Barcelona opera house Gran Teatre del Liceu reopens before a packed audience of plants

It was a full house Monday at Barcelona’s Liceu opera, as the 2,292-seat venue reopened for its first concert since Spain announced a national emergency in March.

Barcelona’s Liceu opera has reopened on Monday, its first concert since Spain announced a national emergency in March. However, there were no face masks, or hand sanitizer or any kind of social distancing among the thousands of attendees in the audience, who were not humans but potted plants.

The UceLi string quartet serenaded hundreds of potted plants at the Gran Teatre del Liceu with Giacomo Puccini’s “Crisantemi.”

Dubbed the “Concert for the Biocene,” the concert was meant to examine the absurdity of the human condition under coronavirus-linked lockdowns, which have deprived people from their role as public spectators.

“At a time when much of humankind has shut itself off in enclosed spaces and been forced to relinquish mobility, nature has crept forward to occupy the spaces we have ceded,” Eugenio Ampudia, the conceptual artist behind the leafy performance, said in a statement.

Human listeners were able to tune in through live stream, which formed a prelude to the opera’s 2020-2021 season just one day after Spain ended months of lockdown. Under a phased reopening plan, theatres and other performance venues can reopen for humans with restrictions on crowd size.

The plants in the opera audience were provided by Catalonian nurseries and will be donated to healthcare workers at the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, who have fought “on the toughest front in a battle unprecedented for our generations,” concert organisers stated.