Barcelona Opera House Reopens and Performs for 2,292 plants

There’s a bit of an urban legend that plants actually respond positively to the sound of music. If it’s true, then what genre do they appreciate? Are they more fans of Mozart or Ravel?

This particular rumor that everyone has heard at least once is actually the result of several real-life studies done over the years. And the evidence is quite extraordinary. In 1973, “The Secret Life of Plants” was published by Christopher Bird and Peter Tompkins which was an intense analysis into the relationship between Man and Plants. Bird and Tompkins postulated that music not only helps plants grow, but that they maintain a level of consciousness throughout- and if consciousness exists, so does a sense of taste.

One of the earliest studies of the effect of music on plants was conducted in 1962 by Dr. T. C. Singh, Head of Botany at Annamalia University. He exposed balsam plants to classical music and found that their growth rate increased by 20% compared to a control group, along with a 72% increase in biomass. He then exposed crops to raga music over loudspeakers and found they yielded 25% – 60% more than the national average.

Recently, over two thousands plants were treated to a concert at one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses. After a three-month closure, El Liceu in Barcelona, Spain, held a performance of Puccini’s Crisantemi for 2,292 plants.

The project is the brainchild of Spanish artist Eugenio Ampudia, artistic director at the opera house. According to the artist, the concert looks to tackle whether humans can expand the concept of empathy to include our relationships with other species.

It’s an interesting substitution for live human crowds, which are still slowly returning to the concert halls, but not as quickly as we’d all like. However, until things change, we can all appreciate a few humorous, surreal concerts as a response to these equally surreal times.