Press Release: Viva’s Holiday Record Release and Concert by Cult of Orpheus
For Immediate Release
October 24, 2018
VIVA’S HOLIDAY RECORDING TO PROMOTE PORTLAND’S FAVORITE LOCAL OPERA The second album from Cult of Orpheus to be released with a concert performance at the Winningstad Theatre on December 15
Cult of Orpheus, Portland’s all-original opera and art-song company, will release a commercial recording of Viva’s Holiday: An Opera in One Act this December. The digital release of the album is scheduled for December 14, with CDs available the following day at a release concert at the Winningstad Theatre. A limited-edition vinyl pressing will also be produced, after the initial release.
At its 2015 premiere the one-act Viva’s Holiday was recognized by fans and press as an unexpected gift. A Christmas opera about a Portland stripper outing herself to her family over the holidays, the work surprised those who expected it to be a burlesque circus, rock opera, or salacious take on the sugarplum season. Instead, audiences discovered a carefully crafted lyrical work for twelve-piece orchestra, with a lively and poetic libretto delivered by a cast of four opera singers, in what Oregon ArtsWatch called “a mostly quiet, touching, intimate family drama.”
The story is drawn from Magic Gardens: The Memoirs of Viva Las Vegas, a book which the late Katherine Dunn called “all snap, verve, and eloquence”, and “a love song to life on the shady side.” Iconic Portland stripper / author Viva (aka Liv Osthus) participated in the libretto’s development, and her family (portrayed in the work) attended the premiere.
In its 2015 and 2016 showings the opera sold just shy of 1,000 tickets, a remarkable feat for a new work in the genre, particularly as undertaken by an outsider creator with a start-up, DIY opera company. Composer/Producer Christopher Corbell hopes the work can return to the dramatic stage for future seasons, but this year’s focus is on a commercial recording and concert performance, so that more potential fans in Portland and beyond can know and enjoy the music.
This will be the second recording from Cult of Orpheus this year. Their debut album Sacred Works I: The Emerald Tablet was released in June and praised as “fervently beautiful” in Willamette Week. The same singers are to be featured on Viva’s Holiday. Soprano Jocelyn Claire Thomas will bring her bright, mellifluous voice to the role of Viva for the first time. Mezzo-soprano Sadie Gregg returns in the role of Mom, with baritone Dan Gibbs singing Dad and tenor Ray Jackson as Brother. Singers and orchestra are under the direction of Erica Melton, who conducted the prior Viva’s Holiday stage productions and is also past Artistic Director and Music Director of Opera Theater Oregon.
The recording of Viva’s Holiday is supported in part by a generous donation from Ronni Lacroute and many other individual donors. The December 15 concert at the Winningstad Theatre is presented by Portland’5 Centers for the Arts.