The Gran Teatre del Liceu was built in 1847 by Miquel Garriga i Roca on La Rambla and immediately became a symbol of the emerging Catalan bourgeoisie.
The Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house was built in 1847 by Miquel Garriga i Roca on the Rambla boulevard, and immediately became a symbol of the emerging Catalan middle-class.
Unlike other grand theatres of the period, it was not was paid for by the monarchy (which is why there is no royal box), but by private contributions, in exchange for the right to use boxes or stalls. It program soon began to concentrate on opera, and so it has continued to the present day.
In its more than 150 years of history it has suffered tragic accidents, like the fire of 1861 and the bomb flung by the anarchist Santiago Salvador in 1893, which caused some twenty deaths.
The fire of 1994, which completely destroyed the concert hall and the stage, was felt as a tragedy in Barcelona, and after a few weeks rebuilding work was already under way, which was completed five years later with a building that reproduces the ornamentation of the old theatre, maintaining its character as far as possible.
The reconstruction allowed the stage facilities to be extended and renovated and to provide them with the latest technology, with a revolving stage that permits scenery changes to be made with great agility or to stage three different works simultaneously.
After of the reconstruction, the theatre went into public ownership and currently belongs to the Generalitat Government of Catalonia, to the City Council of Barcelona, to the County Council of Barcelona and to the Spanish Ministry of Culture.
The auditorium, with an area of 1,869 square metres and 2,292 seats, distributed in the orchestra section and on five levels, make it one of the biggest opera houses in the world.
The façade, which survived the fire, does not reflect the ornamental richness of the interior, with many outstanding features like the spacious lobby with grand columns, the main stairs of marble, the Hall of the Mirrors and the decoration of the concert hall using gilded and polychromed plaster mouldings. The stage curtain is the work of the fashion designer Antoni Miró.
Each season the Liceu offers more than forty different shows, featuring the most important figures of contemporary opera (singers, conductors and stage directors).
It also programs concerts, dance, films, recitals and children’s shows. The theatre has a shop specializing in the world of music and art (a starting point for tours of the theatre), a small auditorium and a café.