Its saturday morning in Wrexham and the Welsh National Opera (WNO) have plans for the unsuspecting shoppers.
A piano is placed casually on one of the aisles, giving the pianist a clear view of the door as the refrain of “my baby don’t care for shows” drifts around the space, replacing the muted elevator music usual in such a setting.
A few desultory shoppers drift in, fragments of conversation filter through the music and as the doors swing open again a pretty and heavily pregnant young woman strides in trailed closely by a man who might be her Dad.
He looks uncomfortable and as he passes by the Estee Lauder counter the assistant reaches toward him to offer a sample of ‘Eau de Wrexham racecourse’. Nothing too unusual then except the seller is actually singing Opera and worse she seems to be flirting with the man.
Now people have actually stopped in their tracks, not quite sure of whats happening and those just entering the shop become instantly aware that something is going on and are not ready to be drawn in just yet..
The story unfolds before our eyes in true operatic fashion as the young woman attempts to squeeze the man who is her lover out as much money as she can for her baby and then leaves to shop.
It becomes apparent that the perfume seller is the girls mother and she is busy trying to persuade the fraught and bumbling man to sign over his pub in a bid to secure her own future.
Meanwhile, astounded shoppers are clustered about obviously enjoying the action, waiting to see what happens next. The young woman returns weighed down with baby shopping and the lover is called away to his pub, leaving Mother and daughter to talk.
The elderly lady next to me ‘tut tutts and says, ” she’s not pregnant!” and her husband shushes her.”She isn’t you know” she exclaims, just as the girl pulls up her jumper to reveal a fake bump. “See, I told you, can’t fool me”.
The perfume seller grabs at her daughter pulling the jumper down and proclaims “you are pregnant until I get the pub”.
The elderly lady turns to me and says, “eh love you don’t get this in Nottingham on a saturday morning, is it always like this in Wrexham?” She tells me that she can’t stand opera but she was “well impressed with that lot”.
The vibrancy and energy of the Welsh National Opera is contageous with its passion and enthusiasm for bringing opera to the streets of Wrexham through a three year project called ” Nine Stories High”.
The WNO are currently in residence at the Wrexham County Borough Museum where they run a series of community workshops with a dash of flair and imagination in everything they do and you can keep up with the action too.
Watch soap; http://www.facebook.com/streetsongs
Get involved contact; firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the Museum and WNO exhibition; http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/english/heritage/wrexham_museum.htm