Some of them you probably know, like Montserrat Caballé, or maybe their name rings a bell (Isabel Güell?).
Taking the Women of Ciutat Vella Walk, organised by Barcelona Turisme, will introduce you to many women and the streets and squares they frequented, a nice way to get to know their hidden histories connected with this district and its architectonic beauties.
This concert took place in the gardens of the Villa-Museum Pau Casals, in El Vendrell (Baix Penedès region), where she used to sing every summer accompanied by Pau Casals till the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936.
Click here for an English translation of the poem. Photos: @Fons Conxita Badia, Biblioteca de Catalunya.
Some time ago I read the review of a documentary that got me curious. Its title was enticing:Conxita Badia no existeix(Conxita Badia does not exist). The name did ring a bell, but was I remembering someone who did not exist?
It turned out to be a film about soprano Conxita Badia (1897-1975) made by her great-granddaughter Eulàlia Domènech. She had found out that very few audios and no videos of Badia’s performances have been preserved. This lack of remnants gave her the feeling that she had to inform the general public about her talented relative who was once universally recognized as an accomplished lied singer.
In the interviews shown in the documentary, experts and people who have known her explain that Conxita Badia was the perfect lied singer and an inspiration for many composers and musicians. In fact, quite a number of them seems to owe their fame to her.
Apart from her beautiful soprano voice, Conxita Badia allegedly knew how to communicate to the public the action and emotion of the poem set to music. Her sense of timing, rhythm, interval and phrasing were flawless, while her facial expression and body language supported the meaning of the song. Critics especially praise her diction stressing the clear and accurate presentation of each and every line.
According to the film, in her time the vocalist was famous and performed in the best concert halls in Europe and North and South America. This means that many people around the world must have heard her sing. Yet she hardly left any trace. So here is what I have come to know about her. Longread: a life filled with songs