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Opera is the grandest of art forms. Part of the thrill of attending a performance is to sit in a glorious theater built just for that purpose, knowing that the greatest voices of the past and present have been heard there. The most important of these theaters—in Milan, Vienna, London, Paris, Barcelona, and New York—have a distinctive character and history that has profoundly affected the evolution of opera.
Opera expert Fred Plotkin examines these fabled houses, focusing on what makes each of them unique and significant. Using audio and video recordings and illustrations, he evokes the glamour and fascination that surround them, the cities that built them, and the legendary artists who performed on their stages.
Plotkin, author of Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera, lectures for the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the New York Philharmonic.
Gran Teatre Liceu, Barcelona
Unlike many of the most important opera houses, Barcelona’s is not a building designed to be admired from across a square. Rather, it’s found along Las Ramblas, the Catalan capital’s liveliest thoroughfare, just steps away from the Boqueria, one of the most amazing food markets in the world. Its roots in urban life give remarkable animation and buzz to the experience of attending a performance here. The city is the birthplace of several legendary opera artists, including Victoria de los Angeles, Montserrat Caballé, and Jose Carreras, and the discerning Liceu audience accords a great deal of love to the finest singers who appear at Teatre Liceu. That’s why top stars make a point of appearing at the historic opera house as often as they can.
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S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)