- Resident Artists
Fresh, new love may have its distinct passion. But married love adds a depth and breadth to that passion, binding two souls tightly into a single being. Such is the love between Orphée and his beloved Eurydice—one of the deepest, truest loves of all time.
Philip Glass—the most renowned and often produced opera composer of our time— carefully follows the script of Jean Cocteau’s 1949 film Orphée. Mining such rich mythology, he creates a work of remarkable power that celebrates the potency of love and loyalty.
The delicacy and simplicity of the music highlight the powerful range of emotions that the characters—and all of us—experience in the course of this “must see” opera.
The Portland Opera/West Coast premiere of a production the New York Times called “stunning.”
Sung in French with English translations projected above the stage.
Performances held at the Keller Auditorium.
Audio described performance is Thursday, November 12.
download the study guide pdf
|Stage Director||Sam Helfrich|
Scenery designed by Andrew Lieberman
Costumes designed by Kaye Voyce
The scenery and costumes were originally created for Glimmerglass Opera
ACT I — Orphée, a famous poet, chats with another old poet friend and watches enviously as a group of young people swarm around Cégeste, a younger, up-and-coming poet. Orphée becomes transfixed with Cégeste’s patron, The Princess, but the spell is broken when the drunken Cégeste starts a brawl, causing the cops to arrive and break up the party. Cégeste manages to flee the room, but, outside, is struck down by two motorcyclists. The stunned crowd watches as the motorcyclists enter bearing Cégeste’s lifeless body. As the police attempt to move the body, The Princess and her chauffeur, Heurtebise, intervene, and the party clears out. She then turns to Orphée and demands that he accompany her as they transport the corpse. Orphée, in a state of shock, complies, but then is startled to watch as The Princess apparently brings Cégeste back to life and leads him from the room through a mirror. Heurtebise returns carrying a radio, which he presents to the dazed and confused Orphée, then escorts Orphée home.
There, Orphée’s wife, Eurydice, worries and waits for the missing Orphée to return. Her friend Aglaonice waits with her, along with the police commissioner. Finally, Orphée arrives, to Eurydice’s relief, but then rudely dismisses both the commissioner and Aglaonice. Distracted and preoccupied, Orphée interrupts his wife as she tries to tell him that she is pregnant, then closes himself in his studio, along with the radio, leaving Eurydice with Heurtebise, who has entered unobtrusively and watched the entire scene.
Time passes. Orphée becomes obsessed with listening to the radio, which emits mysterious messages. Neglecting Eurydice, he works feverishly to transcribe the words, which he interprets as poetic inspiration. Eurydice turns to Heurtebise for comfort.
Cégeste’s death and disappearance remain a mystery. At the commissioner’s office, Orphée’s older poet friend, along with Aglaonice, accuse Orphée of plagiarizing the dead Cégeste’s work. The commissioner, reminding them that Orphée is a famous poet and a national treasure, dismisses them, and they threaten to find their own justice.
Meanwhile, Eurydice, desperately unhappy, decides to visit Aglaonice. As she leaves, motorcycles are heard once again, and Heurtebise rushes out, returning a moment later with the dying Eurydice, whom he lays out tenderly on the daybed. When he tries to tell Orphée that his wife is near death, the poet ignores him, preferring to write. Finally, Orphée looks up from his work, and Heurtebise informs him that his wife is now dead, but that if he is willing to follow, Orphée can reclaim his wife from The Princess, whom Heurtebise reveals as Death. Following Heurtebise’s instructions, they travel together through the mirror.
ACT II — In the Underworld, The Princess is on trial before a panel of nameless judges for taking Eurydice’s life without “orders.” During the strange trial, Cégeste, The Princess, Orphée, Heurtebise, and Eurydice are each interrogated, and it comes out that The Princess is in love with Orphée and that Heurtebise is in love with Eurydice. The judges withdraw to study the case, leaving Orphée and The Princess alone together. Orphée professes his love for The Princess and swears to return to her regardless of what happens. The judges return to pronounce their sentence: The Princess is given provisional freedom, and Eurydice may return to her life with Orphée upon the condition that he never looks directly at her again. Heurtebise, at his own suggestion, is appointed to accompany them. They return home, but find it nearly impossible to comply with the condition. To avoid Eurydice, Orphée retreats into his studio along with the mysterious radio, but eventually, his gaze falls on his wife, and she immediately disappears back into the Underworld.
