Portland, OR. Portland Opera is currently staging Gounod’s Faust with performances June 8th, 10th, 14th, and 16th. When season 55 kicks off in November, it will include two classics, an opera with a transgender heroine, and a rarely performed piece by a well-known composerThe season will launch Verdi’s romance La Traviata. In March, Portland Opera will present Laura Kaminsky’s coming-of-age story, As One, where two voices, a mezzo-soprano and a baritone, share the role of the transgender heroine Hannah. The season will continue in the spring with the company’s annual Big Night concert and vibrant production of Rossini’s great Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In July, the company will present Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera for the first time, followed by the company premiere of Philip Glass’s exploration of the nature of justice, In the Penal Colony, based on Franz Kafka’s short story.

In addition to mainstage programming, Portland Opera will host five unique evenings at the Hampton Opera Center, building on the company’s Vino e Voce series. Each performance will  feature intimate performances by 2018/19 season artists, al fresco dining, and drinks overlooking the Willamette River.

 “Each opera in the 2018/19 season brings us on a journey – whether that journey is across land, into the arms of love, or an internal journey into self-acceptance and belonging,” says General Director Christopher Mattaliano. “These stories inspire us time and time again. We can’t wait to share these moments with the Portland community.”

Portland Opera 2018/2019 Season

La Traviata – Giuseppe Verdi

Four performances: November 2, 4 (matinee), 8, 10, 2018

Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street

Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

Violetta Valéry                 Aurelia Florian

Alfredo Germont         Jonathan Boyd

Giorgio Germont         Weston Hurt

Flora                           Camille Sherman

Doctor                          Damien Geter

Marquis                 Geoffrey Schellenberg

Gastone                 David Warner

Annina                          Helen Huang

Conductor                       Christopher Larkin

Director                        Elise Sandell

A crown jewel of grand opera, La Traviata tells the story of the brilliant and beautiful Parisian courtesan Violetta Valéry as she falls in love with Alfredo Germont. Haunted by her reputation and illness, Violetta navigates sexual politics and confronts societal expectations as she braves a broken heart.

Classic sets and costumes honor tradition in this production.  Romanian soprano Aurelia Florian, whose performance of Violetta at the San Francisco Opera was called “incandescent” by the San Francisco Chronicle, makes her Portland Opera debut as our tour de force heroine. Tenor Jonathan Boyd, who sings the title role in this season’s production of Faust, returns to the company as Alfredo.

At the center of the Parisian Demimonde of the 19th century is one of opera’s most beloved heroines, Violetta Valéry,” says stage director Elise Sandell. “She lives in a world of luxurious and flagrant hedonism…and so will we in the audience while watching the opera! She’s a woman with intelligence and heart, who seems to have everything a woman could want: riches, popularity, and men to dote on her. She dares to give it all up to live a life of real love with Alfredo, who sees only her. This is a story we love to live over and over again…and when we stay true to the characters and the music, it never disappoints!”

As One – Laura Kaminsky

A Chamber Opera for Two Voices and String Quartet

Music and concept by Laura Kaminsky

Libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed

Five performances: March 22, 24 (matinee), 26, 28, 30, 2019

Newmark Theatre, 1111 SE Broadway Ave.

Sung in English with English supertitles projected above the stage.

Hannah after                    Hannah S. Penn

Hannah before           Alexander Elliott

Director, Conductor,

Set & Costume Designer  Andreas Mitisek

In this stunning coming-of-age story, two voices—a mezzo-soprano and a baritone—share the role of our transgender heroine Hannah as she endeavors to resolve the discord between herself and the outside world. Celebrated as one of the most important new works in the world of opera, Hannah’s story sheds light on universal truths of self-love and identity.

This chamber opera incorporates film, directed and created by Kimberly Reed. Former Portland Opera Resident Artists Hannah Penn and Alexander Elliott sing the roles of Hannah. Conductor, director, and designer Andreas Mitisek makes his Portland Opera debut with this production.  

