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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114 Comments
  • zaks
    zaksSaturday, July 4, 2020 at 8:46 am
    Cool
    • lasder
      lasderFriday, July 3, 2020 at 9:51 pm
      Wow
      • oy405
        oy405Friday, July 3, 2020 at 8:16 am
        This is so funny!! My mom said plants grow faster when they here music! Well this is a weird but true fact. :-D
        • rex-a-dogy
          rex-a-dogyTuesday, July 7, 2020 at 9:48 am
          Well the science behind that is when you sing you breathe out carbon dioxide which helps plants grow ☺
          • wolfieland
            wolfielandThursday, July 9, 2020 at 8:36 am
            wow cool :)
            • goodvibesonly09
              goodvibesonly09Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 8:18 am
              That makes so much sence I will have to tell my mom and see if she believes me xD
          • candyqween2010
            candyqween2010Thursday, July 2, 2020 at 9:56 am
            Wow that's so funny lol
            • laynebot5
              laynebot5Thursday, July 2, 2020 at 6:59 am
              Cool
              • busybee
                busybeeWednesday, July 1, 2020 at 2:57 pm
                The music sounds so good!!I play violin🎵🎵🎻
                • skybluecat
                  skybluecatWednesday, July 1, 2020 at 1:02 am
                  I mean, a packed audience of plants? Who could deney that?
                  • rex-a-dogy
                    rex-a-dogyTuesday, July 7, 2020 at 9:49 am
                    Not me!😃😄
                  • skybluecat
                    skybluecatWednesday, July 1, 2020 at 1:01 am
                    I like this
                    • tacoman5432
                      tacoman5432Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 7:30 pm
                      I am amazed by the creativity that has been unleashed during the coronavirus pandemic such as this.
                      • whywhouldyou45
                        whywhouldyou45Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 3:52 pm
                        This is awesome i wish i was one of the plants!