Pastorets at the Liceu

This Christmas the Liceu in Barcelona will hold a performance of a traditional Catalan “Pastorets” on the 20th and 21st of December. The performance coincides with the 15th anniversary of the reopening of the theatre after the fire in 1994.

A Pastorets play is a Catalan nativity play dating back to at least the 15th century. The plot combines the contents of the birth of Jesus, the struggle between good and evil angels and demons, and the Shepherd’s experience of the first Christmas.

Since then have been many authors who have written their own version of the nativity, or Pastorets, and they have taken place in numerous cities, towns and villages throughout Catalunya.

But the humble Pastorets formula has never before been performed at the Liceu on Barcelona’s Ramblas.

Composed by Albert Guinovart and Jordi Galceran , the Liceu’s Pastorets will be performed by its own Symphony Orchestra, and by singers Cor Vivaldi – Petits Cantors de Catalunya.

Tickets for the show are on offer at a flat price of at a single price of 15 euros in order to be affordable for everyone.

The story of the cantata will be performed by Elizabeth Egea, with Albert Guinovart himself playing the piano. Songs are in Catalan and subtitled in Castilian.
If you are in Barcelona this Christmas then why not take the chance to enjoy this authentic and ancient Catalan tradition.

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Mostra de Cinema Italià de Barcelona (MCIB)

If you fancy a break from Christmas shopping why not check out a wonderful cultural offering currently happening in Barcelona, the “Mostra de Cinema Italià de Barcelona (MCIB)” brings the best in Italian cinema to town. The Mostra, or film festival, will show eight of the best Italian films of 2014, none of which was commercially released in Spain. The festival also includes nine short films, also unpublished, within the 9×10 NOVANTA project, in which Italian directors mount a short based on recovered archive footage from the Italian Instituto Luce Cinecittà.

The line up includes: Piu’Buio di Mezzanotte by Sebastiano Riso, La mafia uccide solo d’estate by Pierfrancesco Diliberto, Anime nere by Francesco Munzi, I nostri ragazzi by Ivano De Matteo, Smetto quando voglio by Sydney Sibilia, Hungry Hearts by Saverio Costanzo, Le meraviglie by Alice Rohrwacher and The Lack del dúo by videoartistas Masbedo

This is a selection curated by the critic Italian film critic Maurizio di Rienzo, a selection which has Italiabeen shown at international film festivals in Locarno, Venice, Toronto and London.

The event is rounded off with a series of special screenings, with Il giovane favolose by Mario Martone; five films on immigration (La nave dolce by Daniele Vicari, La mia classe by Daniele Gaglianone, Sette opere di misericordia by Gianluca De Massimiliano Serio, Là -bas educazione criminale by Guido Lombardi e Into paradiso by Paola Randi); and inaugural film today, In grazia di Dio by Edoardo Winspeare, a director awarded the CSCI of Honour this year.

The Mostra will be held from the 12th to the 18th of December in the Verdi cinemas. Cines Verdi are known in Barcelona as the cities leading group of art house cinemas.

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Festival de la Infancia 2014

Barcelona’s children’s festival El Festival de la Infancia takes place between December the 27th and January the 4th, a time of year when some parents may welcome some activities for over-excited children on their school holidays.

The stated aims of the festival are “to provide a fun and educational environment for children to learn the values of solidarity, culture and sustainability through play”.

This means that children will have the opportunity for plenty of hands-on experiences: they can learn to milk a cow or how grow their own organic garden in the farm area, or visit a section dedicated to understanding how a city functions, or experience professions such as being a doctor, fireman or police officer for the day.

Other activities include sports, dance, theatre, music and cookery lessons. With so many activities on offer, both children and their parents are assured something fun to do.

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The Fira de Santa Llúcia has opened

The ancient Fira de Santa Llúcia de Barcelona opens today in Barcelona. This Christmas market takes place in front of Barcelona’s Cathedral La Se and is a Christmas tradition dating back several centuries. The festival features many stallholders selling small Xmas gifts, decorations, and some food items as well.

This year’s festival has been decorated to resemble a small mountain and will be open from today, November the 28th to December the 23rd.

This year there will be a total of 287 stands. As usual, during the Fira de Santa Llucía entertainment is provided by musicians playing traditional Catalan music, creating a wonderful festive Christmas atmosphere. If you are in the city centre in December be sure to swing by and join in the fun and perhaps pickup some novel Christmas gifts!

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Ruta de tapas Barcelona 2014

We love to discover a new tapas bar or indeed a special offer on tapas in Barcelona. So we are very excited to see the arrival of ‘Ruta de Tapes Barcelona 2014’ now running until the 30th of November. This year is the 9th the Gothic Quarter , Sants , Les Corts, Sarria , Poble Sec and Gràcia.

Each bar will offer a signature taps accompanied by a caña at a fixed price of 2.5 euros. Who can resist the offer of a cheap tasty morsel washed down with a delicious Spanish beer? Especially at this time of year, with all the expenses of Christmas, some cheap enjoyment goes down a treat.

Popular establishments taking part include bar 1800, bar Núria, Bar restaurante Victoria, la Cabaña de los Ángeles, la Masia o La Monroe de la Film. For a full list of bars taking part click here.

