Few cities can match the vitality of Barcelona and nowhere is this more evident than in its live arts scene. The stunning Palau de la Musica Catalana and the new Auditori de Barcelona have keen and critical audiences. They host some of the world’s greatest classical musicians, including Montserrat Caballe and Josep (Jose) Carreras, both of whom are barcelonins. Equally dynamic are the many exciting contemporary theatre and dance companies performing year round at indoor and outdoor venues. Modern music fans are well provided for at numerous rock, live jazz and salsa clubs, not to mention the buskers on La Rambla or in the squares of the Barri Gotic. A tradition of old Barcelona that continues to thrive is its brash, glittering dance halls.
- Classical Music
Barcelona’s Modernista Palau de la Musica Catalana is one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls, with its stunning interior decor and world-renowned acoustic. Also inspiring is the Auditori de Barcelona, opened in 1999 to give the city two modern halls for large-scale and chamber concerts. Its reputation was considerably bolstered when it became the home of the Orquestra Simfonica de Barcelona.
Musical life suffered a setback when the Liceu opera house burned down in 1994. Fortunately, the city had enough credit in the bank of operatic excellence to ensure that its reputation remained undiminished. Restoration was completed in 1999, and the Liceu is now backing in operation at full-octave level.
- Theatre and Dance
Worth seeing are Catalan contemporary theatre groups such as Els Comediants or La Cubana whose original style combines a thrilling melange of theatre, music, mime and elements from traditional Mediterranean fiestas.
The Mercat de les Flors, a converted former flower market in Montjuic, is an exciting theatre presenting high-quality productions of classic and modern plays in Catalan. The new Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, next to the Auditori de Barcelona, is another fine showcase for Catalan drama.
The main venue for classical ballet is the Liceu opera house. There are also many contemporary dance companies and regular performances are staged at the Mercat de les Flors in Montjuic.
- Cafes, Bars and Clubs
Among Barcelona’s most famous modern sights are the hi-tech designer bars built in the prosperous 1980s, for example the Mirablau, which looks over the city. The Torres de Avila, in the Poble Espanyol, is the height of post-Modernism.
Otto Zutz has regular DJs and the less chic but still fun Apolo has live music. La Paloma is a fine dance hall complete with a 1904 interior and its own orchestra.
Two of the best-known bars are in the old city: Boadas for cocktails and El Xampanyet for sparkling wine and tapas. El Bosc de la Fades is the café of the wax museum and is imaginatively decorated like a fairy’s woodland grotto.
- Rock, Jazz and World Music
Big Names like David Byrne and Paul McCartney have performed at Razzmatazz. In summer, festivals and open-air concerts are held around the city. Jazz venues include the Harlem Jazz Club and Jamboree, and salsa fans will enjoy a quick slink down to Antilla Barcelona.
- Amusement Park
In summer, Barcelona’s giant amusement park on the summit of Tibidabo is usually open till the early hours at weekends, but also busy on other days. It is even more fun if you travel there by tram, funicular or cable car.
The Undoubted kings of sport in Catalonia are FC Barcelona, known as Barca. They have the largest football stadium in Europe, Camp Nou, and a fanatical following. Barcelona also has a high-ranking basketball team.
Source by Kristie Haller