Last year Karen O premiered her 'psycho opera' Stop the Virgens in New York as part of the Creators Project. This year there's a second staging of the production as part of Vivid Festival at the Sydney Opera House.
Stop the Virgens is a multiverse of senses - textural, visual, sensual, aural and dramatic combine into a crescendo of transforming emotions. Themes of death, rebirth, purity and impurity, female authority, sexuality, atonement, light and dark weave through this "psycho opera".
Karen O has an amazing stage presence in concert but in the Opera House Theatre her talents really shone - the amazing vocals, gumption and sheer energy were on deliciously unique display.
When Shirley Manson recently mentioned that there was no great rock chicks around at the moment she must've forgotten about K O - this woman can go head to head with any of the greats. When making the tracks for this show 7 years ago, Karen soon realised they were more than an album.
What makes this production incredible is the sheer number of combined creative talent. Production designer KK Barrett, the man behind Spike Jones' projects and movies such as "Lost In Translation" and "Being John Malkovich" is responsible for the incredible multi-dimensional tilted stage where mirrors and projections add alternate worlds, Adam Rapp (In Treatment, Red Light Winter ) is the director, long term partner Christian Joy envisioned the fantastical costumes, Sam Spiegel (aka Squeak E. Clean ) and Yeah Yeah Yeah's band mates Nick Zinner and Brian Chase are at the forefront of a stunning full band of 13 friends and collaborators, including Money Mark (Beastie Boys), Jason Grisell (Bubbles), Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence (The Greenhornes, The Raconteurs).
Joined by a 36 Virgen choir the play is a feast of elements that combine into one rapturously wonderful production.
Words and photos by Tanja G.
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