In the wake of the coronavirus, the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house in Barcelona, Spain took a creatively innovative approach to their first performance upon reopening. After suspending operations in mid-march due to the global pandemic, the establishment reopened its doors on June 16th. However, rather than perform for an audience of people, the UceLi Quartet serenaded 2,292 seats filled with plants.
The idea was formulated by Spanish artist Eugenio Ampudia after developing a new appreciation for nature during the Covid-19 lockdown. Leading up to the event, Ampudia commented,
“I heard many more birds singing. And the plants in my garden and outside are growing faster. And, without a doubt, I thought that maybe I could now relate in a much intimate way with people and nature.”
Replacing the sound of applause following the performance, the opera house was filled with the sounds of leaves and branches blowing in the wind. Performing Giacomo Puccini’s I Cristantemi, the string quartet live-streamed the concert making it available for public viewing as well.
As one of the largest and most esteemed opera houses in the world, the Liceu is making a highly notable return to activity following the lockdown. Highlighting the importance of music, art, and nature all in one event symbolically exemplifies the gradual reopening of businesses and establishments in this realm of entertainment. Such an event will act as a prelude for the 2020-2021 season.
Each and every plant filling the thousands of seats in the opera house came from local nurseries. In an effort to thank healthcare workers, the plants will be donated along with a certificate from the artist to 2,292 people who have been selflessly battling the pandemic on the healthcare frontlines.