IMAGE: owen carey
If there’s a map for how classical singing careers are navigated, then Tuesday Rupp doesn’t own it. Or she balled it up and tossed it in the back seat of her ’98 Camry and it’s hiding under a thick stack of sheet music.
It wouldn’t help her anyway. With the kind of all-terrain musical territory Rupp is covering in Portland, she’s the kind of trailblazing young classical musician generating real heat here.
“She excels at all the things she chooses to do,” says Mark Powell, executive director of Cappella Romana, one of her favored singing homes. A recent Rupp recital—from Brahms lieder to pop murder ballads—showed just the type of wide-ranging indie-meets-classical intersection that sets the singer apart.
“I feel like I have the most motley assortment of gigs in town,” Rupp says over midday coffee between gigs. “By the time I get to the next thing, I’m usually ready to move on to something different.”
One of Rupp’s newest, and most different, endeavors is her seven-woman vocal ensemble, In Mulieribus (the name means “among women”), birthed in 2004 by Rupp and her friend and colleague, conductor-singer Anna Song. She counts the early music all-stars Anonymous Four and Trio Mediæval as among the ensemble’s influences.
Rupp’s emotional connection to early music blossomed in college at Boston University. On assignment in the college’s “listening library,” she remembers coming across a recording of 15th-century French master Guillaume de Machaut. “I just burst into tears,” she says. The raw, exposed musical sonorities resonated with her. “They’re just so out there,” she adds, “and you don’t hear those chords again until the 20th century.”
When Trio Mediæval skipped through town last month, In Mulieribus met with them for a master class—an experience Rupp called “transformative” for the ensemble. Powell, who saw the class, agrees: “I was spellbound the whole time—there was real magic in the room.”
With an attractive first album for In Mulieribus in the can, and a full plate of projects for IM and her other endeavors down the road, Rupp feels ready to drive ahead in the classical scene. “I think Portland is a town ripe to develop new musical genres,” she says. Whatever’s next, look for Rupp at the wheel.
SEE IT: St. Philip Neri Church, 2408 SE 16th Ave., 231-4955. 7:30 pm Wednesday, Dec. 19. $15.