After the Opera House was built in 1881, it was a whistle stop on the vaudeville circuit, the site for shows starring Al Jolson, Mae West, and the John Philip Sousa Big Band. Continuing that tradition on Friday, February 8th, is the six-piece, Portland, Oregon-based Vagabond Opera.
Tickets available at www.MauchChunkOperaHouse.com or at SoundCheck Records in Jim Thorpe, across the street from the Inn at Jim Thorpe.
European Cabaret! Vintage Americana! Balkan Belly Dance! Neo-Classical Opera! Old World Yiddish Theater! The group delivers passionate offerings of Bohemian cabaret for young and old. Paris hot jazz, gut bucket swing, tangos, Ukrainian folk-punk ballads, klezmer and vigorous originals meet a world of riverboat gambling queens, and Turkish belly dancers.
Weaving elements of Kurt Weil, Duke Ellington and Edith Piaf with absurdist flair, theatrics and an old world mood, Vagabond Opera presents the new wave of opera–lusty voices singing in 13 languages and presenting a cabaret of rich musical phrasing, sparkling lyrics and indomitable stage presence, all played with exuberance, skill and a gritty Vagabond edge. They’re described by the Washington Post as “a band of ceaseless charisma, boundless energy, impeccable musicianship and more than a little touch of both the naughty and exotic.”
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 elements of Cabaret and other musical forms.
The band’s lineup features four vocalists, including trained operatic tenor and soprano vocals, accordion, tenor saxophone, clarinet, two cellos, stand-up bass, and drums. Guest performers and dancers often appear with the ensemble.
Jacqueline Hyde brings Burlesque back the Opera House on Saturday, February 9th with Valentease, kindling the fire of love and desire with
the perfect bewitching blend of top talents and rising stars to the stage for a night of burlesque, cabaret dance and live music. She’s a versatile performance artist with a deep background as a professional ballroom dancer and extensive experience as an independent international burlesque artist. Jacqueline has wooed audiences since 2005 with such acts as Bring on the Men, Moondance, Bad Things (Fire Tassels), Stray Cats, and Nervous Beats.
Ms. Hyde has graced the stages of the burlesque world since 2005. She has performed all over the US, Canada, and Europe in both burlesque and ballroom venues. With over 15 years experience as a professional ballroom and Latin dancer, Jacqueline made the transition to the burlesque and cabaret arena with ease.
Joining Ms. Hyde are the lovely Queens of Burlesque, Angie Pontani of New York and Miss Indigo Blue of Seattle, and , among many other talents, Jo Weldon, Harvest Moon, and Koston Kreme.
On Sunday, February 17 the Allentown Band, one of the finest wind ensembles in the country, visits the Opera House. Bringing along with them the dynamic soloists soprano Evelyn Stewart and baritone Chet Brown. Click here for the evening’s exciting program. It is always a thrill to see 40 pieces take their places at the Opera House, a building that was built for bands like this.
And finally, we could not continue without featuring Opera, with a presentation of From Danny Boy to Phantom, Classics from Ireland to Broadway. Courtesy of the Manhattan Lyric Opera, featuring the fine lyric coloratura and ensemble founder, Anne Tormela, with the award-winning actor and American singing sensation Nat Chandler, and pianist Renee Guerrero, the program emphasizes Broadway and Irish classics that are familiar to many.
To hear vocalists such as Ms. Tormela and Mr. Chandler is a particularly special treat at the Opera House. Built by the famed architect Addison Hutton in 1881, the Opera House was intended suit the love of audiences of the day, for great sound and live performance. To this day, this is still the mission.
All these performances aptly celebrate a throwback weekend of performance, taking us all back many decades in time.