Soon after, a mob of angry youngsters appears to confront Orphée about Cégeste’s death. Heurtebise hands Orphée a pistol, and during the confrontation, Orphée is shot. Returning to the underworld, Orphée is reunited with The Princess, but she commands Heurtebise to return Orphée, once and for all, to his life. Despite his protests, she is adamant, explaining, “A poet’s death must sacrifice herself to make him immortal.”
Orphée is returned through the mirror, and finds Eurydice resting casually. They chatter about the child they’re expecting before Orphée heads back to work, seemingly unaware of all that has passed. In the Underworld, The Princess and Heurtebise are led off to their frightening, unspecified judgments.
“The process is to become super-involved with the subject matter. And as the subject matter becomes clear to me, the music can take shape.”
—Philip Glass in a 1994 interview with Melissa Harris
There are over 66 operas dealing with the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. This number does not include operas in which the Orpheus myth appears peripherally, or even operas that are anonymous, and does not begin to touch on the number of plays, ballets, films, novels and paintings based on this story. At a glance, it makes perfect sense that composer after composer should wish to write the music that would sing the story of Eternity’s greatest musician and his beloved wife. This tale of a love beyond death, of the immortality of art, of the sacrifice of human passions to artistic ones, is a many-layered story, compelling in its simplicities as well as its complexities.
The foundation of the Orpheus myth in the form recognizable to us first appears in the 6th century BCE. The most widely disseminated narrations were those of Virgil and Ovid, with the version from Ovid’s Metamorphoses gaining great popularity during theRenaissance. While the bones of the myth are ultimately tragic (Orpheus is torn apart by vengeful Bacchantes after losing his wife, Eurydice, to death and reclaiming her from Hades, only to lose her again because he could not comply with the condition of her release), most of the operas have substantially altered the plot to allow a joyful reunion of Orpheus and his wife.
The ancients recognized the allegorical possibilities of the Orpheus myth, and many of the more modern treatments of it go beyond Orpheus as chanteur and lover. The details of the legend offer intriguing offshoots to explore. Jean Cocteau explored the themes of death, immortality and art in his play and his film of the same name. Cocteau is particularly drawn to the idea of meeting one’s own death specifically and the flirtation of the artists with their own mortality during the process of creation. In his film, Cocteau poses the question to Orphée, “Who do you want, Eurydice or Death?” Orphée answers, “Both.” Cocteau’s vision of Orpheus accuses the comforts and joys of life, symbolized by Eurydice, of stifling originality and inspiration. Orphée is wildly successful, adored by the public, but disdained by the young poets who are the heirs to what was once the cutting edge of his artistry. He has sold out. Or has he? Throughout this retelling, the tension between mortality and immortality is personified. But there remains much that is mysterious, much that is hinted at, but never explained.
Cocteau said, “Mystery exists only in precise things.” It seems natural then that the precise, disciplined and deliberate inspiration of Philip Glass should lend itself to reinterpreting Cocteau’s meditations on the creative process in Orphée. Glass was no stranger to the operatic stage when he received the commission from American Repertory Theater for Orphée, the first in what would become his “Cocteau Trilogy,” which includes Orphée, La Belle et la Bête and Les Enfants Terribles. He had tremendous success with his “Portrait Trilogy,” all massive works, including the six-hour Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, and Akhnaten. In addition, Glass, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, had written The Voyage, ostensibly about Columbus’ discovery of the New World, but ultimately a rumination upon exploration. With Orphée, Glass pares down the awe-inspiring visuals and writes more intimately.
