Conxita Badia and her pupils

Apart from being a gifted performer, Conxita Badia was an inspiring teacher. Music students from all over the world came to Barcelona just for her. Among them was the Catalan Montserrat Caballé who became a singer whose talent is recognized worldwide.

Conxita Badia and her student Montserrat Caballé

Conxita also travelled around Europe and the America’s to give singing lessons, for example the summer courses in the Mozarteum in Salzburg and the prestigious yearly courses in Santiago de Compostela.

To honour Conxita Badia one of the auditoriums of the Conservatory of Barcelona and another in the Civic Centre of Sarrià (Barcelona) are named after her, as well as a square in Barcelona (Sant Martí) and two streets in Sant Pol de Mar (Maresme) and Castellbisball (Vallès Occidental). The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México created the Conxita Badia Chair.

In case you want to know more about her, go to the page ‘Conxita Badia, singer‘. Photos: @Fons Conxita Badia, Biblioteca de Catalunya.

Rosa Serra, sculptor

Rosa Serra‘s sports sculptures, well-known for her Olympic work (Seoul, Barcelona), are praised by critics for having force and motion.

Over the years she simplified the forms of her figures who now show a certain allegoric abstraction. Like ‘Plougense’, to be found at the Club Natació Banyoles (Swimming Club of Banyoles) honouring the club’s many volunteers.

Her Olympic work can be admired at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne (Switzerland). She also made a statue of Tiger Woods in Oregon commissioned by Nike.

How to get world exclusive photos of the Beatles

Imagine it is the 1960s and you are Joana Biarnés, a woman photojournalist passionate about your work, but it is a man’s world and you are not taken seriously. So no newspaper director is considering to offer you a contract, although they say they appreciate your work. Like Emilio Romero of the mythical daily Pueblo, one of the leading publications of the Franco era.


But she is a fighter and is aiming high. When in July 1965 the Beatles visit Madrid and Barcelona for a short tour, she grabs this opportunity to prove all the directors wrong. The Beatlemania is at its very peak, also in Spain, and photos of the band are in great demand. The musicians had announced they only want to do a press conference in Madrid and no photo session afterwards.

Joana’s father has always encouraged her to try to capture the photo of all photos, that one photo to stand out from the crowd. This standard press conference obviously does not yield unique pictures and she has to resort to another scheme. Thanks to her good relationship with the PR man of Iberia she gets a seat in the plane that transports the Beatles to Barcelona. Once inside she sets up her gear in the toilet and takes a series of pictures through the crack of the half-opened folding door where she is caught red-handed. Below you see some of the photos.

And then…

Elisava and the mystery of the banner


ELISAVA ME FECIT: these three Latin words embroidered on a beautiful ancient banner, acquired by the Design Museum (Museu del Disseny) in Barcelona some hundred years ago, posed an interesting challenge for historians.

‘Elisava made me’ said the text, while as a rule Medieval artists did not sign their work. So the experts wondered who ‘wrote’ it and which other secrets did the standard hide? Here is what they discovered.

The banner was found in a box placed in the niche of the Altar of Saint Ot at the cathedral of Santa Maria d’Urgell, La Seu d’Urgell. Ot of Urgell (now the town’s patron saint) was a bishop of Urgell from a noble family whose members were counts of the region Pallars Sobirà. He presided his diocese between 1095 and 1122 and the standard could very well date from those years, also considering its material and style characteristics.

But who was Elisava? The name was rather common in the Middle Ages, so that does not give us any indication, although it was frequently used by the family of counts over a large period. Continue reading “Elisava and the mystery of the banner”

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