Someone once said that good art is timeless and always tends to recycle itself, certain themes, stories, metaphors, parables, etc. seem to always cycle through whatever medium finds itself in the public conscience at the time, taking inspiration from those that came before and inspiring those that come after. It appears that is what is happening again.
In 2011, songwriter Julia Holter released her album Tragedy, which was inspired by the ancient Greek play Hippolytus. Staying true to that wise observation, Holter’s album will now be a play all on its own. To help her with the visual and theatrical aspects, Holter teamed up with previous collaborators Yelena Zhelezov and Zoe Aja Moore, who have worked with her previously on several music videos (including “Goddess Eyes II”). Fans can catch the Tragedy Opera at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust (June 22 and 23), and the show will include new arrangements of original Tragedy tracks and will be performed by Julia, Yelena, Zoe and the Wild Up Ensemble, a group has also worked with Holter in the past.
In a statement, Holter said that Tragedy will “encounter and play with themes that resonate with both the classic text and our contemporary moment: the complexities of shame, loss of empathy, and our inability to see ourselves and one another clearly.” In addition to the themes that the music will explore, the opera will “draw upon the visual elements that originally inspired the music—shadows, reflections, echoes, fragments, statues—and will layer vocal performers, multiple channels of video (both live and sourced content) and performing objects to create a haunting emotional landscape.”
If you can’t make it to the opera you can still catch Holter at National Sawdust when she headlines the Creative Independent Northside Showcase in June as well with her own solo set. Holter also dropped off some music back in the fall with the solo track, “Vinny’s Triumph.”