Asked why he was interested in basing opera on Cocteau’s films, Glass gave a two-fold answer. He told writer Melissa Harris, “Opera has always been based on the literature of its time, whether it be poetry or plays or novels. Part of the literature of our time is certainly film.” Of course, these films were made by Jean Cocteau, and therein lies the second answer to the question. “[Cocteau]…was viewing the same subject from many different angles. He was completely obsessed with this one subject: the creative process … you can see that clearly in Orphée. There he takes on art in terms of immortality—the relationship between death and mortality and art.” It seems, though, that Orphée may have had more personal resonance for the composer, as well as the purity of creative simpatico between Cocteau and Glass.
About the time that Glass was writing Orphée, some critics expressed dismay at the “conventional” nature of his work in the early 1990s, including The Voyage and Hydrogen Jukebox. Instead of viewing these works as an evolution as Glass clearly does—“The only way music can be profoundly successful is if the musical language is part of the argument of the piece” —“rigorous” musicians and critics saw a “backsliding” from the originality of Glass’ 1970s work. They saw the “cultural phenomenon” that is Philip Glass as a liability, and that the lessening importance of individual works in the context of the body of his works weakened the individual works. Compare this with the opening of Orphée, where dapper, successful Orphée converses with an older poet. “No doubt they think I’m old hat too, and that a poet shouldn’t be too famous,” he says. It is Cocteau’s line, but it must ring true to artists from Weill and Bernstein to Glass, artists whose work defied genres and gained popularity with the public yet remained “legitimate.”
Glass also suffered the loss of his young wife, artist Candy Jernigan, in 1991, two years before the premiere of Orphée. “She was going to live forever, as far as I was concerned.” Jernigan’s art also gained her a kind of immortality after her death. During her lifetime she was little known outside the avant-garde art world, whereas two books of her collages were published posthumously. Orphée’s themes of love and loss, inspiration and creation, mortality and immortality weave in and out of Glass’ personal life during this time, and make the work seem more intimate and intricate. It also seems to fit with the way that Glass prefers to work. “The process is to become super involved with subject matter. And as the subject matter becomes clear to me, the music can take shape.” Glass had visited the Paris that Cocteau’s films documented—1954, the poets, the artists’ cafés. He was young and involved in the “scene.” He knew Cocteau’s work and was “attracted to it…” His timing allowed him to become even more intimately connected to the questions posed within the film and transferred into the opera. The result is spellbinding.
Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.
The operas—Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, Akhnaten, and The Voyage, among many others—play throughout the world’s leading
He was born in 1937 and grew up in Baltimore. He studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson and Quincy Jones) and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar. He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble—seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer.
The new musical style that Glass was evolving was eventually dubbed “minimalism.” Glass himself never liked the term and preferred to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” Much of his early work was based on the extended reiteration of brief, elegant melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry. Or, to put it another way, it immersed a listener in a sort of sonic weather that twists, turns, surrounds, develops.
There has been nothing “minimalist” about his output. In the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than twenty operas, large and small; eight symphonies (with others already on the way); two piano concertos and concertos for violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra; soundtracks to films ranging from new scores for the stylized classics of Jean Cocteau to Errol Morris’s documentary about former defense secretary Robert McNamara; string quartets; a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He has collaborated with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma, and Doris Lessing, among many others. He presents lectures, workshops, and solo keyboard performances around the world, and continues to appear regularly with the Philip Glass Ensemble.
—Courtesy of Tim Page (www.philipglass.com)
Portland Opera Debut
Lyric soprano Lisa Saffer has graced opera and concert stages worldwide with her versatility, intelligence, and musicality in a range of repertoire.
Lisa Saffer - Princessa
Portland Opera DebutLyric soprano Lisa Saffer has graced opera and concert stages worldwide with her versatility, intelligence, and musicality in a range of repertoire. Whether it be with the English National Opera at London’s Coliseum in the title role in Berg’s Lulu, Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra, or Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the New York Philharmonic, Lisa Saffer is “one of those special singers whose technique and blooming sound always serves sense and emotion”.
