Palau de la Musica Catalana

Palau de la Música Catalana

This is probably the most luxurious concert hall in Europe. It was built by architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner, one of the most prominent members of the Catalan modernista style, at the highest point of his artistic career. Being a very well-educated person Domenech was interested in archaeology, literature, publishing business, arts history and architecture; his views, reflected in numerous articles and essays were a great influence to the consolidation and acceptance of the new artistic style – Art Nouveau, which was called Modernisme in Barcelona. Domenech took an active part in the political life of his region, for instance, he was among the founders of several nationalistic organizations, as well as the Catalonian Union – political party that in many ways facilitated the granting of autonomy to the present day Catalonia. No wonder that he was invited to become the architect of the state-of-the-art concert hall meant for the choral society.

The construction took place between 1905 and 1908 and was financed by donations. The building received not only the year’s best project award, but became a signature site of Barcelona. Soon it was used not only by the choir and turned into the main concert hall of the city and of the entire Catalonia. You will understand why it is called a palace when you’ll see the fantastic double facade located in a narrow street in La Ribera neighborhood of Ciutat Vella (Old City). Tourists have to raise their heads to see this great masterpiece in details. Rich decorations of the facade combine the traditional Spanish elements with that of Arabic architecture: here you can note numerous columns with unusual capitals, statues (including those of Wagner, Bach, Beethoven and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina), bizarre towers, mosaics, plasterwork and decorative balconies. Not an inch of the surface remained unattended.

And if the exterior is strikingly impressive, the interior doubles that effect. The celebration of the Catalan Modernism is everywhere, in each lamp, staircase and ornament. The highlight of the very convert hall for 2,200 people. This is the only hall in Europe that can be completely illuminated by the daylight. By the evening its ceiling turns into enchanted night sky. Its mosaic dome is covered in predominantly golden tesserae (the Sun) surrounded by the shades of blue (the Moon and the sky). The hall is decorated with statues of Valkyries, Greek muses and winged stallions which are seemingly daring each other’s beauty. Catalonian flag is placed in the center of the stage.

The hall now regularly holds music performances, concerts of classical, jazz and pop music. Being famous for its outstanding acoustics, this hall has seen performances by such great musicians as Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich and Montserrat Caballe. Concert ticket will give you an amazing opportunity to enjoy some excellent music and to see the evening lights that make the building even more impressive. During the day there is a guided excursion every half an hour to tour the palace (available in English, French, Spanish and Italian).

Address: Carrer Palau de la Musica, 4-6
Opening hours: daily guided excursions every half an hour 10 am – 3.30 pm, Easter and July 10 am – 6 pm, August 9 am – 8 pm
How to reach: metro Urquinaona, Jaume I
Coordinates: 41.387579, 2.175297