Mallorca offers more than its fair share of culture. You are bound to hear so many concerts, and visit so many art galleries and museums that you will cherish a quiet evening at home in your finca. Of course, Mallorca is not London, Berlin or New York. However, I can assure you that even after all those years here, I cannot complain about a lack of cultural activities here.
When I walk through the city of Palma, I simply cannot get enough of the architecture, of the details of the facades and of the stories that lie in waiting behind their walls, waiting to be told. Admittedly, we cannot keep up with Europe, Asia or America when it comes to spectacular contemporary architecture. Mallorca is neither willing nor able to do that.
But keep this in mind: here can be found buildings by Daniel Libeskind. On appointment, you can visit the workshop and gallery of American artist Barbara Weil in Port Andratx. Moreover, the construction of a new congress centre according to plans by Francisco Mangado began recently in Palma. This is going to be a contemporary monument for the island’s capital. Even Santiago Calatrava, the world famous architect and sculptor who gave Valencia its vanguard touch, is present: his monumental sculpture El Toro, five cubes on two small cylinders, towers dangerously above the town wall. A balancing act.
The building that houses Es Baluard Museum is an accomplished combination of glass, concrete, ramps and terraces. The modern elements melt harmoniously into the fortification of the Renaissance. In its interior, you will find an art collection ranging from 19th century Mallorcan landscape painting and classical modernism by Picabia, Picasso, Matisse and Miró to contemporary art represented by Anselm Kiefer or Miguel Barceló.
On occasion, the museum’s forecourt doubles as a theatre, ballet or concert venue. It’s fantastic: the limelight projects the shadows of artists, dancers or actors onto the old walls, thus – together with the wind and palm trees – constantly recreating the stage design.
Apart from the big art galleries such as Es Baluard, Fundació Miró, the foundations of some banks and entrepreneurs, the city museum Museo de Mallorca and the Castell de Bellver, there are some 50 sites of cultural interest in Mallorca: prehistoric and Roman excavations, ethnological, botanical, and biological sites.
During one night in September, all the museums and galleries in Palma remain open. In the Nit de l’Art they attract more visitors than on any other day of the year. This autumn, the event will be, for the first time, organized in cooperation with Art Cologne. So besides Mallorcan and Spanish galleries, there will be many international ones, eager to use the art fair in Palma to showcase their offerings. Certainly, the Nit de l’Art will last longer than normal this year.
As you can see, we are in for a cultural treat this autumn. The musical spring and summer season begins with the Festes de Primavera. The courtyards of the town palaces and the cloisters of the monasteries, which during the day can be visited on guided tours in different languages, at night, are filled with the sound of instruments.
Below a Mediterranean sky, amazing concerts take place in the courtyard of the Bellver Castle and Parc de Mar. Besides Jazz and Pop, there will be four concerts by the Balearic Symphony Orchestra “Ciutat de Palma”, and summer serenades by the “Joventuts Musicals”.
In autumn, we can enjoy the concerts of MusicaMallorca. Renowned artists hold concerts in the re-opened Teatre Principal, the Teatre Municipal Xesc Forteza and in the cathedral. Furthermore, there is Dacapo, a young company which organizes classical house concerts and offers seminars in classical music. Are your ears already resounding with all this music?
Then there is the yearly Chopin Festival in the ancient Carthusian monastery, Valldemossa where well-known pianists and young talents interpret the works of Chopin and other artists. Moreover, Mallorca boasts other cultural events such as the classical music festival in Cura and Pollenca, the summer concerts in the church of Banyalbufar, the International Jazz Festival Sa Pobla, which is also well known outside Mallorca, as well as the Jazz Voyeur Festival in Palma.
“But what about opera, theatre and ballet?”, I hear you cry. Well, there are a host of top class visiting companies to the island – so just check the upcoming events on a regular basis. Palma Auditorium and Teatre Principal shows opera and theatre plays on a regular basis.
If you are looking for tranquility, you will find it in the libraries. You can choose from the municipal libraries, a branch of the Spanish National Library and specialised libraries such as the one of the architects’ chamber, of the museum of the diocese and the university library. In Alcudia, the Bertelsmann Foundation, together with the municipal authorities, has created a great library in the old country estate Can Toro. And if that’s still not enough, the Palau March in Palma offers almost every piece of literature that has ever been written about Mallorca.
The Casal Solleric is a municipal forum for culture and exhibitions. It’s absolutely spectacular, a palace from the 18th century. For ten years, there has been an international film festival in the Casal Solleric during the summer months. Award-winning films are run in their original languages, many of which have not had the commercial success they deserve. At any time of the year, you can see some current films in their original versions in several of Palma’s cinemas.