The reviews for her London performance as Lulu said it was “grippingly acted [and] -- not a given in this marathon of a part -- musically sung. Saffer commands the stage.” For her portrayal she was honored to receive the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for best vocal performance, and she was nominated for an “Olivier” for outstanding achievement in Opera - London’s prestigious equivalent of Broadway’s “Tony”. Of her performance in the role of Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, The Boston Globe noted, “Her silvery, brainy vocalism was world-class throughout and in the last celebratory aria, she brought the house down, rocketing off coloratura with flourish and showing off a splendid high C”. She is as much at home singing Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro as she is his C Minor Mass, and has delighted and astonished audiences with performances in Britten’s opera, The Rape of Lucretia, conducted by Oliver Knussen, and his Spring Serenade written for orchestra and conducted by Robert Spano.
She first came to prominence for her performances of baroque operas in Stephen Wadsworth’s Monteverdi cycle. Soon she began appearing on CD in a landmark series of Handel recordings with conductor Nicholas McGegan on Harmonia Mundi USA. Ms. Saffer is now much in demand for Handel roles at venues including Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass, New York City Opera, San Diego, the International Handel Festival in Göttingen, Germany, and Barcelona’s Gran Teatro del Liceu. In addition she appears with leading orchestras in baroque repertoire, including the orchestras of Detroit, Indianapolis, Minnesota, and Philadelphia, the National Symphony in Washington, DC, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, with whom she appeared on tour at Disney Hall in Los Angeles and Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in New York City.
Ms. Saffer is sought after as a Mozart interpreter, acclaimed for her performances as Sandrina/La Finta Giardiniera, Despina/Così fan tutte, Servillia/La Clemenza di Tito, Aminta/Il Re Pastore, and Susanna/Le Nozze di Figaro, and for concert arias, Exsultate Jubilate, and his masses. She takes particular joy in performance of bel canto roles, especially Adina in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore and Norina in Don Pasquale.
Ms. Saffer is also widely recognized for her skill as an interpreter of contemporary scores and is identified with the works of Oliver Knussen, several of which she has recorded for DGG. With the Chicago Symphony Orchestra she has performed James Primrosch’s From a Book of Hours/Rilke (Christoph Eschenbach, conductor) and John Harbison’s Four Psalms (conductor Antonio Pappano); Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges with the Cleveland Orchestra/Boulez at Carnegie Hall; David del Tredici’s Ecstatic Alice with the Atlanta Symphony/Spano; and numerous works with Amsterdam’s Schoenberg Ensemble. In addition to Lulu, on the opera stage she has been acclaimed for performances in Harrison Birtwhistle’s Punch and Judy and Morton Feldman’s Neither for Netherlands Opera, Hans Werner Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and at the Tanglewood Festival, Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen for Houston Grand Opera, and was particularly acclaimed as Marie in Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten, which she has performed at ENO, Opera Bastille, and at New York City Opera.
Her gift for contemporary repertoire is also displayed in her frequent chamber music appearances under the auspices of such organizations as the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York Festival of Song, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and recitals on Lincoln Center’s “Art of the Song” series and at the Kennedy Center for the Vocal Arts Society.
Ms. Saffer’s many recordings appear on HMU USA, Virgin Classics, New World Records, DGG, Chandos, and Telarc. Her most recent release is Chandos’ 3-disc set of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu.
A native of Ann Arbor, she now makes her home in Portland, Maine. She is a voracious reader who also enjoys hiking and yoga. She also loves to cook, exploring her Greek and Italian culinary heritage.
Previously at Portland Opera: The Barber of Seville, 2004
Hailed by the New York Times for her “luminous, appealing, and agile voice,’ and crystalline coloratura, Georgia Jarman returns to New Orleans Opera for Violetta in La traviata and Opera de Colombia for Mimi in La bohème in the 2008/09 season.
