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The Carnival of Love

January 27th, 2014

The Carnival of Love! A Valentin’s Day Cabaret with Vagabond Opera and Wanderlust Circus!

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Oregon Art Beat!

February 9th, 2012

OPB TV – Vagabond Opera on Oregon Art Beat!

“Vagabond Opera’s multifaceted style is a product of 21st century Portland’s spirit of experimentation. But as innovative as they are, the band also draws on the deepest roots of musical tradition to revive a time when communities gathered together to celebrate through dance and song.”

Watch the video here!!

Farewell Jason Flores

November 30th, 2011

Dear fans, this is Eric Stern, founder and leader of the band. I wanted to let you know some very important news regarding Vagabond Opera: Jason, our beloved bass player, will be leaving the band in one month. His last official gig with us will be New Years Eve and we will all miss him terribly. AND we are very excited for him! He is continuing to pursue his love of philosophy in the context of a university and moving on to doing other things in his life. We, the band, and I’m sure all of you, will miss him, and we also support him one hundred percent in this endeavor.
You know, when you see us you might not notice what’s called the backline as much. That’s the bass player and drummer, but both Mark and Jason contribute more than you’ll ever know! Jason has been a formidable composer in this band and just as importantly an internal provocateur. He has always challenged us musically (there are a couple of his compositions that I am ashamed to admit never saw the light of day because we couldn’t give them the performance they deserved) and has spurred us on to make uncomfortable decisions that turned out to be the right ones.
On a personal note I will be losing the companionship of a very good friend. Jason has been with the band from nearly the beginning, in the trenches when we played in dive bars and coffee shops, and I’ve watched him change and grow over the years, ever-blossoming and ever-sharpening his already razor-sharp mind. It hasn’t always been easy—Jason is the Spock to my Captain Kirk and what he says so many times turns out to be what is logical, true, and right, whether you want to hear it or not. Jason is not a yes man and so many times, as he’s disagreed with me, when I wanted to throw in the towel of our friendship (this kind of struggle is actually a sign of a good friendship I believe) I said, “No. Keep Jason close, perhaps closest, because the best friend you can have is the one who gives you the blunt honest truth about your life, your band, and everything else.”
I’ll give you an example: A few years ago we played the Kennedy Center: The freakin’ Kennedy Center, and when we got there to do our sound check the stage wasn’t set up. This is a common occurrence for any ensemble and you always laud the venues, whether it be a performing arts center, or a hole-in-the-wall, where you can walk in and see that the sound person has set up the mics and run the lines (wires from the mic) to the sound board.
But this was the Kennedy Center and I couldn’t believe it and started to bitch about it, not to the staff there, but just internally to the band. And instead of colluding with me, which is what I wanted, Jason simple said, “You know I notice that you often focus on the negative side of things. What you need to do is stop that, and start focusing on the positive. Right now you’ve done it so often the other way that it’s a habit and the best way to change is to make start noticing positive things, make that into a habit, and soon it will be second nature.” Like a Zen Koan, or maybe a Zen coconut crashing on my head, that little bit of wisdom, in the context of what was occurring, changed my life for the better. Oh sure, I could have read that in a self-help book, but a Jason actually had the courage to say something as it was happening which made it more effective than if I had read it. It was difficult to hear and the right thing to say. There’s many more stories like that.
And of course Jason has held me up when I’m down (and sometimes drunk at the same time), and we’ve shared the ups and downs of our personal life, lived together in a van and know enough about one another to blackmail each other for years to come.
The band, and I know you fans, will truly miss our dharma buddy Jason and although he will sit-in with us once in awhile, he won’t be part of the core ensemble. But it’s a happy occasion, for Jason is lighting out on new paths! My friend, we are all so excited for your new journey and I am so lucky to have played next to you (well in front of you!) all of these years.
Jason Flores, El Krivo: Live long and prosper!

