Community opera in a youth training prison
O Tempo (Somos nós)
A whole neighbourhood sings its story
Imagine an opera house, 175 years old, a palace of red and gold, velvet and mirrors, a temple to classical music and a social club for the city’s elite. Imagine a maze of ancient streets, tall and narrow, home to people of 40 nations, a hive of different cultures, trades, and social life, but viewed with suspicion by outsiders.
And then imagine that these two communities, side by side in downtown Barcelona but worlds apart in culture, decided to co-create an opera—and not just an opera, but one about the distance between them and their intention to bridge it.
In 2018, the Gran Teatre del Liceu began a conversation with Raval, its people and community associations. It sought partnerships between its own artists and craftspeople and those of the neighbourhood, so that the process of creating the opera would be shared and both sides would learn from the other’s skills and ideas. Local artists designed the posters and painted the stage, while the costume department was paired with two NGOs who train migrants and vulnerable women in sewing and design.
In all, 495 people and 78 community organisations took part directly, including 12 amateur choirs and four music schools.
La Gata Perduda (The Lost Cat), was a triumphant success and a powerful validation of a community that is used to being disparaged in the media, proving that when a historic opera house opens its doors to different people and new ways of working, the results can be artistically inspiring and socially transformative.
La Gata Perduda's website guides you on an interactive journey through all the different artistic elements of co-creation in the opera and the stories behind individuals in the project and other participants. You can learn about the local entities and participants who were involved, and how these collaborations formed all the different aspects of co-creation in the work.