Georgia Jarman - Eurydice
SopranoPreviously at Portland Opera: The Barber of Seville, 2004
Hailed by the New York Times for her “luminous, appealing, and agile voice,’ and crystalline coloratura, Georgia Jarman returns to New Orleans Opera for Violetta in La traviata and Opera de Colombia for Mimi in La bohème in the 2008/09 season. She also sings the Three Heroines in Les contes d’Hoffmann with Boston Lyric Opera and in a return to Polish National Opera and Rozenn in Lalo’s Le roi d’Ys with the American Symphony Orchestra in her Avery Fisher Hall debut as well as joins the Metropolitan Opera roster. In the 2007/08 season, she returned to the Polish National Opera for Mathilde in Guillaume Tell and the Three Heroines in Les contes d'Hoffmann, Florentine Opera as Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, and Palm Beach Opera for Violetta in La traviata. She also made her debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Robert Spano in performances of Musetta in La bohème that were released on the Telarc label and sang Elisetta in a new production of Il matrimonio segreto directed by Jonathan Miller at Brooklyn Academy of Music.
A sought-after artist in bel canto repertoire, she has appeared numerous times at Caramoor Music Festival with Will Crutchfield and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s including most recently, as Amenaide in Tancredi alongside Ewa Podles. Her previous engagements at the Caramoor Music Festival include her first performances of La traviata as well as the title role in Handel’s Deidamia, Norina in Don Pasquale, and Amina in La sonnambula. She joined Crutchfield again in her debut with Opera de Colombia for Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, a role she has also sung with New York City Opera along with Adina in L’elisir d’amore, and Portland Opera and has sung Marie in La fille du regiment with Florentine Opera and Indianapolis Opera. She made her European debut as Amelia in Gustave III Ou Le Bal Masque at L'Opéra de Metz in France, following which Opéra International exclaimed, "Georgia Jarman, impeccable singing, velvet timbre, is the most seductive and the most touching Amelie that one could dream of.”
The soprano recently joined Polish National Opera, reprising her celebrated performances of Amenaide in Tancredi, again with Ewa Podles. Her previous performances with Opera de Colombia also include Three Heroines in Les contes d'Hoffmann and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She has been a frequent presence on the stage of New York City Opera for numerous other roles that include Cunegonde in Candide, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, and Mélisande in Dukas' Ariane et Barbe-Bleue. Among her other recent engagements are her first performances of Madame Mao in Nixon in China with Cincinnati Opera, the title role in Thais with Palm Beach Opera, and Mimi in La bohème with New Orleans Opera. She has also joined Dallas Opera for Antonia and Olympia in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Opera Grand Rapids for Violetta in La Traviata, and Gotham Chamber Opera for Fortuna in Mozart's Il sogno di Scipione.
She received a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music and her Bachelor of Music from Boston University.
Previously at Portland Opera: The Turn of the Screw, 2009
Ryan MacPherson is one of the most in-demand young tenors of this generation. This season he made his role debut with New York City Opera as Anathol in VANESSA and has recently added the role of Don José in CARMEN to his repertoire, with notable performances with Opera Memphis, Festival Opera of Walnut Creek and at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.
Ryan MacPherson - Heurtebise
Previously at Portland Opera: The Turn of the Screw, 2009Ryan MacPherson is one of the most in-demand young tenors of this generation. This season he made his role debut with New York City Opera as Anathol in VANESSA and has recently added the role of Don José in CARMEN to his repertoire, with notable performances with Opera Memphis, Festival Opera of Walnut Creek and at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. He also made his company debut at the Opera National de Paris (Bastille) as the Vision of a Young Man in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN and role debut as Ruggero in LA RONDINE with Sarasota Opera and performances of Don Ottavio in DON GIOVANNI with Utah Symphony and Opera and George Hancock in MARGARET GARNER with Michigan Opera Theatre. Mr. MacPherson wraps up the year with the New York Philharmonic where he is featured in performances of ELEKTRA in concert under the baton of Maestro Maazel. Upcoming engagements include Rodolfo in LA BOHÈME with Lyric Opera Productions in Dublin, Tamino in THE MAGIC FLUTE with Florentine Opera, the title role in CANDIDE with Toledo Opera, Heurtebise in ORPHÉE and Ferrando in COSÌ FAN TUTTE both with Portland Opera.
