“k a t a b a s i s” at Getty Villa

Photo by Michael Amico.

Take a thrilling descent into the underworld!

Fourlarks, a Los Angeles-based performance troupe, returns to the Getty Villa in January to present their Villa Premiere Presentation, katabasis. Due to disruptions related to the Woolsey fire in Malibu last month, the Getty Villa was closed for two weeks and performances of katabasis were canceled. The Getty Villa has rescheduled performances for January 24, 25, & 26, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale on January 8, 2019.

katabasis (‘descent to the underworld’) is a brand-new site-specific live music performance work that is part immersive concert and part ritual theatre. Staged outside for an intimate audience, katabasis unfurls across the grounds and gardens of the Getty Villa in a walking procession that is structured as a participatory Orphic mystery rite.

A performative companion piece to the Villa exhibition Underworld: Imagining the Afterlife, katabasis features a cult of musical performers who guide a small audience of initiates around the grounds of the museum, where they encounter characters and visual motifs from the exhibition, commune with ancient beliefs, and procure blessings for this life and what lies beyond. Fourlarks’ future folk score is inspired by ancient modes and rhythms, reimagined through a kaleidoscope of world folk and art pop.

Photo by Michael Amico.

The production was created and composed by Mat Sweeney, with design and choreography by Sebastian Peter-Lazaro, and additional lyrics by Jesse Rasmussen. It was developed with the cast of 13 inter-disciplinary performers, drawn from diverse backgrounds in opera, new music, pop, physical theater, and inspired by the unique architecture of the Getty Villa.

A cult of musical performers will guide an audience of initiates through an Orphic mystery rite, staged across the grounds and gardens of the Getty Villa. Part immersive concert, part ritual theatre, fourlarks‘ future-folk score filters ancient modes and rhythms through a kaleidoscope of world folk and art pop. Music from katabasis is available to pre-order now and will be released in late January through bandcamp.

Premiere Presentations at the Villa are new performance works by some of LA’s most respected theater artists, who creatively connect classical texts to contemporary narratives. Earlier this year, Culture Clash presented the first Villa Premiere Presentation SAPO, a loosely based adaption of Aristophanes’ The Frogs.

This program complements the Underworld: Imagining the Afterlife exhibition, on view at the Getty Villa until March 18, 2019. The exhibition is organized around a monumental funerary vessel, on loan from Naples and recently conserved at the Getty Villa, and explores depictions of the Underworld in the art of Greece and southern Italy. Beyond tales of famous wrongdoers and rulers of the dead, the works on view highlight the desire for a blessed existence after death and the ways in which individuals sought to achieve a happier afterlife.

The performance is a walking procession throughout the outdoor grounds of the Getty Villa. There is no seating provided and visitors are encouraged to wear warm clothing and comfortable shoes. Tickets go on sale January 8 and are $30 and available by calling 310-440-7300 or here.

Photo by Michael Amico.

About Fourlarks:

Fourlarks creates original performance work at the intersection of theatre, music, visual art and dance. Their award-winning junkyard operas combine large-scale immersive design with innovative orchestration and dynamic choreography. Founders Mat Sweeney and Sebastian Peters-Lazaro have been creating original performance work as Fourlarks since 2008. After graduating from UCLA, Mat and Sebastian developed their work as Four Larks in Oakland, CA and Melbourne, Australia. Since returning home to LA in 2014 Fourlarks has been named Best of LA by LA Weekly, Best of the Year by KCRW (2015 & 2016), and received Ovation Awards for Best Ensemble and Music, Stage Raw awards for Design, Critics’ Choice from the LA Times. Their ‘junkyard operas’ combine acoustic scores and immersive design, with dynamic physical theatre. Their work is developed alongside an expanding collective of international and local artists drawn from diverse performance practices, and created and presented in unexpected locales.




The J. Paul Getty Museum collects Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts to 1900, as well as photographs from around the world to the present day. The Museum’s mission is to display and interpret its collections, and present important loan exhibitions and publications for the enjoyment and education of visitors locally and internationally. This is supported by an active program of research, conservation, and public programs that seek to deepen our knowledge of and connection to works of art.


Visiting the Getty Villa The Getty Villa is open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, December 25 (Christmas Day), and January 1. Admission to the Getty Villa is always free, but a ticket is required for admission. Tickets can be ordered in advance, or on the day of your visit, at or at (310) 440-7300. Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 3 p.m. Groups of 15 or more must make reservations by phone. For more information, call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish); (310) 440-7305 (TTY line for the deaf or hearing impaired). The Getty Villa is at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, California.


Same-day parking at both Museum locations (Getty Center and Getty Villa) is available for $15 through the Getty’s Pay Once, Park Twice program.




Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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