This Barcelona Opera House Played Its First Live Show to An Audience of 2,300 Plants—And Twitter Has Jokes

updated Jun 24, 2020
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The Uceli Quartet perform for an audience made of plants
Credit: LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

To celebrate the end of the coronavirus lockdown in Spain, one Barcelona opera house opened for its first concert since mid-March on Monday, June 22. And it was a packed house, with every seat filled. But there wasn’t a single human audience member in sight, because the arena was filled with nearly 2,300 plants instead.

Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu filled its 2,292 seats for the Concert for the Biocene with greenery from nearby nurseries while being serenaded by the UceLi Quartet, playing Giacomo Puccini’s I Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums). The eight-minute long concert served as a prelude to the opera house’s upcoming 2020-2021 season, and was dreamed up by Spanish conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia, who sought to marry art and nature in a truly 2020 way.

“At a time when an important part of humankind has shut itself up in enclosed spaces and been obliged to relinquish movement, nature has crept forward to occupy the spaces we have ceded,” Ampudia explained to The Guardian. “And it has done so at its own rhythm, according to its patient biological cycle. Can we broaden our empathy and bring it to bear on other species? Let’s start by using art and music and inviting nature into a great concert hall.”

The Liceu’s artistic director, Víctor García de Gomar, echoed those sentiments, noting in a press release that the organizers hoped the concert might offer a  “different perspective for our return to activity, a perspective that brings us closer to something as essential as our relationship with nature.”

Human fans were able to watch the concert via a free livestream, with Ampudia taking photos and videos for an upcoming contemporary art collection.

As news of the unique concert went viral, Twitter users, er, sprouted up in full bloom with some hilariously bad plant jokes.

Perhaps the best part of it all? At the end of the concert, every leafy audience member was donated with a certificate from the artist to 2,292 health care workers at the nearby Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, with the opera house acknowledging the frontline workers for braving “the toughest front in a battle unprecedented for our generations.”