Tragedy | Julia Holter at National Sawdust
80 NORTH 6TH ST
Brooklyn , NY
in June we join our friend Julia Holter at National Sawdust in the operatic version of her album Tragedy
In his play Hippolytus, written over two thousand years ago, Euripides explored the tragic depths of human shame and self-destruction under oppressive powers, themes which remain relevant today. In 2011, Julia Holter recorded an album called Tragedy inspired by Hippolytos and setting some of its text, and now artists Yelena Zhelezov and Zoe Aja Moore are working with Holter to create a staging of Tragedy at National Sawdust.
The original recording of Tragedy consists of layers of melodic songs, found sound, and atmospheric instrumental music—an emotional collaged response to the classic work in a contemporary female voice. The opera will bring the sounds from the record (recorded all and mostly performed by Julia in relatively low-fidelity) into a live setting of new arrangements for an ensemble of herself, Zhelezov, Moore, and the ensemble “Wild Up”.
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. The mise-en-scene of 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.