Updated: Jun 21
For many of us whose lives are intrinsically tied to live events, 2020 couldn't have been a more horrendous year.
Around this time last year, almost to the day, The Gran Teatre del Liceu filled its 2,292 seats with plants for a performance by the UceLi Quartet, which it called a prelude to its 2020-2021 season. The string quartet serenaded its leafy audience with Giacomo Puccini's "Crisantemi" in a performance that was also made available to human listeners via livestream.
Yes, it wasn't a typo. They serenaded a leafy (not teary, nor dreary) audience of 2,292 plants.
To be honest, it gave me a little itty bitty sliver of hope that one day, one of Europe's most Draconian lockdowns will be over. In Barcelona, we were not even allowed to leave our houses for outdoor exercise for 60 days from 13 March. It was literally house arrest and an incredibly awful memory.
"Nature advanced to occupy the spaces we snatched from it," Eugenio Ampudio, the conceptual artist behind the unique concert, said during a rehearsal Sunday, according to Reuters. "Can we extend our empathy? Let's begin with art and music, in a great theatre, by inviting nature in." Human listeners were invited in, too, via a livestream.
These days, in June 2021, The city has indeed started waking up-- and the happiness around me is palpable.
Located in northeastern Spain, on the shores of the Mediterranean, Barcelona has long been hailed as a European cultural capital. From its thriving art scene to its incredible architecture and world-famous gastronomy, my family and many other art lovers fell head over heels for this city.
A few petulant friends and art loving maniacs had these to hold onto. Events from "long long ago" - Emphasis on air quotes which won't translate to either Spanish nor Catalan and thus I bravely share them with you today.
Something else was happening on the same day we had a Front Page News cultural event in a secret space in Urquinaona**. In a far larger venue, a much bigger experiment:
Personally speaking, I believe people in this city we've called home will always try to get the music started and keep it going.
Our final concert this Summer happens on the 26th of June. About a year after the Liceu Symphony Orchestra serenaded plants post-Lockdown, a few months after nobody tested positive after 5,000 people made the choice to attend a musical concert in Sala Apolo.
It also happens to be the night when someone turns 25. It's Liam Cloud's birthday, one of our co-founders. A quarter of a century.
Sounds like a good reason to celebrate life, brotherhood, music, community and hope! Tickets are STILL limited, we can only have 50 of you join us, secure your seats - Tickets come with a welcome drink in a Vintage Vaudeville Theatre (next to MACBA in Universitat)
**Temperatures taken at the door and less than 30% of venue capacity admitted. The bookshop / concert hall also had 03 Ionizers to clean the air and a massive balcony overlooking Urquinaona from the 6th floor