Love in a… pop-up opera

March 15, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More

EIF’s guerilla opera returns – with more tunes

Chris Elliott and Emma Morwood (standing) at the John Hope Gateway. Photo © Thom Dibdin

Chris Elliott and Emma Morwood (standing) at the John Hope Gateway. Photo © Thom Dibdin

By Thom Dibdin

The Love in a… series of pop-up opera events has returned for a third helping with a new series Ghosts in a… to add to the repertoire.

Unlike previous years, where venues were only announced on social media on the day of the event, the EIF has published a full schedule of all the performances for this year.

The first of these, Love in a Flowerbed, took place as a dry run on Sunday 9 March, when unsuspecting punters in the Botanics new Hope Gateway building, were slightly bemused to see soprano Emma Morwood and tenor Chris Elliott declaring their love for each other through the medium of a themed song-cycle.

The next performance is Saturday 15 March, with Love in a Library at Morningside Library, 11.30am. The first performances of Ghosts in a Garden take place on Sunday 23 at the Botanics’ Palm House. Between now and August, a total of 13 venues across Edinburgh will play host to 25 free performances, accompanied by pianist Andrew Brown.

“It is a longer tour, a precursor to the festival,” series director Sally Hobson told Æ. “We have three different repertoires. One about love in a bookshop or a library and one that is about love in a garden and they are a different range of songs. The new one, Ghosts in a… is specifically referencing this year’s festival.”

One of the themes of Festival 2014, to be announced fully on Tuesday 18, is a commemoration of the First World War. And in the new song-cycle, audiences will happen upon a nurse and a soldier singing a story about courage in the time of conflict.

“a bigger question”

“It is a different feeling,” Hobson says. “It is more to do with a broader question of love, a bigger question. The first two have been about romantic love or love in nature, this is about exploring a deeper love to do with surrender and sacrifice, decisions we make in our lives that are given or directed by love but which might not meet an immediate need but which respond to a deeper calling of love.”

It takes a lot of guts for a singer to step off the stage and start performing amongst their audience. But, as both Emma Morwood and Chris Elliott said when the spoke to Æ after their performance on the 9th, the returns are great.

“People rarely get the chance to be up close and personal with a singer and feel the force of it,” says Chris Elliott. “We trained for decades so we get used to it and we forget the immediate thrill of it – especially when you come across it for the first time. So it is really lovely to be in the midst of people, to surprise them and just to see the reactions that you get.”

“These songs were written to be sung in small, intimate spaces,” Emma Morwood adds. “It brings it back to the storytelling and the intimacy that they were written with. I like getting in among the punters and it’s fun to do a bit of play-acting before hand.

“They had no idea I was going to start singing, I was just pottering around just picking leaves out of the bottom of the pots and stuff and then you start singing.”

Love in a… and Ghost in a… dates and venues 2014:

March 2014
Saturday 15 March Love in a Library Morningside Library 11.30am
Sunday 23 March Ghosts in a Garden Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 1.30pm
Sunday 23 March Ghosts in a Garden Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 3.30pm
April
Wednesday 30 April Love in a Bookshop Blackwell’s Bookshop 3.30pm
May
Wednesday 7 May Love in a Palace Holyroodhouse Café 2.30pm
Saturday 10 May Love a Bookshop City Arts Centre 1.00pm
Tuesday13 May Love in a Library Central Library 12.30pm
Friday 16 May Love in a Museum National Museum of Scotland Lates 7.30pm
Saturday 17 May Ghosts in a Gallery Surgeons’ Hall 11.30am
Saturday 17 May Ghosts in a Gallery Surgeons’ Hall 3.00pm
Sunday 18 May Ghosts in a Gallery Scottish National Gallery 3.00pm
June
Monday 9 June Love in a Library Stockbridge Library 3.30pm
Tuesday 10 June Love in a Library Central Library 12.30pm
Thursday12 June Love a Bookshop Blackwell’s Bookshop 3.30pm
Friday 13 June Love in a Library Westerhailes Library 3.30pm
Wednesday 18 June Love in a Palace Holyroodhouse Café 2.30pm
Thursday 19 June Love in a Library Fountainbridge Library 2.00pm
Friday 20 June Love in a Library Oxgangs Library 11.00am
Saturday 21 June Ghost in a Gallery City Arts Centre 1.00pm
Sunday 22 June Love in a Gallery Scottish National Gallery 2.30pm
Sunday 29 June Ghosts in a Gallery National Museum of Scotland 2.15pm
July
Tuesday 15 July Ghosts in a Gallery National Museum of Scotland 2.15pm
Wednesday 23 July Love in a Library Morningside Library 3.00pm
Tuesday 29 July Ghosts in a Gallery National Museum of Scotland 2.15pm
August
Thursday 7 August Ghosts in a Gallery Scottish National Portrait Gallery 2.30pm

Details on the EIF website: www.eif.co.uk/artsong

ENDS

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  1. vimi says:

    Thanks so much for this Thom. I enjoyed this so much last year, now I can’t wait for these!

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