Endesa will bring Verdi’s opera Il trovatore to 166 towns across Spain on 21 July at 10 pm. This is the third edition of the Liceu a la Fresca, via which, this new production will be broadcast live and free of charge in open-air public spaces. It is also the first time the initiative has been extended across all of Spain, with the number of towns taking part increasing by 36.3% compared with the previous edition (which was 121). Therefore Andorra, Madrid, Bilbao, Granada, Seville or Malaga, among other cities, will be able to enjoy this representation this year. These figures confirm the success of a project focusing on promoting and boosting culture with the clear aim of disseminating opera and musicals across Spain and under the umbrella of the Social Project.
To date, a total of 166 Spanish towns - 149 in Catalonia - have adhered to the Liceu a la Fresca, an initiative that will enable the public to enjoy the open-air production of Il trovatore directed by Joan Anton Rechi. Emblematic sites such as the Arc de Triomf in Barcelona, the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, the plaza located in front of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Plaça dels Jurats in Girona, Escaldes-Engordany in Andorra, CaixaForum in Seville, the Plaça Esteve Cuito in Lleida, the Paseo del Salón in Granada, the Parc del Marc de Palma in Majorca or the Plaza del Estaño in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, among others, will be the setting to bring opera to the people.
The Liceu has maintained four locations in Barcelona and has chosen the Arc de Triomf for a second year running as the main site for the project. The Plaça Salvador Seguí and the Centre Cívic Sant Martí have once again chosen to support the project. And this year, the Barcelona City council has joined the Liceu a la Fresca as part of its commitment to work closely with the Liceu and has decided to install a fourth screen in the Plaça Major de Nou Barris with room to accommodate another 1,000 people. The aim of the initiative is to connect the city’s commerce and culture and it forms part of the Strategy for Strengthening and Featuring Commerce.
Televisió de Catalunya and Televisión Española are collaborating with this coproduction that will broadcast the signal to all the towns. Furthermore, canal 33 will broadcast a special programme that evening with the representation of Il trovatore, from the areas set up in the Arc de Triomf in Barcelona (Passeig Lluís Companys) as they did during last year’s broadcast, presented by Carolina Rosich and Jofre Font. At the same time, La2 will broadcast the signal across Spain via the programme El Palco, from the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, with the presentation by Eva Sandoval from Radio Clásica. The relationship between both television channels and the Gran Teatre del Liceu goes back years, with their respective agreements promoting the dissemination of the activities organised by the Liceu, particularly through cultural television and radio programmes.
New production, Il trovatore
The stage director, Joan Anton Rechi, is preparing a production in which "Los desastres de la Guerra” (The disasters of war) by Francisco de Goya, serve as inspiration for the staging, where he wanted to give a leading role to the artist from Aragon and the town in which the series of engravings were painted. Goya, interpreted by Carles Canut, becomes an exceptional spectator of the story of Il trovatore, and even another character, a narrator or troubadour who, with his paint brushes, dissects this tragedy of love, revenge, war and death. The figurine maker, Mercè Paloma and the video-creator, Sergio Gracia, have worked with Rechi to create the set for the story of Cammarano and Bardare in a battle context that "provides the story with greater authenticity".
A star cast heads this coproduction by the Liceu and the Ópera de Oviedo, with the baritone, George Petean, taking a leading role as the Conte di Luna, the soprano Tamara Wilson as Leonora or the tenor Piero Pretti as Manrico, all under the baton of the master, Daniele Callegari. Il trovatore is set in Zaragoza, where we will witness the troubadour Manrico and Leonara fall in love. The Conde di Luna, who is also courting her, lost his younger brother kidnapped by Azucena, Manrico’s mother. She is captured and tortured by the Count; Manrico tries to save her, but he is captured. Leonora intercedes before the count, offering herself as his wife, but ends up committing suicide. Then Luna kills Manrico and Azucena reveals, shortly before dying too, that the troubadour was the count’s lost brother.
Tribute to Joaquim Molins
As a sign of mourning for the death of the ex-president of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Joaquim Molins, the Theatre will dedicate the premiere of all the functions of the new production of Il trovatore from 17 July and also the representation of ‘Liceu a la Fresca’, which will broadcast the opera live across Spain, to him.
The Liceu is the first opera theatre in the world that works the territory proactively and directly through the project Liceu en el Territorio. A programme that encourages new publics to attend the Teatre with friendly lectures, accessible by various towns of Catalonia and which this year has seen a significant growth, with a total of 3,125 people (a 71% increase compared with the 15/16 season, which had a total of 1,820) attending the Teatre, the majority for the first time, thanks to these free conferences that have been held in 75 towns of Catalonia, which represents a 134% increase compared with the 32 of last year.
In this regard, it is a project that adheres to Endesa’s desire to transmit energy to culture, i.e., open it up to more people and bring it to the general public through initiatives such as these. Therefore, the Liceu en el Territorio aims to rid the public of preconceived notions about opera and for as many people as possible to attend the Gran Teatre at least once, in order to continue building the Liceu de Todos (The Liceu of the People).