Gran Teatre del Liceu, or simply Liceu (in Catalan) or Liceo (in Spanish) is an opera house on Barcelona’s La Rambla avenue. The building was inaugurated for its use in 1847 and for the first hundred years it held the honor of being Europe’s biggest opera house.
The history of Gran Teatre del Liceu is rather dramatic in nature. In 1861 the building experienced its first fire – however being quickly rebuilt with the help of architect Josep Oriol Mestres, it was soon able to continue on its course. During the season opening in 1893 the opera was invaded by a group of anarchists who threw bombs into the audience, killing several people. After its reopening in 1894 the seats where the bombs had exploded were left unattended for decades.
During the Spanish civil war (1936 – 1939) the theatre was nationalized and the name was changed into Liceu Opera House – the National Theatre of Catalonia, during when the opera showings were suspended. The ownership of Liceu was rightly returned to the original owners after the war in 1939 and the seasons were re-initiated.
In 1994 Liceu experienced its second fire that originated from a standard routine repair. In order to properly reconstruct the building and maintain the old parts that hadn’t been destroyed by the fires, the opera house was made public and handed over to the Liceu Great Theater Foundation. The inauguration of the new opera house took place in 1999 with Puccini’s Turandot; an opera that was supposed to be the next one in the program before the 1994 fire.
Many believe that due to its dark path in history, the opera house is cursed with bad luck. According to an urban legend, the theatre was built over the remains of an execution site from the Middle Ages and is haunted by ghosts and uninvited guests…
By Culture Trip Barcelona
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