Throughout the first decades of the 20th century Barcelona and Catalonia enjoy a rich cultural life in all kinds of disciplines. For example, painter Salvador Dalí causes a sensation when he exhibits his works in the capital, and poet and playwright Federico García Lorca opens his play Mariana Pineda, with stage settings by Dalí, to great acclaim in Barcelona in 1927.

The buzzing region also attracts musicians and composers from other parts of Spain who feel inspired by its creative possibilities. Conxita and the rest of the Catalan artistic world enthusiastically welcome composer Manuel de Falla; for the singer this is the beginning of a very productive relationship which will last till De Falla’s death.

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From left to right: Conxita Badia, composer Manuel de Falla, pianist Frank Marshall (November 1926)

In the meantime Conxita, as the great lieder singer, has become the inseparable musical partner of Pau Casals, her second Maestro, who is inspired by her interpretations. He even says ‘When I compose for a female voice, I always have Conxita’s voice in mind.’ Together they give more than thirty concerts with the Orchestra Pau Casals, the first professional symphonic orchestra of Barcelona.

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Pau Casals

During the general rehearsal of one of these concerts they hear the news of the revolt of General Franco. Casals urges all the artists present to sing the Ode to Joy of Beethoven‘s Ninth Symphony, because it may be the last time they can do this together. It is the 17th July 1936, the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. An upsetting and uncertain period has arrived.

When one of her close friends is murdered, Conxita goes into exile and leaves for France, just like Pau Casals and many other cultural and political personalities.

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