Barcelona Opera House Fills Seats With Plants For Socially Distanced Concert

The Uceli Quartet
LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

The Uceli Quartet perform for an audience made of plants during a concert created by Spanish artist Eugenio Ampudia and that will be later streamed to mark the reopening of the Liceu Grand Theatre in Barcelona on June 22, 2020.

Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house reopened Monday (June 22) and performed its first concert since the coronavirus lockdown — to an audience that didn’t have to worry about social distancing. Instead of people, the UceLi Quartet played Giacomo Puccini’s I Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums) for 2,292 plants, one for each seat in the theater. The concert was also livestreamed for humans to watch.

The event was conceived by Spanish artist Eugenio Ampudia who said he was inspired by nature during the pandemic. “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,” he said before the performance.

At the end of the eight-minute concert, the sound of leaves and branches blowing in the wind resonated throughout the opera house like applause.The theater says it will gift the plants to local health workers as a thank you for their efforts during the pandemic. Spain’s national state of emergency was lifted on Sunday after three months of restrictions on movement and assembly.

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