THIS CLEMENT WORLD Opens 2/5 at St. Ann's Warehouse
St. Ann's Warehouse (Artistic Director, Susan Feldman; Executive Director, Andrew D. Hamingson) will welcome 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) February 5-17, 2013 (see above schedule). Critics are welcome as of Friday, February 8 for an official opening on Sunday, February 10.
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. The Village Voice said Accidental Nostalgia offered a "delight of incongruities," The New York Times called Must Don't Whip 'Um (Part II) "a triumph of disciplined thinking, narrative fluidity and musical accomplishment," and Time Out New York's five-star review of Part III, The Success of Failure (or, The Failure of Success), called Hopkins "a breathtaking visionary."