Barcelona’s Liceu opera house hosts its first concert since lockdown to a “crowd” of plants, while the Royal Shakespeare Company could fully close up shop until the pandemic ends…

Liceu opera house

Barcelona’s Liceu opera house is set to host its first concert since COVID-19 to a crowd of more than 2,000 plants.

The event will be livestreamed for fans to watch as the Uceli string quartet plays Puccini’s Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums) to a concert hall full of a variety of plants.

The 2,292-seat venue will have a plant rooted in every seat when it reopens on Monday. The plants will then be donated to 2,292 health workers as a thank you for their work during the pandemic.

Eugenio Ampudia, the conceptual artist behind the concert, said, according to the Guardian: “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.

“And it has done so at its own rhythm, according to its patient biological cycle. Can we broaden our empathy and bring it to bear on other species? Let’s start by using art and music and inviting nature into a great concert hall.”

Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) may be forced into “drastic hibernation” after the COVID-19 shutdown of events saw it lose 75 per cent of its income “overnight”.

The arts organisation, which is one of the best-funded in Britain, relies on public subsidy for a quarter of its income, with the rest disappearing due to the pandemic.

The Stratford-upon-Avon theatre has continued to put on educational work amid the lockdown and has maintained a contract with the acting company that was meant to open in The Winter’s Tale this year, with actors involved in community work.

RSC is also looking to stage some form of outdoor performance over the summer and has been working with the BBC to get plays from its archive on-screen.

However, Erica Whyman, the organisation’s deputy artistic director, said shutting down until COVID-19 passes seems like a “best-case scenario”.

Cinemark

Cinemark, the third largest cinema chain in the US, has detailed a phased reopening plan beginning with five cinemas in Dallas from tomorrow (Friday).

The chain, which has a presence throughout the Americas and in Taiwan, will be the first to reopen in the US after being shuttered for three months due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

The reopening will occur in four phases with more locations reopening on July 3, July 10 and finally July 17.

Cinemark, which has 345 theatres in the US, said it will double down on cleaning and sanitising measures, while also reducing showtimes, staggering seating, introducing hand sanitising stations and increasing air filtration.

While staff will be required to wear face masks and gloves, it will not be mandatory for guests.

Cinemark chief executive Mark Zoradi told Variety: “If a particular state or county requires face masks, we will abide by that. We will strongly encourage it, but if the county or city has not deemed it a requirement, we will not require it on top of that.”

The cinema company is in the process of rehiring thousands of furloughed employees. Each venue will be assigned a designated chief clean and safety monitor to make sure physical distancing and cleanliness measures are being implemented.

Cinemark will initially show classic titles like Ghostbusters, Wonder Woman and Goonies for reduced ticket prices to encourage people back to theatres after lockdown. For the first month of opening, adults will pay $5 for a ticket, while children and seniors will pay $3.

Image: Liceu