the Wooster Group's "La Didone"

gods, demigods, heroes and zombies, running into and through each other, for a very fine evening

It's the most brilliant performance (theater and/or music) I've seen and heard in ages. The Wooster Group's current miracle, "La Didone", is an incredibly-inspired conflation of two relatively obscure Italian dramas, a 1960's space adventure film and an early seventeenth-century opera.

The result is a magnificent burlesque (or let's say, burlesco) which "rockets" past Mario Bava's 1965 cult movie "Terrore nello spazio", and could on its own great merits restore Francesco Cavalli's early baroque opera "La Didone" [libretto by Giovan Francesco Busenello] to the canon of Western music. It's a seemingly impossible creation, a moving jumble of exquisite beauty and low comedy.

It's unlike anything I've ever seen or heard, and I'm a veteran Wooster Group-ie.

We saw the work last night in the St. Ann's Warehouse space in DUMBO. Performances will continue through April 26, for the very, very lucky. And, yes, there are [very discreet] supertitles.

Sanya of the Argos (Kate Valk) encounters dying boar of Carthage (Scott Shepherd)

The entire company, both individually and as an ensemble, was superb, but mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn as Dido, and bass-baritone and countertenor [sic] Andrew Nolen (Neptune, Jarbas, Ilioneus, Jove, Ghost Chorus, and Kir) were absolutely amazing. Also, the primary three instrumentalists, who worked with a synthesizer keyboard, a Theorbo alternating with a Baroque guitar, and an electric guitar, were augmented on and off throughout the evening by the accordian and tambourine of Kamala Sankaram when this voluptuous and engaging performer wasn't called on to sing Juno, Mercury, Dido's sister Anna or the voice of Cupid, representing, if I can remember correctly, just about every female vocal range.

When we returned to the apartment last night and sat down to dinner, Barry chose to play some more unconventional music. His choice was perfectly in sync with what we had just heard in Brooklyn: Luc Ferrari's "Cycle des Souvenirs". Just a little night music.

[video from St. Ann's; still image by Paula Court from Performance Club]