Monday, October 22, 2007

Flood Damage at the Palau de les Arts

Helga Schmidt

Contractors outside the Palau

In a hastily convened press conference at the Palau de les Arts, Valencia this afternoon, Helga Schmidt, the Palau's Chief Representative, announced that due to the damage to the new Opera House following heavy rains on the 11th and 12th of October, the new season that was supposed to begin with a new production of Carmen on the 26th will now be delayed until the 06 November.

Santiago Calatrava flew over yesterday with his team to survey the damage and had meetings with the Foundation, representatives of the City of Arts and Sciences and also the Generalitat. Meeting continued today to evaluate and identify the problems and so find solutions so that the new season can go ahead. The date of 06 November will, they feel, give the various sub-contractors time to rectify the damage.

The rest of the season will go on as advertised, with the exception of the production of 1984, whose staging requires the hydraulic platform, the motors of which were damaged by the water and need to be replaced. 1984 will now be held another season, as Lorin Maazel is unable, due to other commitments to reschedule during the current season. (Any ticket holders for this Opera will be fully refunded.)

The main damage seem to have been electrical , and the Opera House is currently without power. The computer ticketing system has been lost, the audio visual systems in the main auditorium are damaged and there is still water in some areas. Currently only the contractors have access, though there is a meeting scheduled for tomorrow at 6pm to see whether the power an be put back on Wednesday. If successful, this would mean that rehearsals, which have been unable to take place so far, can begin in the auditorium on Saturday.

Ms Schmidt emphasised that the production is ready, that the costumes and sets were undamaged, it just needs the Orchestra, Choir and performers to get together in the main hall to rehearse. It is most important that the airconditioning i working for this to happen.

Tickets for the public which were due to go on sale on the 19th will now be on sale at the ticket offices at the Palau only on the 29th October. These will be for Carmen ONLY, and as the computer system will not at that time be functioning yet, purchasers are asked to bring cash and to be very patient as the tickets will be issued manually.

On the 26th of November, tickets for all remaining Performances throughout the season, by which time a brand new automated ticket system will be in Place.
More details Follow

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

HR Giger opens his first exhibition in Spain

HR Giger inspects the exhibition in Valencia today prior to tomorrow night's opening

Mr Giger and the head.

The first major retrospective of the works by HR Giger in Spain opens in Valencia tomorrow (18th October). It is to be held in the Sala d'exposicions at the UPV (La Universidad Politécnica de Valencia) and runs until december.
The man himself will be there to open the exhibition. The special site set up for the exhibiton has been flooded with visitors since it went live on tuesday and online sales of the merchandise have been extraordinary.
There are over fifty works on display including the famous head from Alien.
We'll bring you a full report on on friday -including a few words, we hope, from the great man himself!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Raquel Welch and Don Johnson Visit Valencia

Don Johnson arrives at the press conference.

Don Johnson with a flyer.

Raquel Welch with Festival organiser Juan Piquer

Raquel Welch in Valencia

Mostra de Valencia, the Mediterranean Film Festival, started today with press conferences with two of its three special international guests.
First on the rostrum was the genial actor Don Johnson, who immediately told the attending press how impressed he was with the city of Valencia and how he would like to return with his wife and family for a holiday. Asked if it worried him that he is more remembered for his part in Miami Vice and his marriage to Melanie Griffith , than for his film work, he retorted that he was proud of Miami Vice and had a beautiful daughter with Melanie - what more could a man ask for?
Next came Raquel Welch, still looking extremely glamorous and trim. Though she has been to Spain many times, this is her first visit to Valencia and she also commented on the what a beautiful place it is. Her reply to the question, What is the secret to your continuing beauty, she replied shear hard work - I'm high maintenance!
After the press conferences they both went on to meet Valencia's Mayor, Rita Barbera, at a reception where they were presented with the keys to the city.
Tonight, there is a Gala to launch the Festival at Palau de la Musica.
The Festival gets under way at the ABC Park Cinema tomorrow. 166 films will be shown, several are Spanish premieres, two films are world premieres. There are 33 sessions during the festival with a choice of five films per session. Further details and links to the full programme on

Read more of the interviews on from 17 October.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Josep Renau - An exhibition at Octubre

Las Arenas, the beach of Valencia
War Poster
Picasso's Guernica - commissioned by Benau for the 1937 World's Fair in Paris

There is a fascinating exhibition at the Octubre Gallery/Arts Centre (C/Sant Ferran 12, 46001 Valencia), Josep Renau is someone you will probably never have heard of directly.

Born in 1907 in Valencia he was an Illustrator, Muralist and, in his latter years made a series of surreal photo montages.

His early years were devoted to magazine and poster illustration, beautiful graphic works. He joined the communist party in 1931 and at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, began producing images for the Republican side. He became director of the museum of Bellas Artes and his main work there was to safeguard the art treasures throughout the Civil War (It is said that not one Art treasure was lost during the war) and it was he that commissioned what is arguably Picasso's most famous work 'Guernica' a mural which decorated the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris and depicts the bombing of the town of Guernica and was Picasso's protest against Franco and Fascism.

He fled, with thousands of others across the border into France when Barcelona fell and was interned in an Algerian Refugee Camp until he was able to get a visa to work in Mexico in 1939 where he worked on Spanish magazines and murals.

In 1958 he moved to Berlin and continued to paint, make murals and photo montages. He lived in Berlin till his death in 1982, though after Franco's death in 1976 he was to visit Valencia several times and bequeathed his works to the Josep Benau Foundation which is now housed at Valencia's Modern Art Museum IVAM.

This is a great opportunity to see some fine works by this fascinating man. Unless we missed them on our visit some of his earlier Valencian Magazine work or Posters, though they appear in the leaflet of the exhibition. The Centre has captions and information that is only in Castellano/Catalan and Valenciano. It is a nice space and has a bar/café where people were enjoying what looked to be very good food.