‘The Fortune Teller’ stops in Baker City


BAKER CITY — Zach Buker and Jordan Bowman are mainstays in Baker City as they serenade diners at the Geiser Grand Hotel every Tuesday night.

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 11.50.54 AMThe two founded Opera Elect after graduating from the College of Idaho, and take live opera on the road to perform in restaurants and bars.

Just a few weeks ago, the pair began touring “The Fortune Teller,” an operetta that combines speaking and singing parts, similar to a musical.

This is their second full-scale production, following their first in August 2015.

“Everybody who had us last year booked us right away,” Buker said.

That includes Eastern Oregon Regional Theatre in Baker City. “The Fortune Teller” can be seen at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Aug. 11-13) and 2 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 14) at the Iron Gate Theater, 2101 Main St. (upstairs in Basche-Sage Place). Tickets will be sold at the door for $10, or $5 for EORT members and students.

Bowman composed the music for “The Fortune Teller,” and her 18-year-old sister, Madelein Bowman, wrote the script. The cast is just three: Buker and Jordan play a couple (Marcus and Helen) who are expecting their first child. As she nears the end of her term, both begin worrying about what kind of parents they will be, so they consult a fortune teller on the advice of a friend. Madelein plays both the friend (Tammy) and the fortune teller (Ludmilla Lyudbotchka).

When asked how she came up with the plot, Madelein said she simply went by the suggestion from Buker and Jordan: “write something for three people that isn’t very elaborate set-wise.”

“She tailored the parts to us,” Buker said. “It’s an accessible story plot because that’s what we’re about.”

The two performers said bringing opera into unlikely places — such as the Geiser Grand’s balcony — is a way to introduce more people to the genre, and the same goes for “The Fortune Teller.”

“Don’t let the word ‘operetta’ scare you,” Buker said. “It’s a funny show, a fast-moving show. And you can understand it — it’s in English.”

“The Fortune Teller” is one hour, 20 minutes in length, and about 35 minutes of that is music.

Audience members are encouraged to dress casually, they said.

“And we’ll hang out afterward,” Jordan added.

About the performers

Buker decided to become an opera singer four years ago, and is currently working on his master’s. Jordan has been into singing for most of her life, but started out in a heavy metal band. When they disbanded, she signed up for a couple singing competitions and was told her voice was perfect for opera.

Madelein plans to attend the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, where she will pursue a double major in vocal performance and digital media and broadcasting. She has also joined her sister and Buker several times at the Geiser Grand.

Opera Elect will continue performing at the hotel on Tuesdays through the end of September.

Information about the singers is posted on the Opera Elect Facebook page, as well as their website, operaelect.org.

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