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Here’s a new video featuring excerpts of our performance of The Emerald Tablet, music and translation by Christopher Corbell. The video features live footage of the concert, photographs taken by Diana Powe, captions of the text, and art from the hermetic alchemy tradition.
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.
“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.
Cult of Orpheus needs devoted volunteers to help create a cultural movement around underground opera.
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
This month features a number of performances (also listed on the Upcoming Events page). There are also some new recorded excerpts of the Viva Opera online, and the Art Songs and Sonnets sections of the website have more samples and lyrics.
Christopher Corbell performs poetry and art-song with Cult of Orpheus
“Viva’s Holiday” composer premieres new works and highlights local talent
On the heels of his successful three-night, sold-out opera premiere, underground-classical troubadour Christopher Corbell brings a more-intimate act to the Jade Lounge for an evening of poetry and music. The performance will feature several premieres of art-songs composed by Corbell, and will be supported by collaborating musicians and readers.
New art-song premieres
Topping the list of new works to be performed are “Insect Songs,” a set of short pieces for soprano and flute. The text for each song is a haiku (about an insect) by 18th-century Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa, in English translation by Robert Hass. The pieces will be performed by soprano Camelia Nine (soloist with Portland Symphonic Choir) and flutist Liberty Broillet.
Corbell’s ongoing project of original sonnets set to music will continue with the premiere of a new piece, “Kundalini,” for guitar and voice. Other sonnets in the collection will also be recited and performed by the composer. A full-length recording of the cycle is planned for 2016.
The music performance will culminate with a new musical setting of one of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus, “O dieses ist das Tier,” for baritone, guitar, and cello. Corbell will perform with cellist Betsy Goy, and the duo will also perform “Ein Gott Vermags,” another original setting of Rilke.
The evening will also feature readings by Portland-based poets.
Two of the Opus 2013 song cycles are now available for purchase as printed sheet music.
Baudelaire songs for three voices
The settings of Baudelaire’s “Tristesses de la lune” and “Hymne” for three voices were composed for the Portland-based vocal trio Bergerette, who have recorded the cycle for their forthcoming CD. The new product page is here.
More song cycles to come in 2015! The full list of original art-song scores is on the Artifacts page.
Welcome to the virtual hatching of this orphic egg!
While the first Cult of Orpheus concert of original music happened over a year ago, there’s been much more time spent writing new works than properly building this façade. The time seems right though, so please check back and stay in touch on social media such as Facebook and YouTube.
Songs, scores, poems and opera news forthcoming, meanwhile please enjoy this video of Valery Saul singing two of the three Millay songs that were part of the Cult of Orpheus Opus 2013 concert: