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The Barcelona opera house reopened with a performance for 2,292 plants. Yes, plants.

The UceLi Quartet string quartet put on a show for plants from a local nursery in "a highly symbolic act that defends the value of art, music, and nature."

The Barcelona opera house reopened with a performance for 2,292 plants. Yes, plants.
Image Source: LiceuOperaBarcelona / YouTube

In light of the ongoing public health crisis, Barcelona's famous Gran Teatre del Liceu paused all performances. Normally, the opera house would be completely sold out when performances are scheduled. The pandemic has, however, changed things. A group of musicians put on a performance for an especially strange audience on Monday. In celebration of Spain lifting its lockdown— one of the toughest across the world—the UceLi Quartet string quartet played music for 2,292 plants. Yes, plants. The plants were positioned in the opera house's seats. This was the work of conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia, CNN reports.


As per a statement from the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the string quartet performed Puccini's 'Crisantemi.' While human audience members were not permitted to join the extra special performance, they were able to watch the "Concierto para el bioceno" online via a live stream. The opera house added that it "welcomes and leads a highly symbolic act that defends the value of art, music, and nature as a letter of introduction to our return to activity." Each plant that attended the concert was brought in from a nearby nursery. They will all be donated to a frontline health worker from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona.


The "symbolic act," the opera house said, was a way to remember the "strange, painful period" that the country (like the world at large) is going through at the moment. The organizers of the performance wanted a way to "offer us a different perspective for our return to activity, a perspective that brings us closer to something as essential as our relationship with nature." This perspective will be important as Spain transitions away from the "new normal" and back into pre-lockdown life. The European country's state of emergency has officially ended and cultural venues such as the Gran Teatre del Liceu are now permitted to reopen as long as they only invite a limited number of spectators.


The opera house uploaded parts of the performance to YouTube in a theatrical video. Some folks were deeply moved by the performance. One user commented, "This moved me more than words can say. Especially in this time, this reminded me of my smallness in this universe and at the same time the magnitude I have on it. It's as if I was a plant in the audience, insignificant as an individual yet vital in the wholeness that moved me so much it made me weep. Music can truly make you feel things however the most significant part for me was the applause of nature at the end. It made me tear up out of sadness and at the same time out of the overflowing hope I felt in me." That is perhaps the most beautiful way to describe the act of watching over 2,000 plants listen to classical music in one of the fanciest concert venues in the world. At present, Spain has recorded 246,504 cases and 28,324 deaths.


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