Exploratory Operas

A community opera, created with people at risk of social exclusion and other residents of Raval.

Visit the La Gata Perduda/ The Lost Cat website

Led by El Gran Teatre del Liceu, this is the largest and most ambitious TRACTION community opera trial, with a main stage production in Barcelona’s 175-year-old opera house scheduled for October 2022. The opera focuses on the Raval neighbourhood right next to the theatre, which is characterised by social, economic and ethnic diversity. Entitled “La Gata Perduda” it is inspired by the librettist’s interviews with Raval residents. Local people are involved in the co-creation of the visual branding, costumes and other aspects of the production, while amateur choirs and music students will perform alongside professional artists.

This new project, which is part of the programme LiceuApropa, arises from the idea that art can be a vehicle for personal transformation using culture as a path towards social inclusion.

As the term “community creation” implies, the neighbourhood is closely involved in the entire creative process, from the music in the chorus to technical operations, thanks to consistent teamwork and collaboration with the professionals in each specific area. The greatest challenge is precisely this, the joining together of citizens with the professional art world, with a view to creating and producing a new opera.

What is Opera Prima Raval?

The artistic team at Liceu has been working on the creation of the new opera with local residents who will be invited to take part in a ground-breaking project. The community opera “La gata perduda” will inaugurate Liceu’s 2022/23 season in October 2022.

The leading role will be played by Raval, one of the most renowned parts of the city of Barcelona which possesses a tremendously rich social fabric, with an area of 1.1 sq. km where over 40 nationalities live side by side. It also boasts the largest number of associations per capita in the entire European Union, making it ideal for local cultural networking. In a bid to identify all potential participants in the neighbourhood, the Liceu coordinating team has been engaged in constant discussions with the Ciutat Vella district authorities and social entity Fundació Tot Raval. One of the key features of this process, which continues into the first quarter of 2022, is the search for individuals and groups who are not professionals in the world of culture, but who could take part in different aspects of the creation of an opera such as: writing the music, devising the dramaturgy, performing, and carrying out the technical operations involved in staging and publicizing the project.

Community Dialogue

The painstaking work we have done so far, making contacts and engaging in dialogue with the community has already created a network of 50 associations and organizations and identified individual participants, some of whom have already been assigned a clear role while the part to be played while others remain to be determined. All, however, will form the backbone of a collective project which will prove rewarding for everyone concerned. Among the organizations contributing to the process are Fundació Tot Raval, Conservatori del Liceu, Taller de Músics, Escola de Músics, Xamfrà, El lloc de la Dona (Dona Kolors and Dona Gospel), Escola Massana, Centre Ocupacional Sínia, Crea Dones, Estel Tàpia, Top Manta, Escola Collaso i Gil, Cor filipí Kudyapi, Androna Cultura, Associació Carabutsí, Filmoteca de Catalunya, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Museu Marítim, Biblioteca del Raval, Arrels Fundació, Casal dels Infants, and many more.

Meet the professional artists

The La Gata Perduda libretto was written by dramatist Victoria Szpunberg, who found inspiration for the story in the extensive bibliographic research she carried out in the neighbourhood, focusing on interviews she held with local residents.

The plot of La Gata Perduda “revolves around an unexpected event that occurs on one of Raval’s best known streets, where a fanciful tale involving the entire neighbourhood develops”.

— Victoria Szpunberg, Librettist

Arnau Tordera, Composer

Victoria Szpunberg, Librettist

Ricard Soler Mallol, Stage Director

Alfons Reverté, Music Director

The musical score composed by Arnau Tordera draws upon the rich cultural context of the neighbourhood. The music director and conductor is Alfons Reverté, while students from the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu and the Taller de Músics will join with other musicians in performing the work. The stage director, Ricard Soler Mallol, for whom the concept of a community implies the empowerment of individuals, is casting his open, sensitive gaze on everyday life in the neighbourhood. The team of professional artists is completed by Set Designer Adrià Pinar, Costume Designer Montse Amenós, video artist Miquel Àngel Raió, lighting designers Maria de la Cámara and Gabriel Paré de Cube, and Choreographer Tuixén Benet.

Co-creation with local residents is integral to each phase of La Gata Perduda, so that artistic creation can reinforce social cohesion and showcase local talent. This artistic dialogue between artistic professionals and the community since has the potential to be transformative for everyone involved. This is precisely the project’s biggest challenge: how to achieve a suitable balance between input from the professional team and local residents, whose experience and knowledge can contribute to the production of the opera.

La Gata Perduda artistic co-creation

Between November 2020 and April 2021, several graphic design elements for La Gata Perduda, including the poster, the programme and other physical and digital materials for the promotion of the opera were co-created by artists from the Sínia Occupational Centre and students from the Massana Design School, with support from the artist Curro Claret and staff from both organizations. The two groups are very different. The Massana students are young women in their early twenties, studying for professional careers in the art and design sector. The artists at Sínia are older, include men and women, and have disabilities associated with cerebral palsy; most are wheelchair users and have speech impairments.

‘I love the idea of working with you to do something as important as making a poster for the Liceu. I am very excited about this project.’

— Sínia artist

La Gata Perduda / The Lost Cat

Miniclip -Live at El Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

5 & 7 of October 2022

El Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

5 & 7 of October 2022


La Gata Perduda