Barcelona's opera house has long been considered one of the most beautiful in Europe, a rival to Milan's La Scala. First built in 1848, this cherished cultural landmark was torched in 1861, later bombed by anarchists in 1893, and once again gutted by an accidental fire in early 1994. During that most recent fire, Barcelona's soprano Montserrat Caballé stood on La Rambla in tears as her beloved venue was consumed. Five years later, a restored Liceu, equipped for modern
productions, opened anew. Even if you don't see an opera, don't miss a tour of the building; some of the Liceu's most spectacular halls and rooms, including the glittering foyer known as the Saló dels Miralls (Room of Mirrors), were untouched by the fire of 1994, as were those of Spain's oldest social club, El Círculo del Liceu. The Espai Liceu downstairs in the annex has a cafeteria; a gift shop with a wide selection of opera-related books and recordings; and a 50-seat video theater, where you can see a documentary history of the Liceu and a media library of recordings and films of past productions.
La Rambla 51–59, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08002, Spain
93-485–9914; 93-485–9900-backstage tour reservations