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fiction • memoir • dramatic scenes • published or unpublished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!

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

###

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…]

Call for auditions: violoncello

cello-pic-small
Cult of Orpheus is seeking a cellist to record, perform, and tour in the coming months.

You’ll work with composer / producer Christopher Corbell, who is adding cello parts to the Sonnets project, which will become a full-length album this year. Recording is slated for early summer, and a brief supporting tour will happen in the fall.

In addition, you will be the go-to cellist for other Cult of Orpheus recording and performance projects including art-song concerts and recordings, and original opera workshops and productions.

You must be into lyrical music, art-song, and poetry! That’s what this troupe is about.

In addition to proficiency and performance experience, the following are highly valued though not strictly required:

  • ability with other instrument(s) and/or singing
  • experience in non-classical performance (indie-acoustic, rock, experimental, improv, or sim.)
  • recording session experience

Auditions will be scheduled through the end of February, 2016. To schedule yours, or to find out more, please send a note of introduction to music (at) cultoforpheus.org.


Cult of Orpheus is the opera and art-song vehicle of Portland composer and singer/songwriter Christopher Corbell.

February News: performances and web updates

Millay sonnet demo recordings and scores available.

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.

You can read the full newsletter online. If you haven’t already, you can also sign up on the mailing list to stay up to date on Cult of Orpheus poetic and musical adventures.