Pop star Lizzo surprised many during a concert on Tuesday in Washington DC when she took to the stage to play a 200-year-old crystal flute, once owned by former US President James Madison.
The famed crystal flute was designed and created by French aristocrat Claude Laurent, who gifted it to Madison in 1813. The Library of Congress states that 185 glass flutes created by Laurent have survived, while the crystal ones are even rarer, reports The Economic Times.
Lizzo Plays 200-Year-Old Crystal Flute
It was a symbolic moment as the trained flautist was granted permission by The Library of Congress to play the instrument, which arrived on stage with a police escort.
“I’m scared,” Lizzo said, as she took the sparkling instrument from Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford, a curator at the Library of Congress, who had carefully removed the flute from its customised protective case. “It’s crystal. It’s like playing out of a wineglass.”
As the crowd roared, Lizzo played a note, stuck out her tongue in amazement, and then played another note as she twerked in front of thousands of cheering fans. She then carried the flute over her head, giving the crowd at Capital One Arena one last look, before handing it back to Ward-Bamford. Check out the video here.
The moment came together after Carla D. Hayden, the first African American and the first woman to lead the Library of Congress, asked Lizzo on Friday to visit the library’s flute collection, the largest in the world, with about 1,700 instruments.
Hayden tagged the singer and wrote on Twitter: “Lizzo we would love for you to come to see it and even play a couple when you are in DC next week. Like your song they are ‘Good as hell.’”
Lizzo responded without much hesitation.
“I’M COMING CARLA! AND I’M PLAYING THAT CRYSTAL FLUTE!!!!!” she responded.
Lizzo arrived Monday, with her mother and members of her band. Hayden and staff members ushered her into the “flute vault,” and gave her a tour of the collection, which includes fifes, piccolos and a flute shaped like a walking stick, which Lizzo said she might want as a Christmas present. The singer spent more than three hours at the library, trying out several instruments, staff members said.
Hearing @lizzo play some of the Library’s priceless antique instruments on Monday was such a gift, and we were honored and happy to help her share that gift with her concert audience Tuesday night. Here is some more behind-the-scenes footage of her Library tour. #LizzoAtLOC pic.twitter.com/OQc4K3YXBg
— Library of Congress (@librarycongress) September 28, 2022
When Lizzo asked if she could play Madison’s crystal flute at her concert Tuesday, the library’s collection, preservation and security teams swung into action, ensuring the instrument could be safely delivered to her onstage.
Lizzo told her cheering fans after she played the instrument: “Thank you to the Library of Congress for preserving our history and making history freaking cool. History is freaking cool, you guys.”