If you’d been in McDonald Road Library (my local library) yesterday, you would have seen this couple kissing between the bookshelves. And, no, they were not asked to leave. This was a Love in a Library event, one in a series of guerrilla operas which are part of Edinburgh International Festival’s year round outreach programme. I have to tell you, I am not an opera goer but I loved Love in a Library.
Love in a Library told, through a selection of songs, the story of a long-lasting unrequited love between a librarian and an avid reader and of the moment they finally reveal their true feelings to each other. It was performed by soprano Emma Morwood (the loveliest librarian in the Lothians) and tenor Chris Elliot (who’s admired her from afar) and accompanied by pianist Ingrid Sawers. The musical director was Sam Hutchings.
What I most liked about Love in The Library – apart from the absolutely amazing performance by Emma Morwood and Chris Elliot – was how everyone reacted to these two wonderful operatic singers bequeathing their love to each other in song.
At first chaos seemed to reign: Mums struggled to restrain toddlers; an older man in a turban watched slightly confused; cheeky children ran in and out of the lending room, squealing and giggling (one of them even found an office chair with wheels and went on a bit of a chair-wheeling rampage between the childrens’ bookshelves!); regular library goers came and went somewhat bewildered; a dog, tied up at the entrance to the library began barking and then howling, and three elderly ladies (not far from where I sat) debated whether the actors were married or not.
However, above the clamour, the singing of our two heroes rang out clear and resolute. Gradually, the dog stopped barking, and everyone, including the cheeky children, became mesmerized. Our lovers sang in English, French and German. No one needed translations, the language of love is universal. And then to the finale, the kiss, which so shocked the cheeky children they ran out of the room with embarrassment, not so cheeky after all;o)
What a wonderful way to brighten up a dull day and what a way to make “highbrow” music accessible to such a broad range of people, including myself. A good time was had by all (well,
almost everyone, not sure if the guy in the headphones was aware anything had happened but …). Oh yes, and I borrowed three library books ;o)
The last performance of Love in a Library is today, the 16th, at Morningside Library, 11.30am. If you hurry you’ll make it.
What do you think about such events? Would you enjoy going to borrow a book from your library and finding a guerrilla opera underway, or would prefer peace and quiet? If it was up to you, what would you like to see performed in your local library?