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…]

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.

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/

Stage Positions Available

We are just over two months away from the world premiere of Viva’s Holiday: An Opera in One Act, at the Star Theater in Portland. Rehearsals are beginning and excitement is building!

The production is seeking people to support staging and house operations during the show, which will run Dec. 2, 3, and 4, 2015. The following positions are available:

Old_Opera_House

Stage Manager
Lighting Director
Costume Designer
Make-up Designer
Set Designer
Set Construction
Technical Director / Electrician
Stagehands
Ushers
Merch booth

If you are interested in this production and have worked in small, limited-budget theater or opera productions before please contact us. It’s going to be a fun and rewarding show.

Send an email to music (at) cultoforpheus.org (link).

Toi toi toi!