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Lisi Andrés | 5 February 2018

The 1st Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival gets underway

The first classical music festival jointly programmed by the city’s leading institutions.‎

The 1st Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival gets underway

An initiative aimed at all members of the public, featuring leading international ‎names such as Valery Gergiev, Kent Nagano, Plácido Domingo, Diana Damrau, Daniil Trifonov ‎and Matthias Goerne. It features some forty performances in emblematic settings in ‎Barcelona, all with free admission.

On Monday February 5th, Barcelona Obertura presented the Barcelona Obertura Spring ‎Festival, due to be held from March 4th to 17th 2019: the first of its kind to be jointly organised ‎by the city’s key music institutions. The initiative fostered by the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the ‎Palau de la Música Catalana and L’Auditori, is also supported by Ibercamera and promoted by ‎the association Barcelona Global. This city-wide, dynamic, cross-cutting project, aimed at and accessible ‎to all members of the public, also has the support of Barcelona City Council. ‎

The festival’s programme of events has been established as an urban cultural attraction, ‎offering visitors a distinctive insight into Barcelona through a new experience that invites ‎people to take a second closer look at the city. It represents a big step forward for Barcelona ‎Obertura, an initiative founded in July 2015 aimed at putting Barcelona’s classical music on the ‎world map and transforming the city into a destination for music tourism.‎

The festival’s presentation took place at L’Auditori, with the participation of the Chairman of ‎Barcelona Obertura, Ramon Agenjo; the project director, Víctor Medem; Barcelona Global’s ‎CEO, Mateu Hernández; the director general and artistic director of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, ‎Roger Guasch and Christina Scheppelmann; the director and assistant artistic director of the ‎Palau de la Música Catalana, Joan Oller and Víctor Garcia de Gomar; the manager and artistic ‎director of L’Auditori, Jordi Tort and Robert Brufau; and the director of Ibercamera, ‎Montserrat Crespo.‎

‎"This festival is an unparalleled form of publicity for the city of Barcelona and, very ‎importantly, has emerged from civil society. It is a festival organised for all members of the ‎public by these institutions and it will help to put Barcelona on the map as an international ‎destination for cultural tourism,” said Ramon Agenjo, Chairman of Barcelona Obertura.‎

The programme
Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival will be presenting 14 concerts and performances featuring ‎major international names such as Valery Gergiev, Kent Nagano, Jonathan Nott, Kazushi Ono, ‎Josep Pons, Jordi Savall, Plácido Domingo, Diana Damrau, Matthias Goerne, Carlos Alvarez, ‎Joel Prieto, Bejun Mehta, Daniil Trifonov, Grigory Sokolov, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Leif-Ove ‎Andsnes, Tabea Zimmermann, Jean-Guihen Queyras, RIAS Kammerchor, the Mariinsky ‎Theatre Symphony Orchestra, the Gustav-Mahler Youth Orchestra, Claus Guth and the ‎soprano Irene Théorin. In each case, the corresponding institution’s resident or regular ‎orchestras and choirs will be closely involved, such as the Orfeó Català, the Barcelona ‎Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra and the Gran Teatre del Liceu choir. ‎

New productions will be premiered at the festival, like the version of Beethoven’s 9th ‎Symphony by the Agrupació Teatral Sr. Serrano and Les Vespres by Joan Pau Pujol, sung by ‎Jordi Savall and the Jove Capella Reial de Catalunya. Another major incentive is the selection ‎of works to be performed at the festival, with emblematic choices like Stravinsky’s The Rite ‎of Spring, Mahler’s 3rd and 5th Symphonies, Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Requiem, Schubert’s ‎three major song cycles (The Beautiful Miller’s Daughter, Winterreise and Schwanengesang), ‎Handel’s Rodelinda, Rachmaninov’s concerts for piano and orchestra and Prokofiev’s cantata, ‎Alexander Nevsky. ‎

A city overflowing with concerts
The festival organisers will coordinate some forty different performances, held in several of ‎the city’s emblematic buildings (Casa Batlló, the Museu Nacional and Fabra i Coats) and also in ‎its municipal concert halls and establishments. For these concerts, all with free admission for ‎the public, a special format has been envisaged that breaks away from the usual conventions ‎associated with them. This entails the creation of a network of music across the city designed ‎to engage all members of the public‎. ‎

The performers will be chosen by each corresponding institution’s artistic director and a ‎committee will be formed to select the Barcelona musicians who answer the public call to ‎take part in the festival. Different generations of performers, various types of formations ‎and all genres of classical music will be featured. A network of volunteers will also be ‎appointed through a public invitation for collaborators to help in the production and ‎organisation of the concerts. ‎

The Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival is yet another step on the road by Barcelona Obertura ‎to promote the city’s programmes of classical music worldwide and to position Barcelona as a ‎world destination for music and cultural tourism. ‎

The festival’s programme of music will be funded by each of the institutions taking part and ‎with financial aid from Barcelona City Council through the Barcelona Institute for Culture. ‎

Three seasons
Since Barcelona Obertura’s launch in July 2015, three seasons of music have been organised, ‎with groups of events to mark key moments in the year. They combine to form a fascinating ‎programme of concerts with a strong international appeal. For the past year, Barcelona ‎Obertura has also had its own organisational structure and budget. ‎
Over this period, with the support of Turisme de Barcelona (the Barcelona Tourism Office), ‎six international press trips have been organised (December 2015, April 2016 and January, ‎March, May and October 2017) with 20 international music journalists in attendance, mainly ‎from Germany, the UK and France. Likewise, the festival has been featured in the press ‎about twenty times. Barcelona Obertura has also taken part in a promotional roadshow ‎organised by Turisme de Barcelona and the Catalan Tourism Agency in Asia and it will ‎participate in another in the United States this February. ‎

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