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!

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…]

Congratulations to our world premiere cast!

VivasHoliday-StarTheater-small

After four different audition dates and dozens of wonderful singers participating we’re thrilled to announce that the stage cast has been selected for the world premiere of Viva’s Holiday:

Helen Funston, soprano, as Viva

Bobby Jackson, bass-baritone, as Dad

Sadie Gregg, mezzo-soprano, as Mom

Matt Storm, tenor, as Brother

This is a fantastic cast to have bringing life to this production! Thanks again to all who auditioned. More details coming soon.


This post has been updated to reflect casting change in the role of Brother.