The Gran Teatre del Liceu in Catalan Culture: History, Representation and Myth
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This thesis examines the position of Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu within Barcelona’s cultural lanscapeas a means of exploring its modern-day role as one of Europe’s most important opera houses. Other studies of the Liceu have provided extensive historical narratives, but have rarely considered any kind of sociological or cultural theory when analysing the theatre’s role in the city. Chapter 1 explores the Liceu in Spanish and Catalan literature and dramaturgy and questions its role as a representative of upper-class Barcelona culture, and the changes this role has undergone over the course of Spain’s transition to democracy. The Liceu’s location in the adjacent Raval district is examined in Chapter 2: the area has undergone considerable physical and demographic changes over the last decades, and the opera house’s relationship to this area and the larger Barcelona context is discussed in some detail. The third chapter contextualises the Liceu within the wider Catalan cultural panorama and examines the impact of the recession in Spain, which has greatly affected cultural spending, and consequently the theatre’s programme. This problem has been aggravated by an awkward, opaque system of management; the thesis provides examples and analysis of the difficulties the theatre experienced between 2010 and 2013. The final chapter seeks to underline the efforts of the artistic direction to make the Liceu a referent of modern European operatic productions, with three case studies of stagings that represent modern interpretations of opera by contemporary Catalan directors. These works have been chosen as representative of the Liceu’s determined modernisation of the operatic spectacle and of its commitment to local artists. The thesis aims to present a more critical view of Barcelona’s opera house that goes beyond chronological narrative and anecdote in depicting the modern-day situation of the institution and its place in the Barcelona context.
- Theses