes to the Liceu in one of the most acclaimed productions by the Royal Opera House, directed by Michieletto, with the voices of Alagna and Pankratova, and conducted by the maestro Nánási.
- McVicar presents La clemenza di Tito, Mozart’s final opera, which stars Fanale and Nurgeldiyev as Tito, and Remigio, Papatanasiu and Goikoetxea as Vitellia.
- María Pagés, in co-production with the Liceu, presents De Scheherazade a Yo, Carmen, a new interpretation of the gypsy tobacco factory worker, in which the choreographer stays clear of ‘folklorisms’.
- Major successes in the world of dance: the English National Ballet returns with Giselle by Akram Khan, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens portrays a journey from the shadows of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater to the apotheosis of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.
- Mahler’s Second Symphony, “Resurrection”, will be the main symphony concert, which the Orchestra and the Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu will perform in the theatre, as part of the Memorial Pau Casals, under the direction of Josep Pons.
- Along this line, there will also be a series of symphony concerts held throughout the territory and chamber music will take on a relevant role, with exhilarating projects from the Orchestra itself, that can be enjoyed both in the theatre and in Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia.
- Diàlegs de Tirant i Carmesina, a chamber opera by Joan Magrané depicting the protagonists of Matorell’s novel, can be seen in the Foyer del Teatre in collaboration with Òpera de Butxaca.
- Two new productions from El Petit Liceu: El monstre al laberint, a participative opera by Dove, with stage direction by Paco Azorín and La Barcarola by Juan Pablo Mendiola, a musical-visual experience for young children.
- The exhibition, “Opera: passion, power and politics” comes to CaixaForum Barcelona on 17th September. An original idea from the Victoria and Albert Museum, adapted and produced by ”la Caixa”, which, in collaboration with the Liceu, tells of the evolution of the genre of opera through an immersive experience.
- To mark 20 years since its re-opening, discounts of up to 25% will be offered on subscriptions for regular seats and 35% on popular subscriptions. These are new features which will improve accessibility to the opera, to the theatre and to the new season.
- Those under 35 years of age may continue to enjoy pre-release tickets at € 15 each and, in addition to this, they will be able to purchase tickets at a special price of € 30 for all titles, a fortnight before each performance premiers.
Barcelona, 12th March 2019. The president of the Fundació del Gran Teatre del Liceu, Salvador Alemany, the managing director Valentí Oviedo, the artistic director Christina Scheppelmann and the music director Josep Pons have today, in the Foyer, presented the new season of 20 years since the re-opening of the theatre, an artistic project that appeals to the rebirth of an institution which is a reference in southern Europe and a symbol of Catalonia. The new season also reclaims the fundamental role of opera within our society, using the slogan The power of the opera. A power which, together with the people, helped the theatre to rise from the ashes in 1999.
The new season 2019/20 anticipates a budget of 48.3 million euros, an increase of 3.6% compared to the previous season, which totalled 46.6 million euros. The artistic project includes a total of eleven titles that remember the past and look to the future of the Liceu in a season of spectacular productions and great voices – ten staged operas and one in a concert version of ten composers –. Dance remains a pillar of the theatre, with three leading ballets, adding to six concerts and recitals, eight shows from El Petit Liceu and activities in the Foyer. These include a new project of chamber opera, with Diàlegs de Tirant i Carmesina by Joan Magrané, based on the protagonists from Joanot Martorell’s novel and with stage direction from Marc Rosich. There will also be the regular programme of Off Liceu and the Liceu’s chambers.
A celebration of opera, where five new productions will be shown with the participation of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, three of them led by the theatre, which will be premiered worldwide next season, as in the case of Puccini’s Turandot. Following the memorable inauguration on 7th October 1999, the Liceu will again don their finest to inaugurate a new version of Turandot from the visual creator Franc Aleu, a performance which retraces history and looks to the future, with a high-tech project under the musical direction of the maestro Josep Pons. An inauguration to remember, with the greatest voices: Iréne Theorin and Lise Lindstrom —who will perform her debut in the Liceu— as Princess Turandot, and Jorge de León and Gregory Kunde as Calaf. The Liceu also captains two new co-productions: Lohengrin by Wagner, with stage direction by Katharina Wagner, great-granddaughter of the composer –a project developed together with the Leipzig Opera that features the voices of Klaus Florian Vogt and Evelyn Herlitzius—, and an interpretation of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia by Josef Ernst Köpplinger, co-produced by Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz (Munich) and the Théâtre Capitole (Toulouse).
