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Photo by Sven Thielmann
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Grec restaurantThe terrace of the Sifó restaurant that will be open throughout the Grec festival in the theatre's gardens
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Dies de DansaFor five days in summer, the cities of Barcelona, Mataró, Sitges and Sabadell are taken over by dance, with a programme of free performances in which a varied roster of choreographers, companies and performers showcase their finest works. Created in Barcelona, Dies de Dansa now takes place in more than 30 cities around the world. CCCB, Fundació Joan Miró, MACBA, Museu Picasso, July 10th-14th, free admission
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Present vulnerableThis production is inspired by the texts and poems in the poet and translator Feliu Formosa’s works. This ‘Vulnerable Present’ is an austere yet dazzling show that explores the feelings generated by the loss of a loved one, in this case the poet’s wife. Through poetry and dance, Andrés Corchero and Rosa Muñoz tell a story, full of contradiction, about that mysterious bridge which exists between life and death, one which is always full of hope. TNC Sala Petita, July 9th to 19th, 8pm (Sat. 9.30pm, Sun. 6pm)
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'The war of the children of light against the sons of darkness'The first co-production between the Grec and other European cultural festivals, this play is inspired by Josep Flavi's 'The War of the Jews'. It's directed by Amos Gitai and has an international line-up that includes Jeanne Moreau and Jérome Koening. Teatre Grec, July 17th and 18th, 10pm, €16-28
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Coral CantigaThe Coral Cantiga, the choir of Barcelona's Lluïsos de Gràcia cultural association, invites the audience to enjoy a night inspired by the classical Austrian composer Schubert. Expect to hear duets, quartets and choirs, accompanied by guitar and piano, performing the finest works from their repertoire in the open-air. Teatre Grec - Mirador del Grec, July 19th-22nd, 9pm, €16
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Don CarlosDirector Calixto Bieito presents his deconstruction and reconstruction of the tragedy 'Don Carlos', one of Friedrich von Schiller's most famous and most controversial plays. Performed by the Teatre Romea theatre company, 'Don Carlos' addresses the legend surrounding the death of Prince Carlos and his alleged affair with his father's wife, Isabel de Valois, and goes on to explore the confrontation between the Inquisition-guardian of morality-and those who defended tolerance and free will. In Castilian at El Teatre Grec, July 31st-August 2nd, 10pm, €16-28
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Jaume Vilaseca Quartet & Gerard Quintana - JazznesisThe lyrics and tunes of Seventies pop-rock group Genesis are reborn in jazz through the well-known ensemble, the Jaume Vilaseca Quartet. Vocalist Gerard Quintana joins the group to create a unique concert, held together by rhythms and colours provided by flamenco, African, latin and Brazilian sounds. Plaça del Rei, July 19th, 10pm, €25
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Stokölm - the new Look Back in AngerJohn Osborne’s classic play from the Fifties, ‘Look Back in Anger’, follows a highly educated young man who earns a living by doing a job that has nothing to do with what he studied, lives with his girlfriend and another friend who helps them pay the rent. For these reasons he is disgusted with life, particularly Sunday afternoons. In this adaptation, director Marc Martínez with Miguel Casamayor ask what has changed in the 50 years since the piece was published. In Catalan. Teatre Borràs, until July 26th, Wed-Sat: 9.30pm; Sun: 9pm, €22
The Barcelona Grec 09 summer festival, in its 33rd edition is running until August 2nd, and features a remodelled main venue and two new event locations. This year’s festival is comprised of 66 events spanning the theatrical, musical, and dance disciplines. Many of the highlights will be co-productions, and the main focus is on Italy, with 19 productions from that Mediterranean country.
While big names from the international scene will be on hand including Amos Gitaï, Jeanne Moreau, Keith Jarret, Khaled and Vinicio Capossela, the Grec won't be ignoring names from the national scene, with Calixto Bieto, Eusebio Poncela, José Sanchis Sinisterra, Mayte Martin and Mala Rodriguez & Refree.
There’s really no excuse this summer not to get to at least one of the 66 events that make up the Festival de Barcelona, AKA the Grec, named for the Teatre Grec, a classical-style amphitheatre on Montjuïc and the locale for some of this annual extravaganza’s principal events. The six-week festival has a 90-page programme to accompany it, so to help you decide what to see, we’ve chosen a selection of items suitable for different tastes. For other ideas, check the slideshow.
