Tag Archives: Orange Mountain Music

Don’t look back: Here comes Orphee

Portland Opera didn’t exactly go to Hell and back to make its first commercial recording. Or maybe it did.

Can it really have been only last November that Philip Glass‘s opera Orphee, based on Jean Cocteau‘s celebrated 1949 film version of the myth about the man who lost his love by looking back at her as he guided her out of the Underworld, was the talk of Puddletown? When perhaps the world’s most famous living serious composer was in town, taking in rehearsals of the opera company’s revival of his 1993 musical drama?

Courtesy Portland OperaGlass decided he liked the Portland cast so much that it should be recorded, leading to a double first: Portland Opera’s first-ever commercial recording, and the first full recording of Orphee, part of a Cocteau trilogy by Glass that also includes La Belle et la Bete and Les Enfants Terribles.

Now it’s here. Today, Portland Opera’s Julia Sheridan sent out word that the two-disc set, released on the Glass-centric Orange Mountain Music label, has hit the shelves. You can buy it online at the opera company’s Web site, or at its box office south of OMSI, and soon, we imagine, at all the usual places.

Portland Opera’s version of Orphee, in a production that originated at Glimmerglass Opera in Upstate New York, was terrific, and fellow Scatterers may recall that we covered it like a Methodist missionary desperately throwing wet blankets over the sunbathers at a nude beach. Here is the outcome of our group interview with Glass, which came before Mr. Scatter blogged live from the Keller Auditorium on opening night: the results of that act of impertinent bravado are here, here, here, and here. A little later, Mr. Scatter offered empirical evidence of why his fellow blogger Storm Large was besieged by autograph hounds and he was not.

Time to slip that CD into your stereo and raise a Glass in a toast. Just don’t look over your shoulder.

Mr. Scatter becomes a lobbyist (with a laptop)

As the old joke goes, tonight’s the night!

This is not Mr. Scatter. Not by a long shot. It's Storm Large.
Art Scatter regulars might have noted that it’s been Philip Glass Week in Portland, and tonight at Keller Auditorium his 1993 opera Orphee opens in its West Coast premiere, performed by Portland Opera. Reports are promising: Glass liked the dress rehearsal so much that he whipped up a deal to have all four performances recorded and turned into a CD for Orange Mountain Music. It’ll be this opera’s first full recording.

And sitting in the lobby, along with his laptop and four other local members of the blogospheric chattering class, will be Mr. Scatter, there to file a continuing stream of instant analysis, much like a pontificating television face on a national election night:

“Orpheus has been caught on camera looking over his shoulder, and that could spell serious trouble for Eurydice’s chances in the tensely fought Afterlife race. At stake is control of a sprawling district that runs from the far shores of the River Styx to the lush meadows on the surface end of the cave opening. We’ll update you as we learn more. But this could be bye-bye to a once-promising career. Over to you, Storm.”

Here are my owlish teammates, and where you can follow their instamusings:

Storm Large. The rock diva and musical-theater star of Cabaret and Crazy Enough will post at www.stormlarge.com. You’ll recognize her. She’s the tall good-looking one, and her posts will probably be littered with Words Not Ordinarily Associated With Art Scatter.

Byron Beck. If Portland’s a town, Byron’s the man about it. He knows just about everybody, and just about everything, and dishes it out when and where the mood strikes. www.byronbeck.com

Jim Withington. The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art has been one of Glass Week’s sponsors (it has a long relationship with Glass) and Jim will be blogging on PICA’s Urban Honking.

Cynthia Fuhrman. Portland Center Stage’s resident marketing genius is very smart and very funny and no doubt will be a lot of fun to read. She’ll be posting on the PCS blog. Rumor has it that while the other bloggers will be sipping beer as they type feverishly away, la Fuhrman will be pampered with cocktails, no doubt with colorful little paper umbrellas to pretty them up. It’s rigged. Florida election here, folks.

Marc Acito. BONUS PICK. The witty Portland novelist (How I Paid for College; Attack of the Theatre People) and playwright (Holidazed) actually has a role in the opera. But when he’s backstage he’ll be blogging on the show at The Gospel According to Marc. Amazing exploit!

That’s all, folks. Until tonight. News at … oh, 6:30, 7, 7:15, 8, 8:30 ….


PHOTO: This is not Mr. Scatter. Not by a long shot. It’s Storm Large. Credit: Laura Domela