The Gran Teatre del Liceu (the Great Theatre of the Lyceum in English) is a unique theatre, and a true icon of music and art, both in Barcelona and at an international level. All of the most well known operas have been performed there, and the best-known opera singers from each era have sung there.
Highlights about the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Built in 1847, its first years in business weren’t easy, as it had to compete with the Teatre Principal, which was much older and already had a great reputation. Even so, as the Teatre del Liceu was more innovative and had a better economic power behind it, it ended up dominating the Teatre Principal.
Much has happened over its nearly 200 years of history, and it has been through all kinds of events, from great operatic premieres to tragic moments in history, such as the attack of 1893 carried out by members of an anarchist movement, and the two fires that the theatre suffered, the latter of which was in 1994. After this fire the theatre became publicly owned for the first time, and after five years of restoration the theatre was re-opened in 1999. The external structure of the building is the same as the original, but its interior had to be completely refurbished, as the effects of the fire were so devastating.
What are the features of the theatre that really stand out?
The historic foyer
Of sheer beauty, the historic foyer has a series of columns inspired by the Renaissance, and a marble floor with black and white diamonds that give a very elegant feel to the space.
The theatre itself
With a capacity of 2,294 people, the current theatre is an exact replica of the original. Hanging from its roof is an enormous light, designed by the artist Perejaume.
The Hall of Mirrors
Officially known by its Catalan name of ‘Saló dels Miralls’, this is the hall where people go in the intervals of concerts. Its name comes from the huge amount of mirrors that adorn the room, along with many ceiling paintings and references to art.
The area called ‘El Foyer’ isn’t actually the foyer of the theatre, but in fact a modern audiovisual space underneath the theatre itself. It has a magnificent acoustic, and is used for all sorts of conferences and audio-visual presentations.
El Cercle del Liceu
The visit to the modernist facilities of this private members’ club within the LiceuThe visit to the modernist facilities of this private members’ club within the Liceu is one of the most pleasant surprises that a trip to the Liceu has to offer. is one of the most pleasant surprises that a trip to the Liceu has to offer.
The tours that the Gran Teatre del Liceu offers take place in the mornings, so that they don’t clash with rehearsals and concerts, which occupy the theatre in the afternoons and evenings.
There are various visits, some guided and some not, in which you can see the different spaces within the theatre. The guided tour and the express tour are the most popular options, but there’s also the possibility of booking onto a tour with a recital included and a tour of the stage and backstage.
The guided tour lasts approximately 50 minutes, and you will get to see the most important spaces, complete with more information from your guide. These areas include the historic foyer, the theatre itself, the Hall of Mirrors and the ‘Cercle del Liceu’. For groups of more than 25 people they will take advance reservations.
Times of the tours: From Monday to Friday at 09:30 and 10:30.
€ General Admission: €16.00.
€ Concessions: €14 for senior citizens over the age of 65 and for children between 7 and 16. €12 disabled and student card.
€ Free entry: children under the age of 7.
Languages: English, Spanish, French and Catalan.
Duration: 50 minutes
The Express Visit includes the same spaces as the guided tour, with the exception of the Cercle del Liceu, but for this tour it can’t be guaranteed that the lights will be on in the theatre itself. A member of the theatre’s team will accompany the group throughout the visit.
Times of the tours: From Monday to Friday from 11.30 to 18.30 and saturday, sunday and public holidays from 09.30 to 18.30.
€ Entry price: €6.00.
€ Concessions: €5.00.
Languages: English and spanish and audio guide available in 8 languages.
Duration: 25 minutes.
Visit with Recital
This is the guided tour, but with a recital organised at the end, in the Hall of Mirrors. Well-known opera arias is performed. Advance booking is essential, and this option is only available to groups of between 40 and 240 people.
Times of the tours: at 10:00.
Languages: on request.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes.
Tours of the stage and backstage area
Each month a series of guided tours is organised that allows you to see some of the theatre’s spaces that can’t be seen during the standard guided tour. During this tour you’ll visit the stage and the different areas, such as the rehearsal room, the wardrobe room, the make-up room, dressing rooms and other backstage facilities. The number of places available for this visit is fairly limited, so it’s therefore necessary to make your reservation in advance.
Times of the tours: 09:15 (days to consult).
€ Price: €18.00.
Languages: English, Spanish and Catalan.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes.
For these visits, which always require advance reservation, you will need to call the theatre on +34 93 485 99 31, email email@example.com or call in to the box office, which is located on La Rambla next to the main entrance. On the day of the tour, the meeting point is next to the main foyer, 15 minutes before the tour starts. For the rest of the tours you can purchase tickets online, or on the day itself at the box office next to the main entrance.
* For technical or artistic reasons it’s possible than some of the planned tours cannot take place on occasions.
Tickets for the opera and concerts
Although the best way to get to know the Liceu building is to go on one of the guided tours, in which the history of the theatre is explained, as well as being able to hear some interesting anecdotes, the best way to actually enjoy what the theatre has to offer is to go to one of the many opera or dance performances. There’s a wide range of prices, which vary greatly according to the work, where you’d like to sit and when you buy your tickets. You could pay anything from €10 for the cheapest seats to €300 for the best seats in the house.
La Rambla 51-59, Barcelona.
Tours: La información sobre los horarios se ofrecen más arriba.
Obras de teatro: depende de la obra y de la sala.
Visitas: the prices of all the tours are shown above.
Performances: consult the official website to find information about ticket prices. liceubarcelona.cat