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Barcelona Flux Festival 2014

Barcelona is a city in love with all things new and contemporary and Barcelona’s Flux Festival is a festival that showcases innovative video art. This year featured the event will be held in the Santa Monica Arts Centre on Las Ramblas, lcose to Drassanes though there will also be events held in other locations around the city. Flux starts today (the 25th) and runs to the 30th of November.

Enjoy films from filmmakers including Juan Bufill, Kòmic Thtr and Lydia Zimmerman. Make sure to catch the closing film of Flux Festival: Zimmerman’s Baby Boy vs. Baby Doll in La Galería de Arte Escalera de Incedios.

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Ice Rink 2014

As we have mentioned previously in our blog, sunny Barcelona is gearing up for the festive season, thought the weather outside is far from Christmassy at the moment! Yesterday the Barcelona Trade Foundation opened the ice rink in Plaza Catalunya. In recent years this has become a regular part of Christmas in Barcelona, and has been enjoyed by locals and visitors to the city alike.

Dubbed BarGelona (gel is Catalan for ice), the skating rink is open to the public from today, Friday, November 21 and will remain open until Sunday the 11th of January 2015.

BarGelona is run by the Barcelona Trade Foundation as a contribution to the Christmas atmosphere of the city. As well as creating some festive fun, Christmas is of course the year’s biggest shopping event and this is a way to stimulate spending in the nearby shops on Passeig de Gràcia and El Portal Del Angel.
This year will be BarGelona´s fourth edition, and this year new features include an emphasis on construction from sustainable materials, and a winter sports program.

The latter is linked to the Barcelona-Pyrenees bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. Though Barcelona is not typically associated with winter sports, the Pyrenees are just two hours from the city.

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The Christmas lights are on!

It is time to get festive with Barcelona’s Christmas lights now on! Each year the city surpasses itself in creating a more dazzling display than in the previous year.

This year no less than 85 kilometers of christmas lights will be hung on Barcelona’s streets! The first to go up will be Via Laietana, then the Old Town, Travessera de Dalt and Calle Ramón y Cajal.

This year as always, Plaza Catalunya will be one of the main areas of the Christmas lights. Barcelona’s central square, as this is also where the Christmas ice ring is located.

The ice skating is expected to attract around 100,000 people this year, thanks to a new simpler electronic access system, so don’t worry about having queue!

As well as the glow of festive lights to create a Christmas mood, some giant Christmas trees will be distributed around the city, with 13 trees that are a whopping at some 10 meters tall, as well as one enormous 18 metre tree on the Portal de l’Angel. Barcelona being an environmentally friendly city, the trees have been organically grown, and come from Sant Hilari Sacalm (Girona). The Christmas lights themselves are LED for low energy consumption.
This year the lights will also be hung in the Eixample district, spreading the Yule cheer away from the centre.

A competition for up and coming designers was behind the lights on Calle Aragon. These fade in and out, apparently evoking the blanket of stars that guided the wise men from the East to worship the baby Jesus. A similar competition lead to the humporous design seen in Gran Via, where the winning design is made of sets of letters forming syllables related to Spanish Christmas, as the Spanish Carol ‘Fum Fum Fum’ or bell chimes (‘dong dong dong’), as well as Xmas gastronomy (gulp gulp gulp and nyam nyam nyam).

While the popular perception of the city is one of sun and beaches, Christmas is a wonderful time of year to visit Barcelona. Winter is mild and sunny typically, and in low season when there are fewer visitors to the city. This makes it easier to see aspects of the city and its architecture which come July and August would be impossible. Queues for museums and galleries are short, and you will discover more of the cities true identity.

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Explore La Marina and eat tapas!

A bargain tapas offer. Every Friday starting at seven in the evening until eleven at night 19 establishments in the neighbourhood of La Marina will offer a top quality tapa and a drink for only 1.95 euros! Given the time of year, the menu will mainly include hot tapas to keep the cold at bay.

This route of tapas bars and restaurants lasts right up until Christmas so this is a great way to get into a festive spirit. Barcelona is a wonderful city in winter and a great place to celebrate Christmas. Also check out El Gotic and El Raval, both are wonderful festive barrios.

The route thought the lively La Marina district showcases the best the neighbourhood has to offer. Located between the Old Town and the Sagrada Familia, this is an area which many visitors to Barcelona miss. This tapas route aims to change this, and to introduce this friendly neighbourhood to outsiders with quality food and tapas at low cost; it also aims to help local people get to know better the best eateries in their neighbourhood.

To discover participating eateries you can see the website of the Association of Merchants of the district of La Marina Also keep your eyes peeled for posters and flyers in and around La Marina.

Bon profit!

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The Strokes are confirmed for Primavera Sound 2015

New Yorkers ‘The Strokes’ are the first confirmed act for next year’s edition of Primavera Sound. The 2015 edition of Primavera sound will be the 15th edition and will be held between the 28th and the 30th of May at the Parc del Forum in Barcelona.

Official confirmation of the bands attendance came in a rather unusual ‘viral’ manner last Tuesday when a large canvas appeared on the Passeig del Born in Barcelona with the logo of the band, which come nightfall was illuminated by ultraviolet light that revealed the Primavera Sound logo.

Primavera Sound started in 2001, the same year as the Strokes debut album ‘ Is This It’ was released. The Strokes consist of New Yorkers Julian Casablancas , Albert Hammond Jr, Nikolae Fraiture , Nick Valensi and Fabrizio Moretti .

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