St. Ann's Warehouse welcomes back Cynthia Hopkins-having commissioned and presented the artist's work since 2004-for the world premiere of her new song cycle extravaganza, This Clement World. Featuring original avant-folk songs performed by a seven-piece band and a choir, documentary footage Hopkins shot on an Arctic expedition with Cape Farewell, and the artist inhabiting three fictional characters on-stage, This Clement World offers a poetic but urgent perspective on global climate change.
Fourteen performances of This Clement World will take place at the new St. Ann's Warehouse (29 Jay Street) tonight, February 5-17, 2013 (see above schedule).
This Clement World illuminates the ways in which humanity is rendering its habitat inhospitable to itself, and points up the changes of behavior necessary to maintain a habitable climate for future generations. The new work takes Hopkins' signature approach to narrative, blending music, songs, text, movement, visual display and design.
This Clement World interweaves three storytelling forms. The first is a documentary film that Hopkins shot during a three-week Arctic expedition funded by Cape Farewell, a non-profit organization that pioneers a cultural response to climate change. The second is a folk opera for solo voice and chorale. The final element is Hopkins' portrayal of three fictional characters: the ghost of a Native American woman of the Cheyenne tribe who was murdered during the 1864 massacre at Sand Creek; a neutral alien observer visiting from the far reaches of outer space; and a child from the not-so-distant future who has traveled back in time to visit the present. Each character offers a unique perspective on the fragility of our currently clement world.
The ensemble includes Hopkins on lead vocals and multiple instruments, Wil Smith (piano), Kristin Mueller (drums), Matt Wigton (bass), Sam Kulik (trombone), Ben Holmes (trumpet), Karen Waltuch (viola), and Philippa Thompson (violin/guitar) and vocalists Charlotte Mundy (soprano), Gideon Crevoshay (tenor), Michael Zegarski (bass) and Paul Pontrelli (bass).
St. Ann's Warehouse's commissioning (with the Walker Art Center and Les Subsistances) and premiere of This Clement World follows St. Ann's development and premiere of all three shows comprising Hopkins' highly acclaimed Accidental Trilogy. The ambitious project, a hybrid of intergalactic narrative, emotive music, innovative orchestral environments and immersive video, explored themes of amnesia, nostalgia and shifting identity, in a search for solace.
Cynthia Hopkins is a writer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and theater artist. She creates and performs unique multi-media performance pieces that intertwine truth and fiction and have won her a host of awards, including the 2007 Alpert Award in Theater and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship. Through the process of making performances, she attempts to alchemize disturbance into works of intrigue and hope that simultaneously stimulate the senses, provoke emotion, and enliven the mind. She is dedicated to creating groundbreaking original works that investigate innovative forms of communication, melding music, text, technical and theatrical design, and video with unbelievable fact and outrageous fiction. Her mission is to obscure the distinction between edification and entertainment through the creation of works that are as philosophical as they are entertaining, as intellectually challenging as they are viscerally emotional, as deeply comical as they are tragic, and as historically aware as they are immediately engaging. Please visit cynthiahopkins.com to learn more.
In addition to creating multi-media performance works, Ms. Hopkins also produces concerts and albums of music. She formed a band called Gloria Deluxe in 1999 that featured a revolving cast of musicians, performing hundreds of concerts and releasing five full-length albums. During its ten year existence (from 1999 until 2009) Gloria Deluxe developed an enthusiastic following for its unique blend of folk, cabaret, rock, blues, and country music, opening for legendary artists including David Byrne and Patti Smith.