Get the new year off to a flying start with a long weekend in Barcelona at the end of January with three evenings at two beautiful centres of the arts - the magnificent Gran Theatre de Liceu and the glorious Palau de la Música Catalana built in 1905 in the uniquely Catalan modernista style.
We depart the UK on Saturday 26th January flying from Manchester (or a choice of local airports) in the early afternoon (so avoiding the misery of early starts in mid Winter). On arrival we are met and transferred to our hotel for the next 4 nights the 4* Hotel Midmost (formerly the Inglaterra) situated just off the Plaça de Catalunya and a short walk from the Ramblas and the Passeig de Gràcia.
On our first evening we have dinner with wines at a local restaurant and over the next three days we have a programme of morning sightseeing in this fascinating capital visiting such landmarks as the Sagrada Familia; the Gaudi modernista buidlings of Passeig de Gràcia and Eixample as well as the unique Parc Güell; Parque de la Ciutadella and the fashionable El Born district; the Barrio Gótico and Cathedral of the city and the Picasso Museum. We have left the afternoons mainly free for you to explore at your own place or enjoy a leisurely lunch and siesta before the evening highlights.
On Sunday evening we have stalls seats reserved at the Gran Teatre del Liceu - the magnifient opera house of Barcelona, originally built in 1847, destroyed by fire in 1994 and completely rebuilt to its original detail in 1999. Tonight is the "Gala Concert of the Winners" of the internationally renowned Viñas Opera Competition named after the Catalan tenor Francesc Viñas. Preliminary rounds are taking place in November 2018 across the world's great opera houses including the Met, La Scala, Covent Garden, The Bolshoi and in Los Angeles, Madrid and Beijing so this gala evening promises to be a very special opportunity to hear some of the voices of tomorrow!
In January 2011 Gramophone magazine included the Balthasar Neumann Choir in its list of the world’s “20 greatest choirs” and on Monday evening we make our first visit the Palau de la Música Catalana where the Choir perform the Mozart Requiem under the baton of their founder Thomas Hengelbrock. Also in this concert we have the chance to hear the rarely performed Baroque work Missa Superba by Johan Caspar Kerll. Our seats tonight are also in the stalls.
On Tuesday evening we return to the Palau for the finale of our visit as Vasily Petrenko swings into town with the Oslo Philharmonic and Simon Trpčeski for the first performance of their Spanish tour. Simon performs one of the greatest and most challenging piano concerti ever written Brahms mighty 2nd Piano concerto in B flat' once described thus With the spaciousness of a symphony, the drama of an opera, the intimacy of a lullaby and the intertwining raptures of the greatest love songs, it touches on almost every emotion with extraordinary immediacy and power. Its virtuosity is spell-binding, yet always substantial.... And if that wasn't enough the orchestra then complete the programme with Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic work Sheherazade Op. 35. Our seats tonight are in the stalls.
On Wednesday in order to avoid a return at the crack of dawn we fly back to Liverpool on Easyjet in the mid afternoon landing back at 1805. If anyone needs a transfer back to Manchester Airport to pick or cars etc we will be pleased to provide this.