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Aleix Palau | 1 March 2021

L’Auditori de Barcelona, the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Gran Teatre del Liceu present a new ‎edition of the Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival

L’Auditori de Barcelona, the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Gran Teatre del Liceu ‎present a new edition of the Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival, organised by Barcelona’s ‎leading music institutions together with Barcelona Global and supported by Barcelona City ‎Council through the Regional Department of Tourism and Creative Industries and the ‎Barcelona Institute of Culture (ICUB).‎

L’Auditori de Barcelona, the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Gran Teatre del Liceu present a new ‎edition of the Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival

The OBC will be performing with Núria Rial, Sol Gabetta and Elim Chan, and there will also be ‎a recital by baritone André Schuen and pianist Daniel Heide and the Jove Capella Reial de ‎Catalunya at L’Auditori de Barcelona. ‎

In an international context marked by restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, the three ‎organisers will host thirteen concerts featuring artists such as Gustavo Dudamel, Josep Pons, ‎Elim Chan, Raphaël Pichon, Gregory Kunde, Krassimira Stoyanova, Andrè Schuen, Núria Rial, ‎Sol Gabetta, Grigory Sokolov, Daniil Trifonov, Cuarteto Quiroga and the Jove Capella Reial de ‎Catalunya, among others. The free concert series that had been planned for the 2020 edition ‎as a show of commitment to local artists and the local public will be rescheduled.‎

The Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival, whose programme has been planned in partnership ‎with the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Palau de la Música Catalana and L’Auditori de Barcelona in ‎collaboration with Ibercamera, the Liceu Conservatory and the Orquestra Simfònica Camera ‎Musicae, will be holding its second edition between 5 and 28 March this year. The festival will ‎resume following the forced cancellation in 2020, with no changes to the founding aims of ‎continuing to work towards positioning Barcelona as a city of culture and music. The initiative, ‎which was initially designed by the above-mentioned institutions together with Barcelona ‎Global, is backed by Barcelona City Council through the Regional Department of Tourism and ‎Creative Industries and the ICUB and financed through the tourist tax. The second edition of ‎the Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival will feature 13 concerts at the main music venues.‎

At the same time, and with the aim of bringing music closer to all residents of Barcelona, we ‎see the return of Obertura City+, a series of 27 free concerts spread out over the ten districts ‎of the city that will resurrect the three main themes proposed for 2020 (The Universe of ‎Robert Gerhard, European Fusion, and Beethoven and his 32 Piano Sonatas), a macro-event ‎organised in conjunction with the Maria Canals International Music Competition. These ‎concerts, which had been planned for the 2020 edition, further consolidate Barcelona ‎Obertura’s commitment to the city’s local talent at a time that is proving very difficult for ‎artists. The events will be held in 20 different venues, which this year will also include CASA ‎SEAT.‎

Over 40 organisations are involved in the festival, which is preceded by the success of its first ‎edition, which was held from 4 to 17 March 2019 and whose 50 concerts attracted more than ‎‎33,800 people. This year’s edition will feature 40 chamber music events adapted to the ‎artistic requirements made necessary by the Covid-19 pandemic.‎

Several of the events in the 2021 festival will take place at L’Auditori de Barcelona, with two ‎performances by the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC). On the weekend of 13 and 14 ‎March, Francesc Prat and soprano Núria Rial will lead the OBC with a programme devoted to ‎Robert Gerhard (commemorating the 50th anniversary of his death) and Frederic Mompou.‎

Sol Gabetta on the cello and Elim Chan as conductor will in turn be the stars of the ‎programme Utopia, which includes the eponymous work by Sofía Martínez, as ‎well as Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Mozart’s Symphony ‎No. 40, and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 (“Classical”).‎

Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin, featuring Andrè Schuen and Daniel Heide and ‎the Jove Capella Reial de Catalunya under the baton of Lluís Vilamajó, complete L’Auditori de ‎Barcelona’s programme for the occasion.‎

The Gran Teatre del Liceu will host three events. On 5 March Josep Pons will conduct the ‎theatre’s orchestra in a programme featuring Hungarian and Slavic dances by Brahms, ‎Dvořák, Kodály, Bartók and Borodin.‎

The Spanish premiere of Lessons in Love and Violence – an opera by George ‎Benjamin and Martin Crimp – featuring staging by Katie Mitchell and the voices of Stéphane ‎Degout, Georgia Jarman, Daniel Okulitch and Peter Hoare, will be conducted by Josep Pons.‎

