Dr. Amy Wagenfeld: Nurture through Nature: Plants Attend the Barcelona Opera

nurture through nature concert for plants

This month I would like to take a few moments to share a fascinating biophilic and profoundly humanitarian story with you.

Hello and welcome back to Nurture through Nature. In my previous blog post, I introduced the concept of biophilia, the idea that humans are hard wired to connect with and affiliate with nature. This month I would like to take a few moments to share a fascinating biophilic and profoundly humanitarian story with you. First off, thanks to my dear friend and colleague, landscape architect David Kamp, for alerting me to this beautiful story.

As we remain in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, experiencing nature remains front and center important for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Recall that these connections can be made by being outside or indoors. Research supports the benefits of both types of experiences. This month our biophilic magic happened inside. On June 22, 2020, the Barcelona’s Lieu Opera opened for the first time since mid-March (Triesman, 2020).  Instead of playing to an audience of people, the house was filled, every last of the 2,292 seats, with plants (Triesman, 2020)! The UceLi Quartet performed Puccini’s “Crisantemi,” (translation: Chysanthemums), which seems fitting, doesn’t it? Evidently Puccini wrote this elegy in one night as a reaction to the death of the Duke of Savoy (AllMusic, 2020). It is a dark, richly melodic, and flowing piece (AllMusic, 2020), well suited for reflection and repose. Watching and listening to the performance made me feel safely nestled and supported within the rich and varied foliage of the plants. I invite you to watch the performance (the URL follows below).

The Liceu’s artistic director and curator, Ms. Blanca de la Torre indicated that the inspiration for this beautiful performance was to offer a “perspective that brings us closer to something as essential as our relationship to nature” (Triesman, 2020). Does this sound like biophilia? Yes! The story only gets better. All of the plants who attended the concert are being donated to 2,292 healthcare professionals, mainly those working at the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona (Triesman, 2020). Healthcare workers have and remain at the front line of battling Covid-19. We are eternally grateful to their ongoing and heroic efforts. Providing them with a small gift of nature is profound and for many, deeply meaningful. Nature indoors heals, as does, music.

Instead of spending too many minutes reading this blog post, instead, please treat yourself to spend nine minutes to watch the video of the performance of “Crisantemi,” being sure to stay tuned until the end. In many ways, the ending is completely unexpected and simply blissful. I hope that watching this video helps you feel enriched and refreshed. 

Until next month, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought about the video and your nature and music connections!

Amy Wagenfeld



AllMusic (2020). Giacomo Puccini. Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums), elegy for string quartet.


Liceu Opera Barcelona. (2020). Concierto para el biceno. https://www.liceubarcelona.cat/en/concierto_bioceno

Triesman, R (2020, June 22). Barcelona Opera reopens with an audience of plants. https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/06/22/881943143/barcelona-opera-reopens-with-an-audience-of-plants


Comment on:
27/07/2020 04h30

I have also so touched by the closing; it looks as if the plants were clapping and communicating with the musicians. During the pandemic period, I am able to more appreciate the little things from nature, such as looking at growing sprout seeds, blooming flowers, shade trees, blue sky, and waves on the ocean…
I hope the beautiful song of plants could be delivered well to the 2,292 people who have been on the healthcare frontlines, giving them some relaxing moments while they are looking at their plants.