Barcelona’s opera performs for a leafy audience

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

"Nature advanced to occupy the spaces we snatched from it," executive producer Eugenio Ampudio said on stage at an afternoon rehearsal before the concert." Can we extend our empathy? Let's begin with art and music, in a great theater, by inviting nature in," he said inside the eclectic, neo-classical venue that dates back to the 19th century and is one of Europe's largest opera houses.

Later that evening, the Uceli string quartet will perform Concert of the Biocene featuring Italian composer Giacomo Puccini's "Chrysanthemum" to the rather odd but, nevertheless, spectacularly leafy audience in the Catalan capital a day after Spain lifted its state of emergency and ended one of Europe's strictest lockdowns.

"Plants had to be told something concrete and told what we had gone through over this time in the form of music .... (the concert) is almost a requiem without being one, but it can transmit our sadness of what has happened to other beings," conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia who produced the performance said. The opera's website describes the performance as "highly symbolic act that defends the value of art, music and nature as a letter of introduction to our return to activity."

When curtain closes, the Liceu plans to donate the 2,292 potted plants to health workers as a sign of appreciation for their work over the hardest months of the pandemic.

The opera's website describes the performance as a "highly symbolic act that defends the value of art, music and nature as a letter of introduction to our return to activity."