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Barcelona Opera Plays to Houseplants

Barcelona Opera opened to its most unusual live audience on Monday, houseplants.
The houseplants got a free pass to the show at Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

It was the first time the opera played since mid-March and all 2,292 of its seats were filled for a performance by the UceLi Quartet, which it called a prelude to its 2020-2021 season. The houseplants enjoyed being serenaded by the quartet with Giacomo Puccini’s “Crisantemi” which humans got to enjoy too via livestream.

It’s been demonstrated that plants do respond to the environment around them. They perceive light, scent, touch, wind, even gravity, and are able to respond to sounds, too, according to the California Academy of Sciences.
Music is not reported to help plants grow, even classical music. But other audio cues can help plants survive and thrive in their environment.

Conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia created the event with the houseplants from nearby nurseries. The music played by UceLi string quartet featured the Puccini elegy, “Crisantemi”, which translates to “chrysanthemums”, a fitting piece for the leafy crowd.

Perhaps some herbs were even in the audience. Herbs like basil, thyme, chives and oregano make excellent houseplants.
The audience was quiet but did show it’s appreciation by swaying with applause, shivering their leaves and rattling branches. Ok, some hard blowing fans and other mechanical manipulations made that possible.

But musicians need an audience and need to know they’re appreciated. Sometimes an unusual audience is needed. It’s not every day the Barcelona opera plays to houseplants.
The leafy concert was a unique way for Spain to mark its healing from the pandemic. After the concert, the houseplants were donated to frontline workers at hospitals.
After experiencing one of the worst Covid-19 coronavirus outbreaks in the world, Spain ended its national state of emergency on Tuesday.
Perhaps this leafy concert may be the start of more ways to heal with nature?
Whether the Barcelona opera plays to houseplants again remains to be seen.
Who knows, but growing your own herbs is a good way to experience the benefits of nature.

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