The great voices, a reference in the history of the theatre, will be a leitmotiv in this celebration of the re-opening of the Liceu, which is a symbol with more than 170 years of history. Forming part of this, Anna Netrebko, Juan Diego Flórez, Javier Camarena, Roberto Alagna, Yusif Eyvazov, Joyce DiDonato, Clémentine Margaine, Anna Pirozzi, Anita Rachvelishvili, Angela Meade, Yonghoon Lee, Myrtò Papatanasiu, Evelyn Herlitzius, Klaus Florian Vogt, Iréne Theorin, Roberto Alagna, Elena Pankratova, Carmela Remigio and Varduhi Abrahamyan, among many others, will take to the stage throughout the ‘20 years’ season to share unique, once-in-a-lifetime moments with their audiences. This also applies to the stage and musical directors, with Henrick Nánási, Philippe Auguin, Patrick Summers, Josep Pons and Jordi Savall, from the musical side, and Damiano Michieletto, David McVicar, Katharina Wagner, Calixto Bieito and Lluís Pasqual from the dramatic side. Lluís Pasqual is directing a new production of Amadeu Vives’ Doña Francisquita which is co-produced by the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid where it will be premiered in May and will then go on to the Liceu in November 2019 with the voices of María José Moreno, Elena Sancho Perego, Celso Albelo and Airam Hernández, and will be conducted by Óliver Díaz. Alcione by Marin Marais is the other new co-production that will be performed for the first time in Spain in May 2020. Louise Motay creates an imaginative set, drawing inspiration from circus arts to portray this tragédie lyrique. It is conducted by the internationally renowned Jordi Savall, who will direct the staged opera in the Liceu. The occasion will mark the first time this baroque opera is performed in the theatre and will be co-produced by the Opéra Comique de Paris.
The new season, that of 20 years since the re-opening of the Liceu after the devastating fire, also takes another look at the most emblematic productions of the theatre, such as Verdi’s opera Aida, the most performed opera in the Liceu’s history – 456 times – that returns with a memorable mise-en-scène, held dear by the public and subscribers, which includes set designer Mestres Cabanes’ legendary curtains. The musical direction is led by Gustavo Gimeno with the voices of Angela Meade, who makes her debut in the Liceu, Anna Pirozzi and Clémentine Margaine who will also sing the acclaimed role of Carmen and will be staged by Calixto Bieito. Patrick Summers takes charge of the musical direction with other leading voices such as Anita Rachvelishvili, who debuts in the Liceu, and Varduhi Abrahamian. An iconic stage production which premiered 20 years ago in the summer of 1999 in Peralada, and which has been performed not only in the Liceu, but also on the great international stages.
The opera season will also feature Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci in a large-scale production from the Royal Opera House, La Monnaie, Opera Australia and The Göteborg Opera. A double production from Damiano Michieletto through two of the most emblematic operas in the verism genre, in which the Italian director combines the two titles using visual resources and makes a foray into some of the characters, from Cavalleria rusticana over to Pagliacci and vice versa. The maestro Nánási will be in charge of the musical side of the production, with voices from Roberto Alagna and Elena Pankratova. David McVicar also joins the season with Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, the composer’s final opera, which has only been seen 25 times in the Liceu’s history. The production of this opera seria was created for the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 2011 and comes to the Liceu with the great voices of Paolo Fanale and Dovlet Nurgeldiyev as Tito and Myrtò Papatanasiu, Carmela Remigio and Vanessa Goikoetxea as Vitellia, and is conducted by Auguin. Joyce DiDonato will portray Rossini’s Semiramide with Levy Sekgapane as Idreno, resulting in a prestigious double-act for this opera, based on a piece by Voltaire and last performed in the Liceu in 2005.
The symbolism of the Second Symphony of Mahler, “Resurrection”, will be the epicentre of the symphony section, with one single concert being held in the Liceu as an emblem of expectation and renewed hope, like the phoenix bird rising from the ashes. Premiered in 1885, it is the first symphony of the Austrian composer to incorporate both a chorus and soloist, in this case Chen Reiss as the soprano and Karen Cargill as the mezzo. The theatre’s Orchestra, directed by the maestro Josep Pons, will also perform a series of symphony concerts throughout the territory to ensure everyone can participate in the 20th anniversary of the Liceu. The celebration will continue with the Liceu’s chambers, which will take on a role in keeping with the 20th anniversary season, with more than twenty exhilarating projects developed by the Orchestra itself, which will not only be shown in the Liceu, but also on stages around the city of Barcelona and the whole of Catalonia.
