The other Parallel of Floridablanca street

* The author is part of the community of readers of La Vanguardia.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
27 March 2023 Monday 21:45
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The other Parallel of Floridablanca street

* The author is part of the community of readers of La Vanguardia

Undoubtedly, there is something about Calle Floridablanca that currently goes unnoticed by the people of Barcelona. And it is that it is a part of Barcelona that, at the beginning of the 20th century, was an area that, after the Parallel, brought together more leisure activities.

Here they opened their local doors in some empty lots that were at the exit of the Raval neighborhood and that had not yet been acquired due to the urbanization of that area of ​​the Eixample.

The first thing that had been built here to facilitate the settlement of the new neighborhood and the construction of the new buildings was the San Antonio market, designed by Antoni Rovira i Tría, whose construction was carried out by La Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima. It was inaugurated in 1882 and was the first market built outside the old walls.

Subsequently, on Floridablanca street between Villarroel and Casanova, some leisure venues were installed: La Serpentina, the Teatro de las Artes – Intimo, the Modernista Bohemia, later, the Bohemia cinema, the Florida, the Rio Party Hall, Florida Cinerama, the Great Price Hall... some places that have already disappeared and are unknown to people who were born in the last quarter of the last century.

One of the first venues was the Teatro de las Artes, which had a more ephemeral life, since it opened its doors in 1903 as a venue for celebrations of the Ateneo de la Izquierda del Ensanche.

It was first converted into a Theater of the Arts to later become the Theater of the Arts – Intimate and closed its doors just three years later as a result of a fire, which left it completely destroyed.

The Sociedad Recreativa Ateneo de la Izquierda del Ensanche, located at Floridablanca 151, was created in 1901. The Teatro de las Artes was used on Sunday afternoons for theater and zarzuela performances by amateur artists.

In 1903, a young 31-year-old Adrià Gual, playwright, director, stage designer and theater manager, turned it into the Intimate Theater or Theater of the Arts. Gual was the promoter of the Catalan School of Dramatic Art. As a director, he presented some important pieces of ancient theater: La Margarideta, El avaro, by Molière, or Prometheus in chains.

According to news at the time, in one of the plays performed he had a 14-year-old girl intervene for the first time, who had started her career as an actress and who would eventually become one of the great divas of the Catalan scene. and Spanish: Margarita Xirgu.

In 1905, Frederic Soler, known as Serafí Pitarra, propitiated the debut of Enric Borràs's company, representing Fructidor, by Ignasi Iglesias. Another of the actors who reached the peak of stardom during his career.

The end of the theater occurred at dawn on June 10, 1906, when a spectacular fire, poorly controlled according to press reports at the time, caused its disappearance and the La Bohemia Modernista building that was right next door, which was also destroyed.

Located at Calle Casanova 3- y 5 and Floridablanca, the Modernist Bohemia opened its doors in 1905, as a social club and dance hall. Although the numbering of the premises belonged to Casanova street, most of the building was on Floridablanca street.

At the end of the 19th century, they took advantage of the land near the old walls to build a hut in which to organize dances and parties, in a spacious place, far from the narrowness that they had suffered in not so distant times inside the wall.

At the end of the 19th century it was known as La Serpentina, but, from 1905, it became the social venue of the La Bohemia Modernista Society. But, as I mentioned earlier, due to the 1906 fire at the Íntimo-Las Artes theater, the flames partially affected Modernist Bohemia, especially the roof, which had to be rebuilt.

Both premises, belonging to the Bohemia entertainment company. In 1918, he advertised it in La Vanguardia as a venue set in the Madrid style.

From the beginning La Bohemia Modernista stood out for having an important social activity, since it not only performed the traditional festive dances, but also organized events for other private companies, as well as countless political acts, especially at election time. Or it was used by the unions, especially during the years of the Republic. All of them until their disappearance, in 1934, on the occasion of the construction of the Price Hall.