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Barcelona’s Grand Teatre del Liceu presents György Ligeti’s sole opera “Le grand macabre” in a stunningly imaginative and highly theatrical production by La Fura dels Baus, a production that already scored an enormous success in Brussels, London and Rome and – as Britain’s The Independent proclaimed – “only comes along once a decade”. Ligeti’s (1923-2006) absurd-tragicomical masterpiece of the highest order blends popular theater, comics, pop art, cabaret, caricature and the Apocalypse with fascinating imaginativeness. The orchestra, for example, is enhanced with “instruments” such as car horns and doorbells. Ligeti himself – one of the great composers of the later 20th century – called his work an “anti-anti-opera.” Premiered in Stockholm in 1978, the work is based on a play by Michel de Ghelderode (1898-1962) and unfolds in an imaginary land inspired by the famous Dutch painter Pieter Breughel the Elder: Nekrotzar, the Grand Macabre, announces the end of the world; but in a land ruled by eros, alcohol and corruption, his plan to unleash the Apocalypse bursts like a soap bubble. The people continue to lead their lives as before and refuse to be frightened by thoughts of death and a dark future…Masterfully rendering the colorful score is conductor Michael Boder and the orchestra and chorus of the Liceu. The top-notch cast includes Werner Van Mechelen as Nekrotzar, Chris Merritt as Piet the Pot, Barbara Hannigan as Chief of the secret police, and Brian Asawa as Prince Go-Go. “The result is splendid […] It is rare that everything fits so well” (El País), “a rousing and compellingly presented, surreal spectacle, simply breathtaking!” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).

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