Harry Koutoukas Stages an Opera at Judson

Harry Koutoukas Stages an Opera at Judson

For Walter Michael Harris, Harry Koutoukas was like a colorful uncle and a guardian angel all rolled into one. They got to know each other during a production of Pomegranada, an experimental opera that debuted in the choir loft at the Judson Poet’s Theater in March 1966. Harris played drums along with pianist and Judson artistic director Al Carmines. Pomegranada featured a butterfly and a peacock and other creatures that were innocent until a mirror entered their lives, and they learned about a thing called vanity. “I’m superb and exquisite too / Oh, that’s me, and to think I never knew / I never knew how beautiful I was,” the creatures sang. The show was about how narcissism can destroy beauty, as Harris explained: “Harry was a social critic, and he played a lot with mythical tropes, but with a lot of camp.”

From Chapter 13 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


Judson Gallery
239 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012