The Palace of Catalan Music, located in San Pere, the old quarter of Barcelona, is one of the most visited city attractions. Luxurious architecture, in which curved lines prevail over curves, and dynamic forms dominate over static ones, attracts even those who, in principle, do not consider themselves music lovers. Despite the fact that the construction of Palau, which the locals nicknamed the magic music box, lasted only 3.5 years, it has become the best example of Catalan modernism.
Palau de la Musica Catalana, located near the famous Gothic quarter, can be without exaggeration called one of the main symbols of the Catalan capital. The walls of the concert hall, which is one of the most popular music halls in Barcelona, regularly host operettas, musicals, chamber, jazz, symphony and folk concerts, as well as other musical events. In addition, stars of popular Spanish music often appear on the Palau stage, and until some time such world celebrities as Montserrat Caballe, Svyatoslav Richter and Mstislav Rostropovich shone.
Currently, the “magic music box”, which annually receives up to 500 thousand visitors, is the only concert hall in Europe in Europe that has exclusively natural light. In 1997, this magnificent building, which played a huge role in the cultural development of its country, was included in the UNESCO heritage list.
The history of the Palace of Catalan Music in Barcelona began on February 9, 1908. Initially, it served not only as a concert hall, but also as headquarters for the Catalan Orpheon, a local choral society created to popularize authentic Catalan music in northeastern Spain. The implementation of the plan, approved in May 1904, required enormous material costs. Only for the purchase of land, the total area of which was 1350 square meters. m., it was spent more than 11 thousand euros! However, the city treasury almost did not suffer from this, because almost all construction and finishing works were carried out with the money of numerous Catalan patrons.
The project manager was Lewis Domenech-i-Montaner, a well-known Spanish politician and architect who, after finishing all the work, was awarded a gold medal for the construction of the best city building. In the period from 1982 to 1989, the Palau building, declared a national monument of the country, was repeatedly expanded and reconstructed, and in the early 2000s, the theater was also thoroughly restored.
Thanks to such a reverent attitude of local authorities to this building, Palau de la Musica Catalana continues to cause genuine interest and remains one of the most famous Barcelona attractions. Due to its huge size, due to the presence of a metal frame, it hosts not only concert performances, but also various conferences, exhibitions and other public events related to the cultural and political life of Spain.
Architecture and Interior
Looking at the photo of the Palace of Catalan Music in Barcelona, it is impossible not to notice the graceful balconies, columns with intricate capitals, curved decorative patterns and other elements characteristic of Art Nouveau. Among other things, the façade design clearly shows the motifs of oriental and Spanish architecture, represented by colorful glazed tiles and intricate candelabra, over which there are busts of famous world composers – Bach, Wagner, Beethoven, Palestrina, etc.
Especially from all this diversity stands out “Catalan Folk Song”, a small sculptural group created by one of the best monumental artists in Spain. The upper part of the facade, decorated with a metaphorical image of the local choral society, as well as the old theater box, hidden inside a massive column and decorated with beautiful mosaic ornaments, are no less delighted. Inside, the Palau building looks simply gorgeous. Spacious halls, decorated with wrought iron railings, stained glass windows and exquisite stucco molding, attract the enthusiastic looks of visitors and make them completely forget about the time.
The largest venue of the Palau de la Musica Catalana is the main concert hall, designed for 2.2 thousand spectators and representing a real work of art. The ceiling of this site, made in the form of a huge inverted dome, is covered with pieces of colorful glass mosaic. At the same time, pastel and amber tones prevail in its central part, and blue and blue on the periphery. This combination of colors was not chosen randomly – in good weather (and, therefore, high-quality lighting), they look like the sun and the sky. The walls of the concert hall also almost entirely consist of stained-glass windows, which gives the impression that everything around is moving in some direction he knows only.
Among all this luxury, one can notice many statues made by outstanding sculptors of the last century, images of 18 museums of Ancient Greece and a sculptural composition created on the basis of the Valkyrie, the world famous opera written by Richard Wagner. The central place in the hall is occupied by the body over which the national flag of Catalonia flutters.
The Palace of Catalan Music (Barcelona, Spain), located at: Carrer Palau de la Musica, 4-6, 08003, is open to the public all year round. Opening hours depend on the season:
- September – June: from 09:30 to 15:30;
- July – August: from 09:30 to 18:00.
Sightseeing tours are held daily from 10:00 to 15:30 with an interval of half an hour. The standard program in English, Spanish, French and Catalan lasts 55 minutes.
- Adult – from 20 €;
- Preliminary (for purchases 21 days before the expected date) – 16 €;
- Elderly people over 65 – 16 €;
- Students and the unemployed – 11 €;
- Children under 10 years accompanied by adults – free of charge.
However, some categories of visitors (members of large tourist groups, owners of the Barcelona Card, large families, etc.) are entitled to a discount. More detailed information and a poster of performances can be found on the official website of Palau de la Musica – https://www.palaumusica.cat/en. As for private excursions, they are held either in the early morning or late evening and only if there are free places in Palau.
Prices on the page are for October 2019.
Having decided to visit the Palace of Catalan music, listen to the recommendations of those who have already visited there:
- You can get inside the “magic music box” not only with a sightseeing tour, but also simply by coming to the concert. In the latter case, you kill 2 birds with one stone – and inspect the building and enjoy the performance of professional musicians. In this case, the difference in price will be very small.
- Do not try to bring food or drinks into the auditorium – this is prohibited here.
- For a bite to eat, guests can check out the lobby bar. It serves delicious coffee, fresh pastries and fruit sangria, but the prices in this establishment are quite high.
- Inside there is no changing room, no lockers, so the outerwear and personal items will have to be held in hands.
- On the territory of the Palau de la Musica Catalana, you can hold a wedding photo shoot, but you need to arrange this in advance – just send a request to the institution’s email address and pay for the photo shoot.
- To attend a concert it is not necessary to wear a tuxedo and evening dress. Most visitors prefer casual clothing.
- You can get to Palau either by metro or by public transport. In the first case, you should use the yellow line L4 and go to st. “Urquinaona”. In the second – buses No. 17, 8 and 45, stopping right at the main entrance.
- If you don’t really like jazz or opera symphonies, go to flamenco – they say this is just an unforgettable sight.
Palace of Catalan music in detail:
Posted by: Olga Sheyko