Seeking singers for “Emerald Tablet” concert at The Old Church Nov. 28

Cult of Orpheus will be presenting a program of new vocal music at 7:30 pm on Nov. 28 at The Old Church Concert Hall in Portland.

The program will feature a new work for vocal quartet and string quartet (a setting of the classic text of Hermetic mysticism, The Emerald Tablet), excerpts from an opera in progress, and selected original art-songs.

The performance will feature a baritone, tenor, mezzo-soprano, and soprano.

We are also looking for a variety of chamber instruments (string quartet, winds, and percussion).

If you are interested, please send a message to Christopher via music (at) cultoforpheus.org.

Event info and details will be updated frequently on our Facebook event page.

New Live Recording: Venus Novena for String Quartet

“Venus Novena” is a single-movement short work for string quartet, written to accompany aesthetic pole dance.

A live performance at Star Theater Portland was recorded on December 16, 2016. The dance was performed by Nikki Diesel. The music is played by Nick Shaddow (viola), Betsy Goy (cello), Chris Fotinakis (violin) and Sharon Cannon (violin).

Now available on our Soundcloud channel:

The Viva’s Holiday FAQ

As we head into our final four shows of 2016, the makers of Portland’s most user-friendly opera have come up with this list of Frequently Asked Questions.

VIVA’S HOLIDAY FAQ

1. Is this a real opera? – YES!
2. Is there a real orchestra? – YES!
3. Is it in English? – YES!
4. Is the singing amazing? – YES!
5. Is it kind of like classical, holiday music? – YES, but BETTER, and ORIGINAL!
6. Is it a story I can relate to? – YES!
7. Does it make people laugh? – YES!
8. Does it make people cry? – YES!
9. Is it more Portland than a Russian ballet? – YES!
10. Is comedian Wendy Weiss really doing an opening set? – YES!
12. Is author Viva Las Vegas reading from her book before the opera? – YES!
12. Can I buy alcohol and food and have it during the show? – YES, and YES!
13. Does it cost less than the $30 to $55 that other holiday shows are charging? – YES!
14. Is there nudity that is brief, expressive, and dramatically necessary? – YES!
15. Will I leave the theater wishing I could listen to this opera again? – YES!
16. Can I buy tickets by clicking on a link below? – YES!

Cheat-sheet: the answer to all these questions is YES! 😉

Wed. Dec. 14: http://tinyurl.com/viva-2016-Dec-14
Thurs. Dec. 15: http://tinyurl.com/viva-2016-Dec-15
Fri. Dec. 16: http://tinyurl.com/viva-2016-Dec-16
Sat. Dec. 17: http://tinyurl.com/viva-2016-Dec-17

Four more shows, Dec. 14-17! Information on Dec. 8 cancellation

We had a great opening of the 2016 run of Viva’s Holiday!

You still have four chances to see this show, which has most recently been recommended by the Portland Mercury as well as Portland Monthly Magazine.

Tickets:
Wed. Dec. 14: http://tinyurl.com/viva-2016-Dec-14
Thurs. Dec. 15: http://tinyurl.com/viva-2016-Dec-15
Fri. Dec. 16: http://tinyurl.com/viva-2016-Dec-16
Sat. Dec. 17: http://tinyurl.com/viva-2016-Dec-17

DECEMBER 8 CANCELLATION INFORMATION

Unfortunately due to winter storm road conditions in the Portland metro area our December 8 show was cancelled. If you had advance tickets for the show please email music (at) cultoforpheus.org and we will exchange your tickets for one of the remaining nights or issue a refund if you prefer. To resolve quickly please include the quantity of tickets you purchased and the TicketWeb transaction number.

Press Release: Viva’s Holiday, Portland’s favorite local opera, returns for six nights in December

Summary for event calendars:
  Viva’s Holiday: An Opera in One Act
  Star Theater Portland • 13 NW 6th Ave
  December 7, 8, 14, 15, 16, 17
  9 pm • 21+
  http://vivas-holiday.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2016
Portland, Oregon

VIVA’S HOLIDAY, A NEW PORTLAND FAVORITE, PLAYS SIX NIGHTS IN DECEMBER
Second annual performance also features author Viva Las Vegas, comedian Wendy Weiss

This season an original opera about a stripper going home for Christmas returns to the Star Theater, where it promises to become a new Portland holiday tradition.

It is rare for an original opera to aim beyond circles of elite afficionados and connect with a city, a time, an underground. Viva’s Holiday: An Opera in One Act proved to be such a work in its 2015 premiere. Inspired by the memoirs of Portland stripper/author Viva Las Vegas (Liv Osthus), it is a lyrical story about a young woman on an unconventional path testing the limits of family acceptance during a holiday visit. A classically-informed score exhibits charming motivity, intertwined with irreverent humor and poignant searching for the meaning of “home.” The opera runs 50 minutes and is written for four singers and a twelve-piece chamber orchestra.

The 2016 production is in response to fans who called for the work to be a part of Portland’s annual roster of holiday shows, following a three-night run of full houses last year. Unlike familiar Nutcracker reboots and endless Dickens adaptations, this is a story rooted in our city’s recent history and reaching toward a meaning that reflects our time. And unlike other common underground offerings which rely on canned or covered songs from elsewhere, the original music and poetry is intended to be Portland’s own cultural capital — part of composer Christopher Corbell’s quest to establish new underground opera in the Rose City as our weird, poetic, insurgent answer to Broadway’s glitz and self-importance.

