Wednesday, 24 June 2020


As a prelude to the opera house’s 2020/2021season, earlier this week the quartet on stage of Barcelona’s El Gran Teatre del Liceu played to a full house (pienone, casa llena), ever seat filled symbolically with over two thousand house plants as the kingdom ravaged by the coronavirus enacts its measured plans for reopening. Non-vegetal fans were able to tune in remotely via live-stream and the plants donated by local florists and garden centres will be presented as gifts to front-line workers. This is lovely.
The players’s selection of song was a fitting elegy, a threnody called Crisantemi that renowned composer Puccini created for his friend Amadeo (*1845 – †1890) upon his sudden and premature death. Duke of Aosta, Amadeo was elected as king of Spain during that land’s interregnum, but frustrated by politics and intrigues two years into his reign, He declared the people of Spain to be ungovernable, abdicated and returned to Italy for a quieter life. Spain was a republic for a brief period afterwards. His son via his second marriage, Umberto, Count of Salemi, died during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.