Barcelona's famed opera-house, the Liceu, has had to raise prices for its performances in the face of financing cuts (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The Liceu has seen its funding reduced from the Generalitat (15 percent) and the Spanish Culture Ministry (10 percent), as well as Barcelona City Council and the Diputació of Barcelona, which will adapt their contributions of 10 and five percent of the institution's budget. The director general of the Liceu, Joan Francesc Marco, yesterday announced a series of measures to deal with these cuts, some of which will be felt by the public. Firstly, the ticket-price for the most popular events will be increased by 10 percent, and secondly, the start of the season will be pushed back to October, a month later than usual. The upcoming 2011-12 season will have 13 operatic performances and two recitals less than normal, although there will be more concerts and ballet recitals.
A researcher from the Catalan History Circle, Eva Sans, has found proof showing that in the 15th century the royal town of Pals on the Costa Brava had an important port, a finding that has added fuel to the debate about the launch point for one of Christopher Columbus's trips to the new world as well as his possible Catalan nationality (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The official history of Columbus's first trip to what became known as the Americas says that he left from Palos de la Frontera in Andalucia, but the latest finding suggests that he actually left from the Catalan town in the Empordà. The proof discovered by Sans is an official document in the archive of the Aragonese crown from 1406 saying that naval operations were launched from Pals. The finding lends credence to theories posited by historians including Jordi Bilbeny and Teresa Baquer regarding the Catalan roots of Columbus based on the existence of a noble from here called Joan-Cristofor Colom i Bertran who, according to documents found by the investigators, carried out expeditions on behalf of King Ferdinand the Catholic and the Crown of Aragon, with three boats from the port of Pals; Bilbeny first put forward this theory in 1990.
The tweets of the council of Catalan town Vilassar de Mar are in the running for a Shorty Award, for which they will be competing with the tweets of US President Barack Obama, amongst others (read article in Catalan here, Avui). This is the third year that these international prizes have been given to those who are part of the Twitter community and Vilassar de Mar's council has been nominated in the Government category by users of the system. The Shortys recognise the work of individuals, organisations and institutions on the social network and includes 30 categories. The other nominees in the Government category are the analyst John Moore, the mayor of Newark Cory Brooker, congress member for Virginia Eric Cantor and the Briton Lord Credo, as well as Obama. This is the first time that a European finalist has been in this category and was the third most voted-for by the public, putting Vilassar ahead of more well-known options such as Sarah Palin, Arnold Schwarzenegger and NASA. The councillor for communication in the town, Laureà Foch, said that the council had made an active choice to promote and use new technologies and put them at the service of local residents; Foch said that they had been pioneers in using Twitter and Facebook, and that other councils were now following their lead. The winner of the Shortys will be announced on March 28th in a ceremony in New York.