This year’s production again employs stage director Pat Janowski (Post5 Theater et al) and music director Erica Melton (Opera Theater Oregon). A more seasoned orchestra backs a returning cast, with the exception of the Brother role which will be sung this year by tenor Aaron Lange. Soprano Helen Funston will again bring her versatile musicianship to the role of Viva, with mezzo Sadie Gregg returning in the role of Mom and baritone Bobby Jackson singing Dad.

The performances at Portland’s Star Theater will include an opening set, hosted by stripper / comedian Wendy Weiss. Viva Las Vegas will read excerpts from her memoirs and also perform vocal music with the “sixteenth-century sex-pop” group Bergerette. Each evening will open with an aesthetic pole dance accompanied by a live string quartet; Weiss has recruited a roster of eminent strippers from the current Portland scene who will make alternating appearances.

Electronic Press Kit
Audio excerpts, press quotes, and more information about the opera is online at
http://cultoforpheus.org/site/vivas-holiday/

Higher-resolution poster image, production headshots, and photos from last year’s performance are also available on request.

viva-poster-tabloid-web

“Safety Nets” – new Cult of Orpheus single

“Safety Nets” is the first single from the ongoing Cult of Orpheus original project Time-wise Animals.

The song displays Americana and folk influence but quickly goes on a through-composed adventure with guitar and cello lines intertwining around the vocals.

The text, an original sonnet, is a symbolic exploration of failed social safety nets, represented by different fabrics: cotton for traditional southern culture, nylon for consumer culture, and barbed wire for any social structures (from broken families to large-scale social arrangements) that harm to the most vulnerable.

The recording features Christopher Corbell on classical guitar and vocals and Sonja Myklebust on cello. It was recorded live in the studio in Portland, Oregon over the summer of 2016.

Original sheet music (in full score for voice, cello, and guitar) is available.

Corbell and Myklebust will perform a special single-release show at The Waypost, 3120 N. Williams Ave., Portland, on Wednesday Dec. 28 at 8 pm.

Volunteer and make Portland the Underground Opera capital!

Cult of Orpheus needs devoted volunteers to help create a cultural movement around underground opera.

opera-square

We are building crazy cool original works that involve community and utilize the craft of lyrical, poetic music creation to the utmost. We are Portland’s only all-original art song and opera company.

We want underground, original opera to be Portland’s answer to Broadway. It’s our weird but reverent hijacking of one of the most aristocratic art forms, gleefully re-purposed for the people, leveraging all the amazing vocal, musical, and theatrical talent we have in this city.

Do you want to volunteer? Sign up to work our upcoming concert at The Old Church on August 17 and you’ll get your foot in the door! (And free admission, of course!) Just send us an email and become a part of this scrappy camerata.

Also: we want to forge stronger connections to other groups! If you consider your group part of the opera underground please get in touch, let’s share resources and knowledge. Let’s make Portland the underground opera capital!

– Christopher Corbell

All Classical Portland NW Previews Interview

Last week Christopher Corbell spoke with Andrea Murray on All Classical Portland’s NW Previews program about the forthcoming Cult of Orpheus album/chapbook Time-wise Animals.


old-church-aug-17-poster-web
The August 17 Cult of Orpheus Summer Concert at The Old Church Concert Hall will include a pre-release performance of album in entirety, and there may even be advance copies available. It’s our biggest show this year so far, so RSVP on Facebook, and get your tickets!

New opera: call for stories from Portland authors


Cult of Orpheus • underground opera
CALL FOR STORIES FROM PORTLAND AUTHORS

fiction • memoir • dramatic scenes • published or unpublished
comic, poignant, weird, etc. • excerpts/abridgements okay


old-town-pic-crop-titlesCult of Orpheus, creator of Viva’s Holiday, is creating a new production in 2017 in collaboration with local authors.

This operatic “anthology” will feature three to five stories adapted as original micro-operas, performed in a non-traditional space. Story authors retain rights, own part of opera publishing (as co-librettist), & consult on libretto adaptation. There will be a modest performance royalty awarded, plus book sales and audience-building opportunities at each opera performance.


guidelines:
• up to 3 pieces from a single author will be considered
• please select specific short pieces (we don’t have time to read entire collections!)
• stories must have character interaction and dialog; 2 to 4 characters
• preferred: stories with a key dramatic moment and/or strong character interactions
• story, excerpt, or abridgement should be readable out loud in 7 minutes or less
• UPDATE: call is extended through September 30, 2016


To have your work(s) considered, or to nominate any local author’s story, send an email to music@cultoforpheus.org with the subject “Call for stories”.

In the email, include your name and contact information, and for each piece to be considered, include:

  1. title
  2. brief summary (< 100 words)
  3. publication details (either “unpublished”, or where it has been published)
  4. attachment of full text or excerpt as .txt, .rtf, .pdf, or .docx file (use separate files for multiple works)

This call for stories will remain open through September 30, 2016. Please share with your literary friends and communities!