This summer, I traveled with the Yip's Children's Choir on their overseas tour to Spain and Portugal. Lisbon was the very last stop and for our final performance of the tour, we had the opportunity to perform in a personal palace of the former nobility! From the outside, the building really doesn't look like much. The paint is peeling all over the place, the doors were being renovated while we were there, the ground floor hosted a tourist center, police station, and a number of other random shops. If you are a tourist, there is absolutely no way that you would have guessed that there was more to the eye in this building.
We were expecting the interior of the palace to be as equally rundown as the exterior, but it was absolutely gorgeous! We performed in the palace's ballroom (it's quite small compared to the hotel ballrooms and convention halls we have today) but it was magnificent! For dressing rooms, we were given adjacent rooms that used to be the previous living quarters of the family who lived here. This was by far, the most glamorous dressing room I've ever been in!
The high relief sculptures that adorn the higher ceilings blend in seamlessly to the painted trompe l'oeil sculptures in the frames as seen below. The floor pattern of course, always fit into each room perfectly (no cut corners!). Each pair of doors that led to another room were fitted with mirrors rather than glass so it was quite tricky. These mirrors gave the illusion that we were looking into the next room.
It was a great experience to be able to actually experience a palatial space like this as an inhabitant instead of just viewing it through the eyes of a museum go-er. We spent a total of about seven hours here. Of course it lacks the modern pleasures of air conditioning and the floors groan with every little step, but this is certainly a concert venue that I will always remember.