Global Notes: Vagabond Opera on Chicago NPR

November 21st, 2009

Global Notes: Vagabond Opera

Jerome and Radio M host Tony Sarabia listen to Vagabond Opera, a Portland-based group that puts a modern spin on Balkan music, operatic singing, Klezmer and cabaret.

It’s nice to go to a show and be immersed not only some really fantastic music, because these are pretty top notch musicians but to just see the playfulness on stage. – Radio M Host Tony Serabia

Take a listen to Vagabond Opera on NPR

Review: A night at the Seattle International Cabaret Festival

November 21st, 2009

Review: A night at the Seattle International Cabaret Festival
By Michael Upchurch in The Seattle Times

“At the Triple Door, Vagabond Opera (“from faraway exotic sunny Portland”) was the indisputable crowning glory of the night. This sextet has fine voices, unbelievable musical chops and a huge and humorous stage presence. They know how to dress, how to make an entrance and how to craft an instantly hummable tune.”

Read the rest of the article here!

Vagabond Opera rocks! Cabaret lives!

November 20th, 2009

Vagabond Opera rocks! Cabaret lives!
By Christopher Key in Entertainment News NW

“One thing I have learned in all these years is that there are some things worth waiting for and Vagabond Opera is one of them. They are nothing short of sensational and they are also indescribable.

One of the things I take pride in is my objectivity. I go to events like this, observe with journalistic distance and report the facts. Vagabond Opera demolished that foolish pretension with their first notes. I was on my feet and wiggling like no one my age should. Their beat is that infectious.

They have a formula that releases us from everyday existence and transports us into a fantasy that is addictive enough to be classified as a dangerous substance. Let’s hope the DEA doesn’t clue into what these folks do.”

Read the rest of the article here!

ALL THINGS WEIRD AND WONDERFUL : Behind the music with Vagabond Opera

November 12th, 2009

ALL THINGS WEIRD AND WONDERFUL : Behind the music with Vagabond Opera
By Krissi Bucholtz in The Capilano Courier

“The band utilizes a strange combination of theatrics, comedy, dance, incredible musical talent and, of course, what band is complete without a little burlesque dancing? On Friday, November 6th, they shocked and awed the audience at the Capilano Performing Arts Theatre with their antics, which included speaking gibberish to each other between songs, and one of the band members pulling a set of false teeth out of her bra. Music and drama compete in Vagabond Opera, but the real wonder behind the scenes of the band is the secret ingredient of both these elements – improvisation. ”

Read the rest of the article here!

Seattle International Cabaret Festival, Report the Second

November 11th, 2009

Seattle International Cabaret Festival, Report the Second
By Sepia Chord

“Portland OR’s Vagabond Opera are consummate entertainers. They grab your attention from the minute they take the stage and woo you for the rest of the evening. I don’t know how you can watch them and not have a good time. They exude such constant, positive energy I get winded just watching them.”

Read the rest of the article here!

Vagabond — not your father’s opera

November 10th, 2009

Vagabond — not your father’s opera
By Jessica Schaeffer in Madison.com

“At the show, clubgoers can expect to see a touch of the naughty and exotic. With costumes that sometimes include corsets, suspenders and bowler hats, the band (six, including Sterns) brings vocal power plus piano, saxophone, accordion, cello, clarinet, drums and even the didgeridoo to create a unique cabaret experience with worldly rhythms and beats.”

Read the rest of the article here!

Vagabond Opera frontman Eric Stern is no stranger to irony

November 5th, 2009

Vagabond Opera frontman Eric Stern is no stranger to irony
By Tony Montague In Straight.com, Vancouver BC

“There’s certainly nothing too highbrow about Vagabond Opera’s fusion of music with popular theatre. The ensemble’s shows include many comedic elements, and the humour is often dark-hued, with a sharp sense of irony. “I think that comes partly from my being Jewish and having East European roots,” says Stern. ‘It’s in the history if not in the blood. Irony is also part of the cabaret tradition, especially in prewar Germany. Plus, this ensemble was created during the Bush years, and the politics of that time touch us. There’s no way we couldn’t be ironic.’ ”

Read the rest of the article here!