Emerging from the emerald twilight of Portland Oregon, sepiatonic troubadour Eric Stern, the Northwest’s own premiere operatic tenor, accordionist, pianist, composer and consummate showman, founder and leader of Vagabond Opera continues his alchemical and absinthe-tinged forays into the wee hours of the morning, on steamships, and in exotic ports of call, in London alleyways and Marseille brothels, to concoct Steampunk Cabaret.
Eric Stern has appeared on NPR and performed at the Kennedy Center, The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, Joe’s Pub in NYC, , throughout the Northwest, and internationally from Portland to Paris to Poland. Stern has appeared with Balkan BeatBox, Jason Webley, The Decemberists, Devotchka, Unwoman, and many others.
“Eric Stern, a mustachioed 36-year-old operatic tenor and accordion player…has a back story nearly as bohemian as the music he plays.”
~ The Washington Post
“Stern has found an exuberant and satisfying place where operatic vocal technique and popular idioms intersect… while also exposing unlikely audiences to the visceral pleasures of a Bel Canto voice.”
~ The NY Press
“…maniac, razor-sharp…delightfully nuts.”
~ The Toronto Star
“To hear Stern intone the introduction to “Ravella” in the stentorian tones of a carnival barker is to hear a man whose love of the absurd is matched only by his complete lack of inhibition.”
~ New York Forward
“His voice is alternately serenading and commanding, and his original numbers often reverberate with wry humor.” “Last Saturday, it was the cleverest of cabarets, performed by Eric Stern, he of Vagabond Opera, the gypsy-jazzy-klezmer troupe of his own invention; he of the huge, swooping tenor; he of the long face and lightning wit. Stern is an artist seemingly comfortable in any habitat, be it singing onstage in a gilded opera house, roving around a party working his accordion or, as was the case at Bold Sky, wedged in at upright piano with no more than six inches separating him from the closest diner. ‘I don’t mind if they don’t mind,’ Stern says, of the close proximity.” ~ The Oregonian “Singer-accordionist Eric Stern, a man whose imagination is as big and colorful as his cabarett-primed voice.”
~ The Oregonian
“Prepare to seriously crush on Eric Stern of Vagabond Opera Friday night at Jazzbones. There’s something about his decadent, chocolaty voice and his rebellious use of unusual music that makes him at least a fascinating, enigmatic character and at most a goddess, demon, virgin whore. (After you’ve seen the show that last line will make a lot more sense to you.) Anyway, back to Stern (no relation to Howard), not only does he have tremendous talent and academic degrees to back up his skill, he also has this sexually ambiguous Tim Curry charisma thing going on - which is no small accomplishment while playing the accordion.”
~ Tacoma Volcano Weekl