Alexina B.

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March 2023
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Absolute premiere of the opera by Raquel García-Tomás with stage direction by Marta Pazos

“I am twenty-five years old and, although still young, I am approaching, without hesitation, the fatal end of my life. I have suffered a lot, and I have suffered alone, abandoned by all! ”, More memories , Herculine Barbin

The opera Alexina B. is inspired by the story of Adelaide Herculine Barbin, also known as Alexina B., an intersex person (formerly called hermaphrodites ). Born in France in 1838, her moving and suggestive testimony for the sound universe of Raquel García-Tomás, National Music Award 2020.

Alexina is credited with the female sex at birth, grows up in a convent, and, working as a governess, falls in love with one of her classmates. In a society where acceptance of difference was complicated and heterosexuality, the norm, Alexina claims as a man, changes legal sex and identity, to be Abel Barbin, but unable to adapt, in his loneliness he ends up committing suicide.

A powerful and intense story that puts us, as a community, in front of the mirror for condemnation and harm. His testimony reveals the violence of religious and medical institutions, as well as that of a heteronormative society, which allows neither self-affirmation nor self-determination outside of the binarism of sex and gender. With a libretto by Irène Gayraud and a stage proposal by Marta Pazos (García-Tomás collaborator on Je suis narcissiste , 2019), this three-act opera is a story of struggle for identity and a real leap into the void for our protagonist.

Alexina B.
Absolute premiere of the opera by Raquel García-Tomás directed by Marta Pazos
Absolute premiere 
Booklet: Irène Gayraud, inspired by the memoirs of Hercules Barbin (also known as Alexina B.),Mes Souvenirs France, 1868).

Program and cast

Artistic file

Stage direction

Marta Pazos

Scenography

Max Glaenzel

Changing room

Silvia Delagneau

Lighting

Nuno Meira

Choreography

Maria Cabeza de Vaca

Video

Raquel García-Tomás

Production

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Cast

ALEXINA BARBIN / ABEL BARBINLydia Vinyes-Curtis

SARAAlice I love

THE POLICEMAN / MADAME P. / ALEXINA'S MOTHER / SISTER MARIE DES ANGESElena Copons

DOCTOR GOUJON / THE DOCTOR / DOCTOR H. / THE ABBOT / MONSENYOR / THE JUDGEXavier Sabata

ALEXINA JOVE / LÉA / PUPILLA OF THE CONVENT / STUDENT OF THE BOARDING SCHOOLMar Esteve

MALCOLMFabian Lara

PUPILS OF THE CONVENT / STUDENTS OF THE BOARDING SCHOOLChoir Vivaldi-Petits Cantors de Catalunya

Choir Vivaldi-Petits Cantors de Catalunya (Òscar Boada, conductor)

Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu

Director

Josep Pons

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Barcelona's opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, was founded on the Rambla in 1847 and has continued over the years to fulfil its role as a culture and arts centre and one of the symbols of the city.

Today it is publicly-owned (by the Government of Catalonia, Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Provincial Council and the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte) and administered by the Fundació del Gran Teatre del Liceu which, in addition to the aforementioned bodies, incorporates the Patronage Council and the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu (the old society of owners).
 

Origins: From 1837 to 1847

The Liceu evolved out of the Sociedad Dramática de Aficionados (Society of theatre-lovers) set up in 1837 at the instigation of Manuel Gibert in the former convent of Montsió by members of the National Militia, an organization of armed citizens with liberal leanings.
Barcelona's economy and population were growing fast at the time and the city needed a music conservatory. This led to the conversion of the Sociedad Dramática into the Liceo Filármonico Dramático Barcelonés de S.M. la Reina Isabel II (Barcelona Dramatic and Philharmonic Lyceum of HM Queen Isabel II).  In addition to its theatrical activities, the new organization cultivated Italian-style singing and music.
 

The building on the Rambla

The original building was solemnly opened on 4 April 1847. The plans had been drawn up by Miquel Garriga i Roca, subsequently assisted by Josep Oriol Mestres. The project was funded by selling shares, which meant that many of the boxes and seats were to be privately owned. The shareholders formed the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu, known as the “Societat de Propietaris” (Society of Owners),  which was in sole charge of running the Gran Teatre del Liceu from 1855 onwards, after it was legally separated from the Conservatori del Gran Teatre del Liceu.
The theatre was operated by impresarios who were given a concession to stage a specific number of productions in exchange for the proceeds from the sale of tickets not reserved for the Societat itself. This system was to endure until 1980.
 

The creation of the Consortium

By the last quarter of the 20th century this management system was no longer viable. In 1980, to avert the danger of the disappearance of an institution of such worldwide cultural renown, the Generalitat  Catalonia's first government in modern times – set up a consortium, the Consorci del Gran Teatre del Liceu, which also incorporated Barcelona City Council and the Societat del Gran Teatre del Liceu. Barcelona Provincial Council joined the Consortium in 1985, followed by the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 1986. From then on the Consortium took over operation of the theatre.

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