The final operatic touch will be provided by the Bayerische Staatsoper’s new production of ‎‎Othello conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and featuring a luxury cast starring ‎Gregory Kunde, Krassimira Stoyanova and Carlos Álvarez in the lead roles.‎

On this occasion, the Palau de la Música Catalana is concentrating on chamber music. Staying ‎faithful to his commitment to this modernist venue, Grigory Sokolov will perform Chopin’s ‎Quatre Polonaises and Rachmaninoff’s Ten Preludes, Op. 23.‎

The National Music Prize winning Cuarteto Quiroga returns to Barcelona to perform its show ‎‎Pathos, featuring works by Mozart, Berg and Beethoven. The French ensemble ‎Café Zimmermann, for its part, will perform Bach’s complete Brandenburg ‎Concertos under the baton of Céline Frisch and Pablo Valetti, while Raphäel Pichon ‎and his Ensemble Pygmalion will provide their interpretation of one of the most iconic works ‎of all time: the Matthew Passion.‎

The festival will also include another outstanding piano event presented by Ibercamera: ‎Daniil Trifonov will perform a programme entirely devoted to the composer from Leipzig at ‎the Palau de la Música Catalana.‎
Finally, the Orquestra Camera Musicae, which has been a member of Barcelona Obertura ‎since 2020, will give two performances of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, with ‎Guillermo García Calvo as guest conductor and Pablo Sáinz Villegas on the guitar. The concert ‎will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the premiere of this masterpiece for guitar in this ‎same hall.‎

Obertura City+: a Model of Commitment
This year’s festival includes 27 free concerts as part of the Obertura City+ series, once again ‎with special support from Barcelona City Council. The concerts, which will be spread out ‎throughout the city’s ten districts, will resurrect the three main themes that could not be ‎realised in 2020 edition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.‎

This rescheduling is proof of Barcelona Obertura’s commitment to local musicians at a time ‎when constant concert cancellations are seriously harming self-employed workers.‎

‎• The Universe of Robert Gerhard: Six concerts dedicated to the great ‎Catalan composer have been scheduled as part of the events to be held on the occasion of ‎the 50th anniversary of his death. These will focus both on his own works and on those of ‎other similar composers.‎
‎• European Fusion: This heading encompasses those concerts that, ‎instead of focusing on the great European pieces of the last few centuries, seek to look at ‎lesser-known works of the Old Continent’s musical legacy.‎
‎• Beethoven and his 32 Piano Sonatas: On the weekend of 4, 5 and 6 ‎June, several venues in Montjuïc (the National Museum, the Miró Foundation, CaixaForum ‎and the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, as well as the Liceu Conservatory) will host ten concerts ‎featuring performances of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas by young pianists, most of whom ‎have trained in Catalonia. These essential works in the history of music had not been ‎scheduled to be performed in full in Barcelona for 50 years. The series is a joint initiative with ‎the Maria Canals International Music Competition.‎

Fahmi Alqhai, Llŷr Williams, Noelia Rodiles, Marc Heredia, Barcelona Clarinet Players, Cosmos ‎Quartet, Quartet Altimira and Josep-Ramon Olivé are some of the most notable artists taking ‎part in the programme, which also includes groups from the Gran Teatre del Liceu and ‎L’Auditori de Barcelona resident ensembles, as well as Liceu Conservatory and Catalonia ‎College of Music (ESMUC) students. It features 29 concerts with around 80 musicians in 20 ‎different venues. Some of these venues, such as the National Art Museum of Catalonia ‎‎(MNAC), Casa Batlló, the Miró Foundation, La Model prison, the Auditori de Sant Martí and ‎the Zona Nord, Pere Pruna, La Sedeta and Fort Pienc civic centres, also took part in 2019.‎

CASA SEAT is joining as a new venue this year, and those that signed up for the first time in ‎‎2020 – the Tàpies Foundation, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), ‎CaixaForum and the Can Basté, La Sagrera and Matas Ramis civic centres – are also taking ‎part.‎
All the concerts in the Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival and the Obertura City+ series will ‎be held in strict compliance with the health restrictions stipulated by the relevant authorities. ‎Entry will be staggered, and attendees will have their temperature taken and will be given ‎hand sanitiser to use.‎

Tickets to the festival are available to purchase from the website

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