Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Barcelona: A Night at the Opera & Bar Cañete

The Liceu Opera House Barcelona, locally known as Gran Teatre del Liceu or simply the Liceu, was founded on Barcelona’s Rambla in 1847, and is the largest horseshoe-shaped opera theatre in Europe and the second largest in the world.  Built on the site of a former convent, the Liceu was designed to house the Music Conservatory and with the main purpose of creating a venue where high society could go to see opera, the star cultural attraction of the time. The Liceu soon became a Barcelona landmark, to such an extent that its destruction by the fire in 1994 sent shockwaves through Catalan society. The reconstruction project provided the Liceu building with highly advanced technical facilities and stage equipment, and faithfully restored the original splendour of one of the world's most well-known opera houses. Arriving for a special 3-hour 'Behind the Scenes Tour' of the opera house one afternoon, we were given in depth insight into the making of Daemon, the first opera of the season, and took the opportunity to buy tickets for the opening night. 

Rubinstein's 19th-century Russian masterpiece about the demon's love obsession with a mortal woman, the production showcases the spectacular scenic design of Hartmut Schörghofer who designed an enormous tunnel onstage connecting the different worlds, and at the back of which is a large inflatable sphere with a projector inside that creates multiple realities, and give clues to the different actions in the story, becoming a sphere of fire, an enormous watchful eye, a rotating earthly sphere or raging sandstorm. A spectacular opera, we walked around the corner to Bar Cañete for a late dinner, to reprise the sensational meal we had enjoyed there a few evenings before.

Inside The Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona's spectacular opera house on La Rambla 

The spectacular ceiling of the opera house

Egils Siliņš and Yuriy Mynenko playing the Devil and an Angel in Daemon © A. Bofill

The marble Neo-Classical central staircase with the sculpture “Muse of Music” 
by Venanci Vallmitjana, which has stood there since 1901

Rescued from the fire and painstakingly restored, The Hall of Mirrors is where everyone gathers at intermission for a glass of cava or champagne

Returning to Bar Cañete after the opera for a late dinner 

This time we sat in the more formal dining room with its dark wood tables, leather seating, 
soft lighting and sultry jazz tones

A glass of cold Santiago Ruiz Albariño

Bar Cañete honours Spain's history of bull fighting with a "bull room" where stuffed heads of past Barcelona bullring winners are displayed

Our waiter with his smart white jacket poured our wine and kept the tapas coming

2014 Bodegas Amézola de la Mora Rioja

Mossèn Cinto de Folgueroles flatbread with tomato

Bar Cañete special Lobster Croquettes 

Grilled Razor Clams

Handcut Jamón de Guijuelo

Deboned Oxtail topped with mashed potato

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