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

Press Release: May Day Worker’s Cabaret – Brecht/Weill/Eisler and new works

Cult of Orpheus presents
May Day Worker’s Cabaret
featuring Caitlin Mathes and Three for Silver
May 1st, 2016 at 7 pm
Vie de Boheme • 1530 SE 7th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
“Pay your wage” sliding-scale admission • 21+

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2016
Portland, Oregon

MAY DAY WORKER’S CABARET SINGS TRUTH TO POWER
Cult of Orpheus channels Brecht and brings together favorite performers

Caitlin Mathes is a star of the local opera scene: former Cunning Little Vixen lead, Portland Opera Resident Artist, and 2011 Lotte Lenya competition winner. Three for Silver is arguably Portland’s hardest-working band, tirelessly creating and performing their unique brand of crafted street/pub/world music and lately anchoring the Wanderlust Circus house band. Cult of Orpheus is the art-song and opera vehicle of Christopher Corbell, most recently known for Viva’s Holiday: An Opera in One Act, a Christmas opera based on the memoirs of Portland’s most famous stripper/author.

As the political season looms this line-up is conspiring to share songs and thoughts about inequality, gentrification, demagoguery, and the struggles of all of us in the lower percentiles. The common musical thread through their collaborative May Day Worker’s Cabaret is an homage to 20th-century German playwright/poet/librettist Bertolt Brecht. His collaborations with Kurt Weill (The Threepenny Opera) and Hans Eisler brought a voice of gritty social-justice realism into the historically aristocratic forms of art-song and opera. Beyond the Brecht working-classics there will be much original music, written for and from our place and time.

“Pay your wage” ticketing
This Cabaret also puts in practice a solution to local arts pricing. “Pay your wage” is a progressive, honor-system, sliding-scale admission model for live events. The notion: pay what you make in an hour. With this model, artistic revenue rises as average wages rise, but performances remain affordable for low-wage workers. The model was first brainstormed on Corbell’s Muse:forward blog and has been tried with success on several productions.

The performers in this production all have something to say, and they’re saying it:

“There is no better time be singing the works of Weill, Eisler, and Brecht. It is music about struggle and solidarity and the messages in these songs still reflect our own political climate, the cost of social inequality and the forces that buoy up the few ‘haves’ at the expense of the the have-nots. Music is one way to build our communities and empathy in this time of divisiveness.” — Caitlin Mathes, mezzo-soprano and cabaretist

“Three For Silver is thrilled to be collaborating with Cult of Orpheus for this May Day Cabaret. Portland is at that critical juncture as a city when it needs like-minded performers to vocalize their concerns and hopes. Our city is becoming an increasingly unfriendly place for the local artist, the creators of the very culture that so many love so dearly. The May Day Cabaret will be a raucous and offensive evening, celebrating the workers and creators, and calling out those who exploit them. Everyone is welcome, everyone is equal, everyone is a target.” — Lucas Warford, Three for Silver

“I feel deeply that culture is about connection. The main purpose of art is to build community, not consumer products. I think that’s the future, not just in Portland but in any vibrant city. Given how much is at stake this political season it seemed natural to invite these amazing performers who feel similarly to collaborate and see how much timely rabble we can rouse together before we all go vote.” — Christopher Corbell, Producer / Composer, Cult of Orpheus

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Promotional images are attached below.

Links:

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/189426051413255/
Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2532609
Cult of Orpheus: http://cultoforpheus.org
Caitlin Mathes: http://caitlinmathes.com
Three for Silver: http://threeforsilver.tumblr.com/

Contact:

Jessica Beer
Manager / Agent
Cult of Orpheus
jessica (at) cultoforpheus.org


threeforsilver
Three for Silver


caitlin
Caitlin Mathes


corbell
Christopher Corbell


Correction: the original press release stated that Three for Silver has been anchoring the Wanderlust Circus orchestra. The correct name of the group is Wanderlust Circus House Band.

Press Release: “CULT OF ORPHEUS” DEBUTS AS INDIE-CLASSICAL CROSSOVER GROUP

March 7, 2016
Portland, Oregon
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“CULT OF ORPHEUS” DEBUTS AS INDIE-CLASSICAL CROSSOVER GROUP
March 18 premiere features new poetic songs, arranged for cello, classical guitar, and voice

Cult of Orpheus was founded in 2013 as the independent opera and art-song vehicle of Portland composer Christopher Corbell. The company has staged original underground-classical productions featuring Corbell’s music, including the 2015 premiere of the popular and acclaimed Viva’s Holiday: An Opera in One Act.

