Barcelona opera house reopens with a concert for 2,292 plants

The unusual event was meant as a reflection on Spain's three-month lockdown and its impact on human activity

A concert for nearly 2,300 plants at Barcelona's opera house (Spanish audio).

Barcelona’s opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, resumed its season on Monday with a concert that was attended by 2,292 potted plants, rather than human music-lovers.

The unusual event, which marked the institution’s return to activity following the three-month coronavirus lockdown, was the brainchild of conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia.

A string quartet named UcaLi delivered an eight-minute rendition of Giacomo Puccini’s Crisantemi that was live-streamed on the Liceu’s website, and which ended with the musicians bowing to the leafy audience while sounds of wind blowing through the trees played in the background, in what might pass as plant applause.

“We had to tell the plants something specific, to tell them what we’d been through during this time, and tell it in the form of music, which is the language that I am sure they understand,” said Ampudia.

“At a time when a large part of humanity has been confined to reduced spaces and been forced to renounce to mobility, nature has moved in to occupy the space that we took from it,” added the artist, saying that the performance also aimed to underscore the possibility of “extending the concept of empathy to other species.”

All 2,292 plants, which were grown in nurseries across the city of Barcelona, will be gifted to as many healthcare professionals at the Clínic hospital.

English version by Susana Urra.

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