IF YOU ENJOY OUTDOOR CONCERTS
Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place. With a main venue that is completely open to the elements, the very spirit of the Grec is to savour music in open-air surroundings. Big guns appearing at the Teatre Grec include Angélique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, Simone and Lizz Wright in a tribute to the iconic Nina Simone (12th, €25-48). Alternatively, head to the Plaça del Rei where acts such as US double bass player Esperanza Spalding (13th, €25-30) and the group Cobla Sant Jordi, who give contemporary interpretations of traditional Catalan music (23rd, €12), will perform in the heart of the Gothic quarter. Another space that will be hosting al fresco music is the CaixaForum’s Pati Anglès as part of its late-night opening every Wednesday in July.
IF YOU PREFER NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION
Dance is always well-represented at the Grec and this year is no exception. With Saddler’s Wells producing and Alexander McQueen designing the outfits, the most high-profile choreography will be Eonnagata by Sylvie Guillem, Robert Lepage and Russell Maliphant; it combines French history, traditional Japanese theatre and the collective experience of the three co-creators (15th to 18th, Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, €35-40). More down-to-earth, but equally creative is the Dies de Dansa—four days of free dance shows in Barcelona as well as Mataró, Sitges and Sabadell. Here, the main venue is the CCCB: from the 10th to 12th, it will host two hours of choreography from around the world accompanied by a bar, chill-out area and video screenings. Finally, Les dones i Shakespeare is a new take on the work of the bard. The solo performances focus on four of his heroines, including Ophelia (Hamlet) and Katharina (The Taming of the Shrew) (15th to 26th, Sala Muntaner, €18).
IF YOU’RE UNDER-16 (OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS)
There are various bits and bobs that will appeal to younger culture vultures, including Abans del món, hi havia un món; this theatrical show looks back, far back, to the time before our planet was created to see what was going on (17th to 19th, La Caldera, free entry). Alternatively, the work of IT Dansa, at the Mercat dels Flors, is part of an educational project by the Barcelona Theatre Institute aiming to bring dance to a wider audience (7th to 19th, €20).
IF YOU’RE KEEN ON NEW THEATRICAL INTERPRETATIONS
Unlike last year, when English-language drama was at the forefront of the Grec’s theatre section, the 2009 edition doesn’t have any plays in English (the guest nation is Italy, so for anyone who speaks Italian or is comfortable with Catalan subtitles, there is an exciting range of plays to see). However, one item on the programme that might interest fans of English theatre is a new interpretation in Catalan of John Osborne’s Fifties’ classic Look Back in Anger; going by the name Stokölm, it relates Osborne’s themes to today (until July 26th, Teatre Borras. [NB. If you’re disappointed by the lack of English theatre at the Grec, don’t despair. The 12 x 12 company is performing The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat each Saturday of this month at the Llantiol. There will be alternating performances in Castilian (4th and 18th) with those in English (11th and 25th), so make sure you get tickets for the right day!]
IF YOU’VE READ THIS FAR AND STILL NOT FOUND ANYTHING THAT APPEALS
Exciting news for (budding) actors is that US writer-director Neil LaBute and UK playwright Simon Stephens will each be giving a seminar as part of a series on dramaturgy organised by the Sala Beckett (July 4th to 11th, Antiga Fàbrica Fabra i Coats).
If you're heading to the Teatre Grec for a show during the festival run and want to combine it with a meal out, the official bar and restaurant for the Grec is being provided, for the second year running, by Sifó with an enviable location on a terrace in the gardens of the theatre itself. Following their recent renovation, which has seen the gardens have been restored to their 1929 glory, diners will enjoy their food in a stylish ambience and with fantastic views over the city. And if you don't have tickets for any event at the Teatre Grec, don't worry - the restaurant is open every night of the festival, whether or not there is a performance at the theatre, until August 2nd. The menu focuses on grilled meat and there will also be specially created dishes, salads and pasta served. For more information and to make a reservation, call 663 762 035.
TICKETS AND DISCOUNTS
Prices vary according to the different events.
Different discounts are available:
FAMILIES—The family price is set at €8 for each member of the family, where children are under the age of 16 and accompanied by two adults.
YOUNG PEOPLE—Additionally the under-16 set can get in for €8 and the under-25s for €10.
OTHERS—Unemployed people will receive a discount (25 percent) as will senior citizens over the age of 65 (25 percent) and library-card holders (20 percent).
There are also multi-ticket options which give you a discount for buying tickets for three or more shows
Get your tickets at the following places:
Palau de la Virreina (Rambla 99)
Branches of Caixa Catalunya
Box offices of performance venues
By phone: 902 10 12 12