Cult of Orpheus will also now be known as a performing and recording group. The group’s focus is on original works that bridge classical art-song and indie acoustic singer/songwriter performance.

The core group consists of members Christopher Corbell (classical guitar, vocals) and Zach Banks (cello). Cult of Orpheus performances and recordings will also feature guest singers and instrumentalists. The debut performance of this new line-up will be on Friday, March 18 at 7:30 pm, as part of Abbie Weisenbloom’s popular house-concert series.

Corbell and Banks will perform new songs that are part of the group’s original “Sonnets” project (http://cultoforpheus.org/site/corbell-sonnets/), which will be the focus of a full-length recording project and regional tour this summer. The evening’s music will also include a set by chamber-folk songwriter/cellist Samantha Kushnick and friends.
[Read more…]

PRESS RELEASE: Cult of Orpheus Event at Jade Lounge, Dec. 27

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.

Press Release: Viva’s Holiday now sponsored by Opera Theater Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PORTLAND, OR
OCTOBER 26, 2015

VIVA’S HOLIDAY OPERA PREMIERE: NOW SPONSORED BY OPERA THEATER OREGON

Independent opera non-profit partners with composer-produced “Magic Gardens” opera project

Viva’s Holiday, the most exciting opera premiere of the season, is a one-act opera that relates a story of a Portland stripper going home to visit her family for the holidays. Based on Magic Gardens: The Memoirs of Viva Las Vegas, the story combines a local underground heroine’s experiences with lyrical vocal writing and a twelve-piece orchestra. The opera is being produced by Cult of Orpheus, the music production vehicle of composer Christopher Corbell.

Opera Theater Oregon, a Portland-based 501(c)3 organization, has been a champion of alternative opera for a decade in Portland, producing everything from pop-culture/opera mash-ups (like Baywatch/Das Rheingold) to live-opera-with-film performances to magical productions in creative environments (The Cunning Little Vixen at Wild Goose Farm).

Opera Theater Oregon (OTO) has agreed to act as fiscal sponsor for the Viva’s Holiday premiere. The sponsorship arrangement permits arts donors to contribute to OTO to support the project, which furthers the non-profit’s mission of making opera relevant to new audiences. The partnership will focus on a special fundraising gala dinner at Basta Trattoria on Tuesday Nov. 3 and will continue with online fundraising efforts.

OTO Artistic director Katie Taylor had this to say of the partnership:

I’m really excited! It’s the first time OTO’s tried anything like this. Our current reboot is partly about figuring out the best way to involve like-minded people in the work of the company — ‘Viva’ is right up our alley.

Producer / Composer Christopher Corbell, who has also been an OTO supporter and volunteer, hopes the sponsorship can be a model for future projects:

I believe a vibrant independent opera scene is emerging in Portland, and that’s due in large measure to the groundwork that OTO has done for ten years by developing local talent, building audiences, and experimenting. I’m thrilled that OTO is partnering with us for this production, which includes singers who have worked with OTO and also includes outstanding OTO Music Director Erica Melton. I hope that our sponsorship agreement and fundraising effort can be a pilot for similar arrangements in the future between OTO and other independent opera producers in the community.

More information on Viva’s Holiday is also available in the online press release and media kit at:

http://tinyurl.com/vivas-holiday-PR

A limited number tickets are still available to the Nov. 3 gala fundraising dinner:

http://tinyurl.com/viva-opera-gala

More information on Opera Theater Oregon can be found online at

https://operatheateror.wordpress.com/

Press Release: Viva’s Holiday, an opera based on Magic Gardens memoirs

VivasHolidayPoster

Event Details:
Viva’s Holiday: An Opera in One Act
with special guest performances
Dec. 2, 3, and 4, 2015, at 9 pm
$20 General Admission • 21 and over
Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

http://vivas­-holiday.com/



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PORTLAND, OR
SEPTEMBER 1, 2015

VIVA’S HOLIDAY: AN OPERA IN ONE ACT – WORLD PREMIERE AT THE STAR THEATER

A Portland stripper goes home for the holidays. Can the family keep her secret from her minister father? Drawn from the memoirs of Portland’s celebrated entertainer and author Viva Las Vegas, this one-act opera explores topics of sex work, family, and self-realization.

[Read more…]