Saturday, January 16, 2016

Barcelona: Palau de la Musica Catalana

One of the first, and certainly one of the most beautiful places that we visited in Barcelona was the impressive Palau de la Musica Catalana. It was built between 1905 and 1908 by the Modernist architect Domènech i Montaner as a home for Barcelona's choral society, the Orfeo Català. The Palu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. Built on a narrow side street near via Laietana, the ornate entrance only hints at the even more majestic interior that awaits inside.

The former entrance, on Carrer de Sant Pere 
Tours are provided throughout the day to view the hall, and flamenco and other musical concerts are often performed at night.

Mosaics on the terrace above the entrance
The interior artwork is so impressive that it's hard to take it all in during the short tour. Wikipedia states that "The design of the Palau is typical of Catalan modernism in that curves predominate over straight lines, dynamic shapes are preferred over static forms, and rich decoration that emphasizes floral and other organic motifs is used extensively."

A view of the interior, facing the stage.
As you can see, the stage is quite small, which limits the types of performances that can be held in the Palace.

Another view of the stained glass window
The kaleidoscopic, stained glass skylight features a choir of women circling the sun.

A close up of ceiling decorations
One of the most interesting aspects of the stage is the "Muses of the Palau," a grouping of eighteen women from different cultures playing a variety of instruments. "The monotone upper bodies of the women protrude from the wall and their lower bodies are depicted by colorful mosaics that form part of the wall. Each of the women is playing a different musical instrument, and each is wearing a different skirt, blouse, and headdress of elaborate design" (Wikipedia).

Eight of the 18 muses that form the background on stage.
The Palau is truly a one-of-a-kind experience not to be missed, and well worth the cost of admission.

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