As part of the complementary programming for the summer exhibition The Berlin Painter and His World, the Toledo Museum of Art presents “Great Performances: Oracle Hysterical, Hecuba” Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. in the Peristyle. Tickets are $10 or $5 for Museum members and available at toledomuseum.eventbrite.com.
Oracle Hysterical, a collective of composers and performers, describes themselves as “half band, half book club,” combining classical musicianship with pop-rock sensibility. The group employs eclectic musical influences with a range of literary backdrops, offering an adaptation of literature through song. Their upcoming presentation of Hecuba, based on the play by Euripedes written in 424 B.C., will be the first time it is performed in front of a live audience since the album of the same name was completed.
“This group creates genre-bending musical works. Anyone who enjoys exploring independent music – think Pitchfork, for example – will want to check out this performance,” said Scott Boberg, manager of programs and audience engagement at TMA. “The Peristyle and The Berlin Painter provide the perfect setting for their contemporary musical take on ancient Greek literature.”
Hecuba is both a live concert and an art-rock concept album, telling the blood-soaked tale of love, loss, murder, revenge and the Trojan War. Oracle Hysterical previewed Hecuba with the Chicago Composers Orchestra in 2014. “The project folds classic text into a modern sound world; we call it ‘psychedelic electro-acoustic,’” said Doug Balliett, founding member of Oracle Hysterical. “The opportunity to perform this album in conjunction with The Berlin Painter and in a theater inspired by a Greek agora really spoke to us.” The album releases in May 2018.
Twin brothers Doug and Brad Balliett playing double bass and viola da gamba and bassoon, respectively, combine with Majel Connery on vocals; Elliot Cole provides vocals and plays harmonium; and Dylan Greene is on percussion. For this performance, Christopher Botta will join as both guitarist and live sound engineer. More information is available at oraclehysterical.com.
Parking at the Museum is free for members and $7 for nonmembers. Great Performances is supported in part by the Dorothy MacKenzie Price Fund.