Vagabonds create new context for opera |

Vagabonds create new context for opera

Theatrical performances, lyrics in 11 languages and an eclectic repertoire – if that doesn’t liberate opera from its usual construct, nothing will.

Six performers do it all in the Vagabond Opera with a lineup that features trained operatic tenor and soprano vocals, accordion, tenor and alto saxophones, cello, stand-up bass, drums, and, when the mood is right, a burlesque Hula-Hooping fire performer. Some terms that have been used to describe the group: devilish virtuosity, exuberance, critical acclaim and “lots of fun.”

Vagabond Opera was created in 2002 by European-trained opera singer and composer Eric Stern. Then, disillusioned with the classical opera world, Stern created a new context for opera: Performance on a more intimate scale incorporating not only opera, but also elements of Weimar Cabaret, Arabic and Balkan forms and original music that springs from the ensemble’s fertile creative work. This is not your granny’s opera, but a visceral artistic ensemble that features powerful instrumental and vocal performances coupled with a highly eclectic and theatrical experience.

The performance takes place Friday, Aug. 3, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, 410 S. Church St., Grass Valley. Tickets for $15 may be purchased in advance at BriarPatch Co-op and the Bookseller in Grass Valley and at After the Gold Rush Records in Nevada City; tickets are $18 at the door. The center may be reached at (530) 272-4725 or at Check out the players at and

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