Lila’Angelique was walking through Central Park seven years ago when she came across a man playing violin wearing essentially just a loincloth and headdress. The performance took place in the Bethesda Fountain Arcade, under the deep arches and tunnel that leads to Central Park’s most iconic destinations.

Thoth was subject of Oscar-winning documentary by Sarah Kernochan. — Jeanna Shepard

“I saw him standing still with his violin and the beautiful costume in a loincloth,” Lila’Angelique recalled. She had just moved to New York city to attend theatre school, but was having trouble connecting there due to her love of wigs and extravagant costumes.

She thought the near-naked man in the headdress was “very striking.”

Then she stopped to hear him sing.

“I became a puddle and ran over to him when he finished,” she said. The man’s name was S.K. Thoth, and the two hit it off instantly.

Lila’Angelique and Thoth formed the group Tribal Baroque, and to this day they can regularly be found performing under the Angel of the Waters statue in New York city. But this weekend they return to Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs to perform Esh and Ee-ay, Tribal Baroque’s latest opera, produced and commissioned by Sarah Kernochan. Thoth was the subject of a documentary film directed by Ms. Kernochan which won an Academy Award for best short subject in 2002.

Wendy Taucher. — Jeanna Shepard

The opera is written and composed by Tribal Baroque. The story follows the journey of a tribe of angels, wizards and a sea dragon, and is fueled by forbidden love and loss, and music.

The performers use a variety of instruments, and adorn themselves in bells — from Indonesia, Nigeria and India to name a few places — which complete a fifth note when performed simultaneously. Lila’Angelique’s bells create a base rhythmic ostinata.

They also rely on their operatic voices; she is a coloratura soprano and he is a countertenor.

“We can feel each other’s emotions,” Lila’Angelique said.

“We’re dancing on a tightrope with each other, when one takes a leap the other has to be there,” Thoth said. “It’s very tenuous.”

Performers adorn themselves with bells which complete a fifth note when performed simultaneously. — Jeanna Shepard

The couple typically creates music in a “really organic” way in public places. But in writing an actual opera, the two deconstructed the music, and challenged themselves to write an entire story line. But even with a structured narrative, the opera continues to transform, they said.

“We recorded it last December and it’s totally different now,” Lila’Angelique said.

The couple feeds off the energy of the crowd, whether performing for strangers in a park or an audience seated in a theatre. Both venues provide limits and freedoms, they said.

“Performing outside can be really amazing and, surprisingly so, there’s no expectation,” Lila’Angelique said.

Inside a theatre, “there will be an energy and that will be the entire show,” Thoth said. “It keeps you on your toes because the piece itself will change according to what the audience is watching. We will learn stuff just because the audience is really excited because the audience will force us to jump off a cliff.”

Based on their experience last year, the performers are excited to back in the arms of a Vineyard audience.

“That’s what happened last year here, having an audience that was so present,” Thoth said. “It’s so exhilarating to make a choice that is so big and bold.”

“If we’re the tightrope walkers, the audience is the net to catch us,” Lila’Angelique added.

Tribal Baroque will perform at Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs on Saturday, Sept. 5,. and Sunday Sept. 6, both shows at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $100. Call 646-872-7249 or visit