Barcelona Liceu Opera House

Sunday, April 13th, Barcelona

It is Sunday and quiet has once again returned to our narrow-streeted neighborhood.  The shops are closed and the streets are empty.  It is hard to believe that just the previous evening it had been crowded with people out laughing, socializing, walking and stopping off in their local bar for a drink and a few tapas.

A young girl was wearing a bridal veil, and carrying a bouquet of flowers.  She wore a sign written in Spanish, or more likely Catalan, that I could not read.  She came up to me and gave me a “free” hug.  I found out she is getting married on the 26th of this month and she and her friends were out celebrating.  Perhaps the local version of a bachelorette party.  I wished her well and many years of happiness with her future husband.

This morning there is little evidence to show for the revelry.

A short ten minute walk takes us back to the main tourist street, La Rambla.  It is here that the Liceu Opera House is located.

Gran Teatre del Liceu

The building originally housed a convent, but was taken over by the Spanish army who were later mandated to promote musical education.  Dating back to 1847, the Liceu has withstood and been rebuilt following two fires, a bombing, a civil war, financial crisis, expansion, and both management and ownership changes.

When it opened in 1847 the Liceu was the biggest opera house in Europe with 3,500 seats. After the first fire in 1861, it was rebuilt by the architect Josep Oriol Mestres.

Plays, concerts and other theatrical productions have been seen here.  But opera is what it is best known for and the best, most talented in the world have performed on this stage.

“Most of the performed operas were from the Italian and German schools of 19th century: VerdiWagnerbelcanto authors and in more recent times PucciniRichard Strauss and Mozart are included.” ~ Wikipedia

Our guided tour started at 10:00 am.  We had signed up for an English-speaking guide. We were joined by people from Holland and France who were comfortable with the English version.  Once again I am reminded how other countries are superior in their language abilities.

The Grand Theater

The grand theater, shaped like a horseshoe, today holds 2,292 people and is ringed by five additional balconied floors overlooking the stage, each level with ornate fronts. We were asked to not take any pictures of the stage and sets.

Tiered sides

Tiered sides

Ornate decorations on box stalls

Ornate decorations on box stalls

From the stage, looking back and up

From the stage, looking back and up

Ceiling details


From the top balcony looking straight out at the ceiling


From the bottom level, center of the room, looking straight up

Main Staircase

At the top of the main staircase leading to the Mirrored Salon is a sculpture of the “Muse of Music”

Grand staircase from the entry lobby

Grand staircase from the entry lobby


“Muse of Music” statue

Mirrored Salon

Located on the first floor above the entry, this is one of several “circulation” areas used by the audience during intermissions.


Around the ceiling are sayings referring to the arts and music


The walls are mirrored interspersed with ornate columns

GRATITUDE MOMENT:  Today I am grateful for how quickly Barcelona has become familiar.  I can walk the streets in the Barri Gothic with ease, knowing I can find my way back to our small apartment.  I can ride the color-coded metro to get across town to explore new places.  I have visited many of the top sites in the city and spent enough time at each to feel satisfied and content.

About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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4 Responses to Barcelona Liceu Opera House

  1. Laura says:

    I love visiting opera houses in Europe – they are always so gorgeous, and this one looks like no exception!


  2. Laura, it was quite exquisite inside. I’m sorry we were not able to attend an opera or concert here while we were in town. I’m sure it would have been memorable.



    I enjoyed seeing the Opera House.  Thank you— Mom 


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