As One was commissioned and developed by American Opera Projects, a nonprofit organization that has produced over 30 world premiere operas.  The piece premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2014, and in the 2016/17 season it was the 14th most produced opera in the country, surpassing Turandot and Il Barbiere di Siviglia. The New York Classical Review says of the piece “As One~is everything that we hope for in contemporary opera: topical, poignant, daring, and beautifully written.”

As One is an essential human story about~the journey of becoming~One,~Whole,~True.~We take this journey like every other human, unlike every other human,” says stage director Andreas Mitisek. “That is the power of the arts~–~to make us think and reflect, to open~new doors into worlds we didn’t know,~to remind us of what we each have to offer, and what we all have in common; to help us understand our history and imagine our future; to give us hope in the moments of struggle; and to bring us~together when nothing else will.”

Big Night 2019

May 11, 2019

Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street

Portland Opera’s annual Big Night concert is a one-night-only celebration of some of the most beautiful music ever composed. In 2019, the concert will feature a new addition – a special reveal of the 2019/20 season.

This performance will feature mezzo-soprano Aleksandra Romano, baritone John Moore, tenor Matthew Grills, the 2018/19 Portland Resident Artists, and the Portland Opera Orchestra and Chorus, led by Music Director George Manahan. General Director Christopher Mattaliano will be the host of the evening.

Il Barbiere di Siviglia – Gioachino Rossini

Four performances: June 7, 9 (matinee), 13, 15, 2019

Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street

Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage

Figaro                          John Moore

Count Almaviva          Jack Swanson

Rosina                          Aleksandra Romano

Dr. Bartolo                     Eduardo Chama

Don Basilio                     Adam Lau

Berta                           Antonia Tamer

Conductor                       George Manahan

Director                        Christopher Mattaliano

Count Almaviva has fallen for the charming Rosina and enlists the help of the town barber Figaro to assist in winning her affection. Together they try to outwit her horrible guardian, Dr. Bartolo, who also vies for her hand. Classic shenanigans and twists promise to delight audiences both young and young at heart in one of the greatest comic operas of all time.

Christopher Mattaliano’s colorful and nostalgic production is a fun-filled love letter to opera’s brilliant past. The piece stars Metropolitan Opera baritone John Moore as the scheming barber, mezzo-soprano Aleksandra Romano, last seen at Portland Opera as Isabella in The Italian Girl in Algiers, as Rosina, and Jack Swanson as Count Almaviva.

“This production of The Barber of Seville is high energy and high voltage,” says stage director Christopher Mattaliano. “We’re embracing the conventions of opera, which can be a ridiculous art form, and not apologizing for it. Rossini’s piece sparkles, and I can’t wait to bring this production of one of the most popular opera buffas back to the stage.”

La Finta Giardiniera – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Six performances: July 12, 14 (matinee), 18, 20, 24, 27, 2019

Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway Avenue

Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage

Sandrina                        Lindsay Ohse

Count Belfiore                  Thomas Cilluffo

Podesta                 Mark A. Thomsen

Arminda                 Antonia Tamer

Ramiro                  Camille Sherman

Serpetta                        Helen Huang

Nardo                           Geoffrey Schellenberg

Conductor                       George Manahan

Director                        Chas Rader-Shieber      

Violante goes into hiding as “the disguised gardener” at the local Mayor’s country estate after escaping her abusive lover, Count Belfiore. As she chooses forgiveness and to love again, a dizzying cast of characters in disguise, enamored, and in chaos come together in this seriocomic account of the very complex nature of the human heart.

Combining buoyant comedy with drama and sublime music, this opera from 1775 showcases everything we love about Mozart’s work.  Lindsay Ohse returns to Portland Opera as the title character in Chas Rader-Shieber’s inspired new production.

