Puccini, Plants, and Pandemic - My Tuscan Aria

Your eyes do not deceive you!

These are live plants occupying over 2,000 seats in the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona's Opera House. It is the Theatre's opening night performance after Spain lifted lock down restrictions about a week ago.

Spanish artist, Eugenio Ampudia created the event and explains what inspired him:

“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 more intimate way with people and nature....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.”

The Theatre's Artistic Director had this to say:

"After a strange, painful period, the creator and the Liceu's Artistic Director offer us a different perspective for our return to activity, a perspective that brings us closer to something as essential as our relationship with nature. We welcome you and lead a highly symbolic act that defends the value of art, music and nature as a letter of introduction to our return to activity."

The Quartet plays a six minute piece written by Giacomo Puccini. While mostly known for his operatic masterpieces such as Madame Butterfly and La Boheme, this work is without lyrics.

It is called "Cristanemi", which is Italian for Chrysanthemums. It was written in 1890 as a musical tribute to King Amadeo of Spain, a close friend of Puccini. It is said he wrote it the very evening he heard of his friend's death.

It is a moody piece of music. It is sad, beautiful, poignant....not unlike the emotions we are all feeling right now. I was very moved watching this and wanted to share it with you, as it captures past, present and future: loss and grief, but also possibility and hope.

So, the concert is not without its lighter effect. If you watch til the end, your tears will turn to delight as the plants "applaud."

And if that isn't enough, the plants which came from local nurseries were donated along with a certificate from the Artist to 2,292 health care professionals working on the front lines at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona.

If you are so inclined, please let me know what you thought about it. What emotions came up for you?

Thanks for reading. Happy Summer. Stay well.

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