The Palau de la Música Catalana is – without a doubt – one of Barcelona’s most impressive architectural treasures, and it’s a site we highly recommend visiting, even if you just walk by to see the exterior.
Designed by Modernista architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, – and listed jointly with Hospital de Sant Pau as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – this 20th-century ‘palace of Catalan music’ is home to l’Orfeó Català—the city’s symphonic choir.
Constructed around a steel frame, the building features a striking exterior decorated with vibrant mosaics (notice the original mushroom-shaped ticket windows near the front entrance); arches and columns; and – protruding from the corner of the building – a massive allegorical sculpture of Saint George and La Cançó (Song), created by sculptor Miquel Blay.
The equally impressive interior rooms – decorated with a plethora of mosaics and glazed tiles, statues and reliefs, balconies with glass balusters, and interesting metal light fixtures – consist of:
The Sala d’Assaig de l’Orfeó Català – situated below the main stage, this small rehearsal hall of the Orfeó Català features a geometrical wooden ceiling, stout columns, and – embedded in the floor of the ‘stage’ – the building’s foundation stone, laid in 1905.
The Foyer – this open space houses the cafe-restaurant and features stained-glass windows, white vaulted ceilings, and thick brick columns trimmed with green tiles and ceramic flowers.
A grand marble staircase with topaz-colored glass balusters leads up to:
The Lluís Millet Hall – this side room dedicated to the founder of the Orfeó Català, is decorated with paintings by Catalan artist Joan Brull i Vinyoles, and several bronze sculptures of Spanish composers such as Lluis Millet i Pages by Joan Matamala i Floats, Eduard Toldra by Jose Manuel Benedicto, and Xavier Montsalvatge by Manolo Hugué.
Beautiful stained glass windows and doors lead out to the double colonnaded balcony, offering a close-up look at the green glass balusters and the floral-mosaic-covered columns and walls.
And the Concert Auditorium – this virtual ‘music box’ is an amazing example of Art Nouveau design. Here you’ll see:
The massive 3000-pipe, German-made organ, below which is the main stage,
with a beautiful backdrop of mosaics depicting the muses in international dress (note the Spanish flamenco dancer) and
Flamboyant sculptural works framing the stage, which include busts of composers Anselm Clavé and Beethoven, and horses representing Wagner’s The Valkyrie (Die Walküre);
Arches and ceilings decorated with ceramic flowers and glazed tile mosaics, and a stunning skylight – created from thousands of colored glass pieces and weighing over 2000 pounds – depicting a dripping burst of sunshine surrounded by the ladies of the 19th century choir.
Outside, near the front entrance, you’ll see the giant cast-iron sculpture of Carmela created by Jaume Plensa in 2015.
The Palau de la Música is located at c/ Palau de la Música, 4-6.
Guided tour = 18.00€
Travel tip: The Palau de la Musica offers a variety of tour options, so be sure to check their website for more information.
Note: Due to performance/event schedules, some areas included in the tour may not be accessible on the day of your visit.