Performing for plants

A view of the initiative created by artist Eugenio Ampudia composed by a string quartet concert with a total of 2,201 plants as public at the Liceu in Barcelona, Spain, on June 22. The plants will be donated to health workers of the Clinic Hospital in Barcelona. 

Barcelona’s Liceu opera house reopened its doors Monday for the first time in more than three months to hold a concert for an exclusive and unique crowd. Filling each seat in the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house was a plant — 2,292 nursery plants to be exact, according to

One thing for sure, the performers didn’t have to worry about a cellphone disrupting the concert.

The opera company was able to present the “Concert for the Biocene” because of Spain’s state of emergency being lifted Sunday.

The concert featured Uceli Quartet, a string quartet, playing Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s “Chrysanthemum,” chosen for its requiem-like sadness. The concert ended with the sound of leaves and branches blowing in the wind — instead of applause.

The organizers said the intention was to reflect on the absurdity of the human condition in the era of the coronavirus, that deprives people of their position as spectators.

“Nature advanced to occupy the spaces we snatched from it,” executive producer and conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudio said on stage at an afternoon rehearsal. “Can we extend our empathy? Let’s begin with art and music, in a great theater, by inviting nature in.”

The hope is the show would reaffirm the value of art, music and nature and serve as a roadmap for returning to normal activity after the pandemic.

“We are at the end of an entire era, and I think that matters a lot,” Ampudio said. “I feel closer to myself being close to plants. ... And I feel much closer to people than before, even though I can’t hug them.”

Spain has been one of the worst-affected nations, with 28,323 deaths and 246,272 cases of the COVID-19 disease so far.

After the concert, the plants were to be donated to frontline health workers.

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