Ever the pioneer, Lizzo made another first during a tour stop in Washington, DC – playing the roughly 200-year-old crystal flute of a former US president.
“About Damn Time” The singer and master flutist carefully played the delicate woodwind, which French flute maker Claude Laurent had sent as a gift to James Madison in 1813. The Library of Congress kept the flute in its vault for decades before Lizzo was allowed to play it on stage.
in footage Shared by concertgoers, Lizzo played the flute under the watchful eye of library staff and Capitol Police. She briefly shared the history of the flute with her audience and said she was “the first person to play it.”
“B***h, I’m scared,” she said to laughter from the audience. “That’s crystal. It’s like playing through a wine glass, be patient.”
She played a note on the crystal flute, pausing excitedly as it sounded, accordingly Lizzo shared a video on social media. Then, she blew a few more fluttering notes over it, moving carefully as she played, as is her signature. Seconds later, she held the flute high in the air, triumphant, and carefully returned it to the staff waiting a few feet away.
“B,***h, I just picked up and played a James Madison crystal flute from the 1800s,” she said in disbelief. “We made history tonight!”
Lizzo later thanked the library for “preserving our history” and reminded her fans that “history is cool.”
Earlier this week, the Library of Congress invited Lizzo to tour the library’s largest collection of 1,700 flutes in the world. The library said she carefully played the flute there “before serenading the staff and some researchers” with the “more practical” woodwind.
Lizzo asked the library if she could play the famous flute for a few moments during her Washington show, and the library obliged, though she sent the Capitol Police in charge of security and several other personnel with the flute to ensure safety.
The recent Emmy winner regularly plays the flute during her concerts, and has experimented with other rare and valuable flutes, including a partial one for woodwind called the Sasha flute, an 18k-gold instrument.
The flute is extremely rare: The Library of Congress holds 20 Laurent-made flutes in its vaults, but it is only one of two made of crystal, according to the library. Madison’s custom-made flute had a silver insert with his name on it.
But its journey to the library’s collection was circuitous and took 100 years. First Lady Dolley Madison may have saved the flute during the 1814 White House fire, the library said. Dolley Madison’s son John Payne Todd from her first marriage to Washington-based Dr. came into possession of Cornelius Boyle.
Boyle’s descendants allowed the flute to be displayed in the US National Museum, originally part of the Smithsonian Institution, in 1903, until Dayton C. Miller, another physician and woodwind enthusiast, didn’t buy it. He later donated the crystal flute along with 1,700 instruments to the library in 1941, where it remained until his stage debut with Lizzo.