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Barcelona wanted music to be the hallmark of the Olympic Games, and the organizers gave it a leading role in the opening and closing ceremonies. In contrast to Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul in 1988, the ceremonies in Barcelona gave greater emphasis to music and musical performers than to choreography or high-tech special effects.

The music of the games was to be different, out of the ordinary, and had to provide a modern image of Barcelona, taking advantage of the traditions and strengths of the country, one of which was the wealth in opera singers of international renown it had.

These were the performances related to the Games:

Promotional Song

  • The song that accompanied the promotion of Barcelona ’92 Games was Barcelona performed by Catalan opera singer Montserrat Caballé and Freddy Mercury, singer of the British band Queen, and composed by him and Mike Moran. Although the song was featured in the opening ceremony, could not be interpreted by the singers since, unfortunately, Freddy Mercury had died seven months before the Games. Due to difficulties in the agendas, the singers recorded their parts at different times and locations and the video was recorded in the Ku nightclub in Ibiza

Opening Ceremony

  • The Olympic fanfare composed by Carles Santos started the party. The band was formed by 74 musicians playing drums and trumpets, and  highlighting were the tenores, a popular musical instrument in Catalonia.
  • Then came the welcoming Olympic Sardana composed by Josep Lluís Moraleda and Lluís Serrahima and performed by 12 musicians from the Cobla Principal de la Bisbal and opera singers Montserrat Caballé and José Carreras.
  • Then the same cobla played the Cant de la Senyera, a Catalan popular anthem, composed by Lluís Maria Millet, founder of the Orfeó Català, with lyrics by poet Josep Carner
  • The show Tierra de pasión started with 360 drums from the lands of Aragon who gathered in the center of the stadium with 300 musicians of Levantine and Catalan bands, they were relieved first by a love song sung by Placido Domingo and then the song The finer hair sung by Alfredo Kraus.
  • The show by La Fura dels Baus was accompanied by music from the Japanese Ryuichi Sakamoto, which also adapted for the act the folkloric Catalan song El Virolai.
  • The athletes parade followed the beat of a march composed by Carlos Miranda with universal evocations of Spanish music.
  • To accompany the entry of the Olympic flag into the stadium, greek musician Mikis Theodorakis recreated the song Hellenism, accompanied by 96 musicians and sung by Agnes Baltsa. At the moment the flag began to raise, Alfredo Kraus interpreted the Olympic anthem.
  • The song that accompanied the entrance of the Olympic torch was created by the American Angelo Badalamenti which brought emotion to the moment.
  • The display of the friendship flag was accompanied by the symphonic version of the official Games song , Friends for life, composed by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
  • After the Castellsperformance, all six opera singers Jaume Aragall, Teresa Berganza, Montserrat Caballé, José Carreras, Placido Domingo and Joan Pons gave a 17 arias recital accompanied by the Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona directed by Luis Antonio Garcia.
  • The show ended with the Ode to Joy from the Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven, sung by 13-year-old Eleatzar Colomer and continued by the opera singers accompanied by the the three most important Catalan choirs, the Orfeó Català, the Coral Sant Jordi and the Coral Carmina.

Closing Ceremony

  • The closing ceremony began with the unusual race performed by El Tricicle accompanied by the Josep Maria Bardagí fanfare, then an equestrian display took place accompanied by the Spanish composer’s music Joaquin Rodrigo.
  • The Cristina Hoyos dance company danced to Manuel de Falla’s El fuego fatuo, accompanied by the voice of mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza.
  • When it came time to do the flags relay, the Orchestra Ciutat de Barcelona played the anthem of Spain followed by the United States’, which would host the next Olympic Games
  • The presentation of the Atlanta’96 Games and their mascot was accompanied by jazz music created by Paul Schwartz.
  • The lowering of the Olympic flag came along the Olympic hymn sung by Placido Domingo and the ceremonies choir, formed by the three choirs that had already sung at the opening of the Games.
  • El Cant dels Ocells, a traditional catalan song, adapted by Xavier Montsalvatge and performed by cellist Lluís Claret and soprano Victòria dels Angels wrapped the last gasp of the Olympic fire in the cauldron.
  • The show organized by the theater group Els Comedians was accompanied by the music group Koniec with music by Joan lbert Amargós.
  • Once again, the official song of the games sounded, Friends for life, sung by Josep Carreras and Sarah Brightman.
  • Firstly the show of the luminous ship and then the fireworks were accompanied by 100 musicians, the Banda Sinfónica de Llíria from the Valencian community, interpreting the music of Carles Santos.
  • Nothing better to bid farewell to the great celebration of of the Olympic Games closing than the joy of the rumba, the most genuine popular music in Barcelona. The great singers of the rumba with Peret, the king of the rumba at the front accompanied by the groups Chipén, Los Amaya and Los Manolos, performed thirteen songs with the passionate rhythm of the rumba, ending with the song Gypsy sorceress while the public and the athletes danced together on the floor of the stadium.

In the repository

In the Municipal Contemporary Archive, you can consult the administrative and management documentation generated on this topic by the Organising Committee Barcelona’92, SA (COOB’92), Holding Olímpic SA (HOLSA), Anella Olímpica de Montjuïc SA (AOMSA) (Olympic ring), Vila Olímpica SA (VOSA) (Olympic village) and the Institut Municipal de Promoció Urbanística SA (IMPUSA) (municipal Institute of urban development).

If you need further information on the collection, read the collection guide.

In the library

In the libraries of the study centres of the Barcelona Olympic Foundation (FBO) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) you can find the selection of listed documents and other bibliographic materials on the subject.

If you are interested in knowing more about our Olympic collection, you can consult the Union Catalogue of Catalan Universities (UAB collection) or contact us by e-mail (FBO collection).

Sports in pictures

If you are interested in images of the Olympic and Paralympic Games of Barcelona’92, the Image Service of the Olympic Foundation of Barcelona will help you identify the images that satisfy your needs.

The Foundation manages the official image archive of the Barcelona’92 Games. You can contact them by email to request more information about the services provided and the collection of images. In this page, we offer a selection of images on the event.