Photo by Sola Bubulus
La Caldera - Grec 2011
The Teatre Grec doesn’t get to show off very often. Left forlorn and empty most of the year, it’s only during the annual Grec Festival that this lovely open-air Greek amphitheatre gets to shine.
If high art is your thing, there’s nothing quite like hoofing it up Montjuïc on a balmy festival evening for a spot of culture with the lights of Barcelona twinkling far below.
The Grec Festival began back in 1976 with the dual mission of supporting local artists and bringing some of the world’s most interesting theatre, dance, music and circus to Barcelona. Events happen citywide but traditionally, it’s the Teatre Grec where most of the action takes place.
France is the featured country this year and despite Gallic arts being in the spotlight, the French show that is causing hearts to flutter is actually the work of an Englishman—best not tell the French! Born in London but a long-time resident of Paris, Peter Brook is widely regarded as one of the most revolutionary theatre directors alive today, and at 86 he shows no sign of slowing down. His pared-down, unfussy reworking of Mozart’s Magic Flute, shows at Mercat de les Flors (June 18th to 20th).
Over at Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, get mixed up in and confused with Octopus (June 30th to July 3rd), a new show by the esteemed French choreographer Philippe Decouflé and his company DCA. At his best, Decouflé is dazzling, so if you only see one dance show at Grec this year, make it this one.
There’s plenty more for dance fans to get excited about. There’s a wealth of local dance on the bill, with new work from Sol Picó (June 30th to July 3rd), Àngels Margarit (July 22th to 24th) and La Caldera (June 29th to July 10th). Contemporary dance company Gelabert–Azzopardi’s inaugural show, La muntanya al teu Voltant (June 17th to 18th), keeps it Catalan, with the Banda Municipal Barcelona playing Carlos Santos and Borja Ramos’ music alongside 12 dancers and sardanistes. Meanwhile, B-boys and girls battle it out in the European classifier of the Red Bull BC One on July 3rd.
Two thousand and eleven has been a hell of a year for Manel. It’s a rare feat indeed for a band singing in Catalan to top the Spanish charts but that’s exactly what they did back in March. The poster boys for Catalan nationalists and quirky indie types alike, their homecoming gig at the Grec (July 11th) promises to be very special indeed.
There’s little on offer for lovers of English music this year but you could always try something new. Look out for a Sónar collaboration between Japanese pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto and audiovisual maestro Alva Noto (June 19th); traditional medieval melodies from the Mallorcan queen of La Nova Cançó, Maria del Mar Bonet (July 4th), and sounds of the colonial Caribbean from Jordi Savall (July 25th).
For the hard up, don’t forget that most venues offer discounts to students, seniors, kids and the unemployed, and if previous years are anything to go by, you’ll also find great last-minute deals on tickets a few hours before curtain up at the tourist information office in Plaça de Catalunya. For full details of the festival line-up and ticket information, check out the website: www.grec.bcn.cat.
June 17th to July 31st, 2011