Barcelona Opera House Reopens To A Sold-Out Audience Of Potted Plants!

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The UceLi Quartet performed to an audience of potted plants on June 22, 2020 (Credit: liceubarcelona.ca)

Spain's three-month-long lockdown order imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic was finally lifted on June 22, 2020. To celebrate the joyous occasion, the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain — one of Europe's oldest and most famous opera houses— staged its first live performance since mid-March. While every seat was occupied, there was not a human to be found. Instead, the sold-out audience comprised 2,292 potted plants carefully selected from local nurseries.

Featuring the UceLi Quartet, the performance, made available to human listeners via live-stream, was a prelude to the opera house's upcoming 2020-2021 season. In a nod to its leafy audience, the string quartet played a moving performance of Giacomo Puccini's "Crisantem" or "Chrysanthemums." Inspired by the beautiful yellow flowers, it is among a handful of instrumental works — and one of only four compositions for string quartet — penned by the famous Italian opera composer. Written in a single night, the musical arrangement pays tribute to King Amadeo of Spain — a close friend of Puccini's — who died in 1890.

After the performance, the plants were donated to 2,292 healthcare frontline workers (Credit liceubarcelona.ca)

Unfortunately for the musicians, the audience was unable to give the mesmerizing eight-minute-long performance the standing ovation it deserved. However, its resounding "applause" — the sound of leaves and branches blowing — could be heard across the opera house.

Eugenio Ampudia, who came up with the brilliant idea of the unusual audience, said he was inspired by nature during the pandemic lockdown. The Spanish artist says, "I heard many more birds singing. And the plants in my garden and outside growing faster. And, without a doubt, I thought that maybe I could now relate in a much intimate way with people and nature."

Following the concert, the "guests" were gifted to 2,292 healthcare workers at the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona. The opera house officials said they wanted to show their appreciation for the brave men and women who have served "on the toughest front in a battle unprecedented for our generations."

Resources: NPR.org, theGuardian.com.

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120 Comments
  • bookwormros
    bookwormrosMonday, August 10, 2020 at 9:36 am
    Epic and beautiful at the same time!!
    • helen0916
      helen0916Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 5:45 am
      I watched the video and the music is so beautiful I mean it. Thank you so much for putting a lot of effort into this lovely song!
      • shadow45
        shadow45Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 11:48 am
        so cool
        • ceebee
          ceebeeWednesday, July 29, 2020 at 2:53 am
          The music was so amazing
          • nab7
            nab7Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 5:57 pm
            I love this because they took the time and effort to do a beautiful show!!! Thanks so much!!!!!!!!
            • rose11
              rose11Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 12:37 pm
              W ow
              • aceprimeboi
                aceprimeboiMonday, July 13, 2020 at 10:39 am
                lol no wonder plants like spain so much
                • ynooj
                  ynoojSunday, July 12, 2020 at 2:39 am
                  I hope the plants grow a lot from the wonderful music
                  • glxysnail2020
                    glxysnail2020Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 3:30 pm
                    That is so cool! Fun Fact: plants can respond to different vibrations caused by music, they certainly weren’t a passive audience even if they weren’t able to give applause. Now that the concert is over, each plant will be given to a different frontline healthcare worker who helped guide the country through its battle with the coronavirus.
                    • coolvae
                      coolvaeMonday, July 20, 2020 at 5:31 am
                      I know that if a plant gets too much sun it will die.
                    • animereina2020
                      animereina2020Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 9:20 am
                      I feel like when you watch the video it is like a reminder of bad that has happened this year, but giving hope. COVID 19 has already made the year a bad start, along with the wild fires growing in Australia. Now there are harmful protests and riots, which are good for when you stand up for someone, but not for your own health. We should all come to our senses and notice what has happened. Like, replay what has happened this year in your mind... We could flip this year right side up again, or keep it upside down.