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Portland Opera is an American opera company based at The Hampton Opera Center in Portland, Oregon. Its mainstage performances take place in the Keller Auditorium, while the Portland Opera Studio Theater at the Hampton center is used for performances of chamber operas. Portland Opera was one of the first opera companies to introduce surtitles in its productions, and has presented several world and US premieres.
Portland Opera was founded as the Portland Opera Association in 1964 by the conductor Henry Holt. Its first performance was Strauss' Die Fledermaus, the only opera presented that season. Holt served as the company's General Director for the first two years of existence. The General Director post was next held by the Austrian conductor Herbert Weiskopf, who died of a heart attack in March 1970 after conducting a performance of Lucia di Lammermoor. The conductor Stefan Minde then took over as General Director and served until 1984, followed by Robert Bailey, a stage director, and National Public Radio's first Director of Culture Programming, who served until 2003. As of 2009, the General Director is Christopher Mattaliano, stage director and former Artistic Director of the Pine Mountain Music Festival. He was appointed in 2003 and is Portland Opera's fifth General Director.
In 1994 the company began a separate subscription series of nationally touring Broadway musicals in an effort to broaden its audience base and increase the revenue available for its opera productions. The end of the 2008/2009 season marked the 11th straight year that the company ended its season with a budget surplus. The company's 2009/2010 opera season programmed four mainstage productions at the Keller Auditorium, La bohème, Così fan tutte, The Barber of Seville, and Philip Glass' Orphée, as well as a studio production of Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti at the Hampton Opera Center.
Artists who have appeared with the company include the conductors, Donato Cabrera, David Giménez Carreras, and Christopher Larkin; and the singers Klara Barlow, Gregory Reinhart, Marcello Giordani, Charles Castronovo, and Jozsef Gregor.
Portland Opera's premiere performances include:
- Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights (1982, world premiere of an abridged version)
- Christopher Drobny's Lucy's Lapses (1990, world premiere)
- Reynaldo Hahn's Le marchand de Venise (The Merchant of Venice) (1996, US premiere)
- William Bolcom's A View from the Bridge (2003, US West Coast premiere)
Notes and references
- Norberg (October 31, 2007)
- Past productions record, Portland Opera
- New York Times, (March 23, 1970)
- Stabler (July 14, 2009)
- Kellow (November 1996)
- Campbell (May 3, 1990)
- Campbell (November 4, 1996)
- Van Allen (January 17, 2002)
- Campbell, Ruth M., "Portland Opera's 'Lucy's Lapses' is Promising Despite Giddiness", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 3, 1990. Accessed 29 September 2009.
- Campbell, Ruth M., "Portland Opera Goes Out on a Limb Presenting Merchant of Venice" Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 4, 1996. Accessed via subscription 29 September 2009.
- Kellow, Brian, "Portland's Progress", Opera News, November 1996. Accessed via subscription 29 September 2009.
- New York Times, "Herbert Weiskopf", March 23, 1970, p. 41.
- Norberg, Eric, "An Inner Southeast “crown jewel” — the Portland Opera", Portland Bee, October 31, 2007. Accessed 29 September 2009.
- Stabler, David, "Portland Opera ends season in the black", The Oregonian, July 14, 2009. Accessed 29 September 2009.
- Van Allen, Angela, "Portland Opera Set for Diverse new Season", The Columbian, January 17, 2002. Accessed via subscription 29 September 2009.