Portland, Ore.'s Vagabond Opera, a hybrid opera-cabaret-Gypsy music ensemble, performs tonight and is led by tenor Eric Stern a classically trained opera singer who swerved.
"I was disillusioned," he said in a telephone interview. "I love opera, but I think the Western classical tradition was a deep tradition to be mined. In this country, opera has an institutional mindset. The whole thing seems clunky."
So he assembled a group of musicians who also were performance artists and created Vagabond Opera. "Opera tries to get young people involved, but it's not going balls-to-the-wall in a visceral way," Stern said.