Press Release: Viva’s Holiday, an opera based on Magic Gardens memoirs
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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.
In 2009 readers gained a window into the world of late-1990’s Portland strip clubs, cabarets, post-punk scene, and other underground circles in Magic Gardens: The Memoirs of Viva Las Vegas. This first book by the Portland author and performer was hailed as “all snap, verve, and eloquence” and “a love song to life on the shady side” by author Katherine Dunn.
Not long after its release the book fell into the hands of composer/songwriter Christopher Corbell, who was searching for a local story to anchor his first foray into opera. Encountering not only a real-life, inspiring heroine but a fellow opera-lover as well, Corbell approached Viva on a Friday shift at Mary’s Club and a collaboration was born.
Viva’s Holiday tells the story of a young woman on an unconventional path testing the limits of family acceptance during a holiday gathering. While the opera is a poetic adaptation, much of it quotes directly from passages from the memoir, and Viva acted as consultant on character development and material selection for the opera’s libretto.
The music of the opera is approachable and varied, mixed from a palette that is at times playful, motivic, dramatic, and above all lyrical. A 12-piece orchestra accompanies the four singing roles. Soprano Helen Funston will sing Viva, bass-baritone Bobby Jackson will sing Dad, mezzo-soprano Sadie Gregg will sing Mom, and the part of Brother will be sung by baritone Matt Storm.
Composer/Producer Corbell (founder of Cult of Orpheus and Muse:forward, and a former director of Classical Revolution PDX) has assembled an outstanding alternative-classical production under the musical direction of Erica Melton (Opera Theater Oregon) and stage direction of Pat Janowski (Post5 Theater et alia).
The links below include the production’s one-sheet, biographies, selected press links, and a PDF copy of this press release. The image at the top of this post links to a higher-resolution poster graphic image, for press/promotional use only.
As mentioned in the one-sheet, interviews, rehearsal coverage, and other collaborative feature story development from a variety of angles and emphases are welcome.