Anais Mitchell will be performing the music from her Hadestown Opera tonight Joe’s Pub. I’m a big fan of Anais’ and it kills me that I have to miss this show, but if you’re reading this, and you’re not busy tonight, I encourage you to go. But if you absolutely can’t make it, the good news is that the “Music of Hadestown” album will be released by Righteous Babe Records in 2009. Hopefully we’ll also get to see the full scale opera (complete with costumes and sets) in NYC at some point in the future as well. Here’s a little bit more about the show:
For centuries, the tragic Greek myth of Orpheus & Eurydice, in which the lyre-playing Orpheus descends into the underworld and attempts to win back his fallen bride Eurydice through the power of music, has been mined by artists from all corners of the world – a testament to its depth and universal appeal. Anais Mitchell‘s Hadestown, created in collaboration with composer Michael Chorney and director Ben T. Matchstick brings this timeless story into a contemporary context that is poetically, musically and visually fresh. The folk opera takes its inspiration from Depression-era America: the underworld is not the land of the dead but an exploitative company town; Hades is a sadistic wall-building boss-king whose wife Persephone moonlights as the proprietress of a speakeasy; and Orpheus wields not a lyre but a banjo. But the opera is not so much a history lesson as it is a rich patchwork of artistic vision, social commentary and raw human emotion. Old-fashioned symbols of poverty and exploitation are fused with a kind of futurism “” albeit a clunky, analog, “vintage” futurism (think post-apocalyptic Jeunet/Caro films City of the Lost Children and Delicatessen) “” which prompts reflection on just how much we’ve evolved (or devolved) as a society since the 1930s. Above all, Hadestown is a love story – a love story exploring what becomes of the human condition under the most tragic and trying of circumstances.