“The story of La Finta Giardiniera tells typically Mozartian emotional truths, even in the midst of comic mayhem and romantic confusion,” says stage director Chas Rader-Shieber. “With ideas straight out of the Age of Enlightenment, Mozart valiantly attempts to create order out of the chaos of love; a love that is messy and silly and glorious and profound. Both the aristocracy and their servants join in “carving topiary out of the weeds”, in a bittersweet search for calming reason in the wild landscape of passion.”

In the Penal Colony – Philip Glass

Eight performances: July 26, 28 (matinee), 30, August 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 2019

The Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre at the Hampton Opera Center, 211 SE Caruthers Street

Sung in English with English supertitles projected above the stage

The Visitor                     Martin Bakari

The Officer                     Ryan Thorn

Conductor                       Nicholas Fox

Director                        Jerry Mouawad

A visitor is invited to a penal colony to observe the execution of a prisoner at the hands of a nightmarish machine. The colony’s officer extols the virtues of the apparatus, which tortures as it kills, in this piece that the New York Times calls a “surreal exploration of injustice.” As the future of the institution is questioned, the visitor considers the consequences of meddling, and the officer grows more desperate to preserve the system.

Featuring a string quintet, this new production is directed and devised by Jerry Mouawad of Imago Theatre, who directed Portland Opera’s 2017 production of The Difficulty of Crossing a Field and The Little Match Girl Passion. Baritone Ryan Thorn and tenor Martin Bakari both return to Portland Opera as the Officer and Visitor.

In the Penal Colony is based on Franz Kafka’s short story by the same name. Librettist Rudy Wurlitzer adapted the piece for opera, and ACT Theatre in Seattle commissioned the work for its premiere in 2000.  

“The short story by Kafka is most disturbing and graphic – capital punishment and extreme torture that spits out a highly questionable redemption,” says stage director Jerry Mouawad. “Kafka seems to ask us poignant questions – is humankind in a tailspin, an endless cycle? Does darkness reign until light emerges, only long enough until we deem it necessary that darkness return again?”

Tickets and Information

Subscriptions for the 2018/19 season are on sale now. Single tickets for La Traviata and As One will go on sale on August 17, 2018, and single tickets for the remainder of the season will go on sale on December 7, 2018. For more information, and to purchase tickets visit http://www.portlandopera.org or call Patron Services at 503-241-1802.  For more information, patrons may also contact the Opera Concierge at [email protected].

Main stage operas are presented with projected English translations above the stage. Evening performances begin at 7:30 PM, and matinee performances begin at 2 PM.  Late seating is not permitted. Tickets and subscriptions can be purchased online at portlandopera.org, by calling (503) 241-1802, or in-person at the Hampton Opera Center, located at 211 SE Caruthers Street in Portland, Oregon. Patron Services hours are Monday through Friday, 10 AM – 5 PM.

Portland Opera is a participant in Arts for All—providing $5 tickets for Oregon Trail Card holders for operas at the Keller Auditorium and Newmark Theatre.

A limited number of rush tickets (for seniors, students, and United States Armed Forces personnel and their families) are available for performances. Student rush tickets are available online on the Monday before the performances. Call 503-241-1802 for more information.

Portland Opera offers wheelchair accessible and companion seating for every performance throughout the season, and offers assisted listening devices for productions at the Newmark Theatre and Keller Auditorium.  Designated performances also include a live audio-description of the visual and physical events on-stage for patrons who are blind or have low vision. Please contact Patron Services for additional information.

Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of funders including The Collins Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Arts Commission, Work for Art, the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, and The Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund.

About Portland Opera

Portland Opera exists to inspire, challenge, and uplift its audiences by creating productions of high artistic quality and is proud to be a part of the region’s thriving artistic and business community. We celebrate the beauty and breadth of the opera repertoire with performances that take place in the Keller Auditorium, Newmark Theatre, and the Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre at the Hampton Opera Center. The company is also a committed educational partner, touring fully staged operas to schools and community centers throughout Oregon and SW Washington region each year, in addition to a host of other efforts designed to make opera accessible for all.