The concerts and recitals join in with the greatest voices: the concert of Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov – a concert not included in the annual subscription –, Juan Diego Flórez and, following the success in Peralada and of the inauguration of the season with I Puritani, the recital by Javier Camarena. As always, at Christmas, children and adults can enjoy ‘dreams of sand’, an artistic performance which uses sand to interpret Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol – with music and piano by Albert Guinovart – and the 57th edition of the International Tenor Viñas Contest which, like every year, discovers the operatic voices of the future.
The Liceu’s new season presents three ballets from three internationally acclaimed companies, with the return of the English National Ballet directed by Tamara Rojo, that captivated the public in 2015 with Swan Lake. In 2020 it returns with Giselle, choreographed by Akram Khan, that reimagines the classic ballet in a contemporary key with a musical score from Vincenzo Lamagna, and recreates the original score by Adolphe Adam. Khan’s reinterpretation has been awarded as one of the best European choreography performances, and the production includes stage design and costumes by Tim Yip, who collaborates with the film-maker Ang Lee. The Liceu, loyal to its commitment to dance, presents a new production from the choreographer María Pagés, who will be premiering De Scheherazade a Yo, Carmen, understood to be one of the best contemporary flamenco performances of the moment, and features the dramaturgy of El Arbi El Harti. Through her choreography, María Pagés portrays the two principal characters as two women who walk without fear, are proud of their sexual identities and are detached from their conventional roles. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, directed by Ivan Cavallari, is the last of the three projects, with a double programme that takes us from the darkness of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with choreography by Edward Clug, to the apotheosis of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony by Uwe Scholz.
Educational Service and El Petit Liceu
After premiering two new productions during the 2018/19 season, El Petit Liceu continues to update its selection, with projects that take children of all age groups into consideration, in line with the restructuring of the Educational Service announced in May 2018. The 2019/20 season presents two of its own productions. The first is La Barcarola by Juan Pablo Mendiola, which answers to the musical awareness of young children through the human voice, its evolution from the natural state right up to the operatic voice. This offering, which will be shown in the Foyer in May, plays with both a musical side and the incorporation of other arts, such as set design, acting and visual art, among others. This show focuses on the initial growth of the child at the beginning of their formal education, from 3 to 5 years old.
The second new production is El monstre al laberint by Jonathan Dove, a participatory opera which joins together the professional, amateur and educational worlds, allowing participation in a stage production which considers artistic experience and personal growth. This new show, which began as a collaboration with the Consorci d’Educació Barcelona, is aimed at adolescents from 12 years and upwards. The relevance of this show and its importance in the remodelling of the educational project of the Liceu is that it hands an important role to the spectator and also allows the school pupils to be at the heart of the performance. It lets them participate actively in the performance from the beginning, and up to the four performances staged in the Liceu. Similar projects have made a difference throughout Europe, such as in the case of, for example, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Aix-en-Provence Festival and recently in the Festival Grec de Barcelona. El monstre al laberint can be seen in the Liceu, staged by Paco Azorín and with the participation of la Orquesta del Conservatori del Liceu, the Anton Bruckner Choir and la Coral Càrmina.
El Petit Liceu completes the season with a total of eight shows, including classics such as Els músics de Bremen by Poire Vallvé, La petita flauta màgica and Allegro Vivace by Joan Font (Comediants). Furthermore, its two most recent shows will remain in the programme: El jove barber de Sevilla by Danilo Rubeca and co-produced by ASLICO (Associazione Lirica e Concertista)- COMO and Mans a l’òpera by Xavi Mateu. The Liceu will also maintain its commitment to IT Dansa, the young company from the Institut del Teatre, directed by Catherine Allard, that will present four choreographies in the Teatre-Auditori Sant Cugat: Kaash, The prom, In memoriam and Whim Fractured Fairytale.
Further activities for the 20th anniversary
The new season will not only feature shows from the theatre’s programme but also other complementary activities to radiate opera around Barcelona. “Opera: passion, power and politics” is an original exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum, in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, showing the evolution of opera from its origins up to the present day, through an immersive experience. The Gran Teatre del Liceu collaborates with ”la Caixa” in producing this great exhibition, which has already been in London and which comes to CaixaForum Madrid and CaixaForum Barcelona on 25th April and 17th September respectively. The exhibition is the first that explores opera on a grand scale and that transports the spectator to eight opening nights in eight European cities and tells of the interrelation between the social, political and cultural landscapes of the cities in which they were created. A result of the close collaboration between ”la Caixa” and the Gran Teatre del Liceu, “Opera: passion, power and politics” will incorporate, for the exhibition in the CaixaForum centres, the city of Barcelona, and the premier of the opera Pepita Jiménez by Isaac Albéniz in 1896, in the theatre. An example of modernist Barcelona; a key moment in our cultural history.