Hannah Drake onstage. Photo: David Borman III


Breaking the Mold: Gender Identity

Orchestra Enigmatic

Review by Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2019 by Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

“No matter who you are, you are all beautiful and you matter.” This message, spoken by Sister Melody Voluptuous of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence between numbers set the tone for Orchestra Enigmatic’s Breaking the Mold: Gender Identity at Art Sanctuary on Saturday night. A musical celebration of inclusion and joy, Orchestra Enigmatic presented a wide range of music. A sweeping spectrum of sounds and tones matching images and visuals, the night of music had something for everyone.

Building upon a veritable wow-factor and always changing what orchestral music has the potential to be, Breaking the Mold delivered high-quality goods. Mashing up the traditional orchestra with experimental, improvisational, electronic, and punk rock, the shifts and collaboration of sounds bring whole new ideas to gender fluidity, equality, and advocacy. In addition to a full roster of talented musicians, local artist HM Thompson displayed a Queer Playground within Art Sanctuary. Patrons were encouraged to play and interact with the artwork. Sitting and swinging on broad shapes, deep curves, and round edges with a primary color scheme, the interactive exhibit was engaging and bold in its presentation.

The evening of music started with “Lola”, a multisensory electric composition by Alex Temple. The tones of this comparatively short piece, paired nicely with slight lighting effects. “Mayapalis for cello and electronics” by Riley Short, performed by Goldie Latta displayed the contrast between deep crescendos and choppy high notes through a discordant melody. Scott Sams (performing as Sister Melody Voluptuous), Jackie Royce and Bethany Cohern delivered a spritely and bouncy jazz-infused “Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano” by Madeline Dring.

Alexandra Enyart provided mellifluous and rhythmic leadership as the conductor for the evening’s chamber players. The first act ends with the lovely and soaring “Constellations,” written by Irish composer, Emma O’Halloran. According to her address to the audience, O’Halloran wrote this piece in reaction to the lack of female composers prior to the late 20th Century. The representation of female voices was ever present at the top of the second act. Dane Waters, who lends her vocals to O’Halloran’s work, appears again to sing, Francis Poulene’s, “Non monsieur mon mari.” Waters adds fun and cheeky flair and even has a little fun with some balloons in her dress. Susan Hahn bends tradition by taking on pants roles with “Voi che sapete” from Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro.” Hahn brings heartfelt emotion and yearning to the operatic piece.

The strongest pieces arrived at the end of the night. “Spaces,” the collaboration between Hannah Drake and Riley Short, combined an epic, stirring underscore with powerful words. Drake’s descriptions how it is, “…difficult to stand in spaces” were simple, strong, and sharp in their impact. Lexington based Drag Queen Gilda Wabbit brought bawdy and flirtatious energy to her Bizet and Puccini arias. Without question, her Gilbert and Sullivan parody, “Modern Major Drag Queen Yass!” stole the show. The evening ended with a thrashing and emotional performance of “What is Now” and “Cost Daddy” by the local punk band, Bathroom Laws.

The audience this night was an assortment of ages, genders, race, and just about anything you can think of. As the music flowed from electronic pieces through opera to punk, one had a sense of new perspectives gained and points of views broadening. As Orchestra Enigmatic broke the mold through music, a little bit of community was built.

Breaking the Mold: Gender Identity

June 1, 2019

Orchestra Enigmatic
Art Sanctuary
1433 South Shelby Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40217


Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for LEO Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. Thanks for reading!