Àngel Òdena (baritone): “I am very happy that Teatre Tarragona is working fine, and I hope it eventually builds a cultural industry around it”

Àngel Òdena / ©Pere Toda-Vilaniu Comunicació

The Tarragona baritone Àngel Òdena is one of the most relevant current Catalan and Spanish singers and a true opera referent. He trained in the Conservatori de Música de Tarragona (voice and piano). His debut took place in Petruzzelli theatre, in Bari (Italy) in 1994 with La Bohème, and he very soon developed an exciting international career that has taken him to important theatres such as New York’s Metropolitan, among many others.

What not many people know though is that this man born in Tarragona has a degree in Geography and History, which quite suits our city even though he never actually practised it due to his passion towards music.

Being asked to take part in the #lamevatarragona project, that is, his most personal and private vision of Tarragona, Àngel immediately answered affirmatively, which can be explained by the fact that, despite being an expert traveller, from country to country, from concert to concert, he takes any chance to fly back home.

Carrer Major Tarragona / ©Àngel Òdena

The first spot photographed by Àngel is the main artery of the old city. “I’ve chosen Carrer Major with the Cathedral in the background. We locals are not yet aware of how spectacular it is to behold this very narrow street, with those stairs leading to our unfinished building: the Cathedral”. Òdena decided to go for this street because, as he explains to us, “I would walk around here as a child. I studied in the Conservatori, right in the middle of Carrer Major, and then I started in the Seminari. We had to walk this way to get to the college and to me, of course, Tarragona’s old part, where my grandparents also used to live, is part of my life, of my history and I hope it is also part of my future because I think it is one of the most moving places of any city I have even known”.

Arrabassada / ©Àngel Òdena

We then move to the city’s seaside and stare at the sea. “I chose the Arrabassada beach, but I could have chosen any other one. Tarragona, and myself, would be nothing without the sea. And this is something only we locals know, as we can tell the sea is very near from almost twenty miles away. The Arrabassada beach is also part of my short history, as my friends and I used to go to the beach to play football or just swim. As I grew up, I’ve been coming back with my kids, as this is one of the most urban beaches probably, and it’s got everything kids need. This is why we do really enjoy it”.

Teatre Tarragona / ©Àngel Òdena

The third picture is related with his greatest passion. The third spot he chose to picture is Teatre Tarragonathat is also part of my family’s history. My granddad used to work here and my dad would tell me many anecdotes about it as a child. After the number of years it had been demolished and under construction, I am now really proud to see it going again. Today, I am happy about it, and it’s part already of my life, my career and my passion. I am really excited to see it working and that is gathering more and more people. This is something very characteristic of our city… it’s got a really bright future. I really hope it’s properly managed and that it can one day build a cultural industry around it, which is basic and essential for the people in Tarragona”.

Àngel Òdena al Camp de Mart / ©Pere Toda-Vilaniu Comunicació

Since Àngel Òdena chose Teatre Tarragona, we have gone for an alternative auditorium for his photo reportage: Camp de Mart. “It is place that, of course, has a very important background and that is part of my life because I used to live very near here with my family, and the school I used to attend, Sant Pau, is just behind it. The Camp de Mart auditorium is yet another of the most symbolic places in Tarragona, and the performing and musical arts. I have sung opera here a few times. I remember performing The barber of Seville with the guys from Òpera de Sabadell besides other concerts. By the way, this is the place where I performed one of my first orchestra concerts, back in 1991, during a lyric performance. The truth is that I’ve performed here less than I would have wanted, as it is a superb spot. Plus, people can come here for a walk as it looks great; it’s a shame not many activities take part in here though“.

Text: Ivan Rodon (@irodon on Twitter)
Pictures: Pere Toda (@ptodaserra on Instagram)
Translation: Artur Santos (@artur_1983 on Twitter)