Last season Mr. MacPherson took the stage as Ferrando in COSÌ FAN TUTTE for New York City Opera and opened their previous season as Flamand in CAPRICCIO after touring with the company in Japan as Laurie in LITTLE WOMEN. He is a recent recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Award honoring his contribution as a young artist to New York City Opera. Other notable roles from last season include Belmonte in ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO with Michigan Opera Theatre, Luis in THE GONDOLIERS with the Utah Symphony and Opera and roles in the concert productions of Zemlinsky's DER FERNE KLANG and Smyth's THE WRECKERS with the American Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. MacPherson also recently performed his first Duke in RIGOLETTO with Opera Memphis and then made debuts with Lyric Opera Kansas City repeating the role of Camille in THE MERRY WIDOW and with Shreveport Opera in the title role of FAUST and the role of Hot Biscuit Slim in PAUL BUNYAN with Central City Opera.
In 2003, Mr. MacPherson made his Opera Memphis debut as Rodolfo in LA BOHÈME and in the spring of 2004 returned to sing the role of George Shannon in the world premiere of LEWIS AND CLARK. That summer he traveled to Long Beach Opera for Henry Morosus' DIE SCHWEIGSAME FRAU with Andreas Mitisek directing and returned to New York City Opera where he created the role of Iff the Water Genie in the world premiere of Charles Wuorinen's HAROUN, SEA OF STORIES and was heard by Opera Memphis audiences as Camille in THE MERRY WIDOW.
He has toured the nation twice with San Francisco Opera's Western Opera Theatre Tour; once as Alfred in DIE FLEDERMAUS and again as Ferrando in COSÌ FAN TUTTE. He also created the roles of Reporter and Cardinal O'Connoll for the world premiere of Anton Coppola's SACCO AND VANZETTI for Opera Tampa. Other performance highlights include Eisenstein with the San Francisco Opera's Merola Program production of DIE FLEDERMAUS; Roderigo in OTELLO with Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Opera Omaha; Rinuccio in GIANNI SCHICCHI with the Metro Lyric Opera of New Jersey and the Merola Program; Sam in SUSANNAH at the Aspen Music Festival; Don Ottavio in DON GIOVANNI at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House.
Included in the prestigious companies throughout the United States, he has sung with Opera Omaha in the role of Remendado in CARMEN followed by his debut with the New York City Opera in SALOME as the Third Jew and in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO as Don Curzio. In 2003 he made his debut with Toledo Opera in the role of Ferrando in COSÌ FAN TUTTE.
Mr. MacPherson made his Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center debuts creating the role of Meriwether Lewis in Michael Ching's new opera CORPS OF DISCOVERY. Mr. MacPherson's oratorio engagements have included Stravinsky Renard, Ravel L'enfant et les Sortilèges, Haydn Lord Nelson Mass, Mozart Vesperae Solennes De Confessore and Requiem, and Handel Ode On St. Cecilia's Day and Messiah.
As graduate student of Yale University, Ryan MacPherson performed the roles of Rodolfo in LA BOHÈME, Vaudemont in Tchaikovsky's IOLANTA, Fenton in FALSTAFF, Ein Soldat in DER KAISER VON ATLANTIS and Eisenstein in DIE FLEDERMAUS. Prior to his studies at Yale, he attended the University of Missouri-Columbia, and was heard as Sam in SUSANNAH, Tony in WEST SIDE STORY and Whizzer in MARCH OF THE FLASETTOS.
Portland Opera Debut
Philip Cutlip has garnered consistent critical acclaim for his performances in both North America and Europe. Established on both concert and opera stages, he has performed with a distinguished list of conductors that includes Nicholas McGegan, Yves Abel, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Gerard Schwarz, and Donald Runnicles.
Philip Cutlip - Orphée
Portland Opera DebutPhilip Cutlip has garnered consistent critical acclaim for his performances in both North America and Europe. Established on both concert and opera stages, he has performed with a distinguished list of conductors that includes Nicholas McGegan, Yves Abel, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Gerard Schwarz, and Donald Runnicles.
Mr. Cutlip's 2008/09 season currently includes the role of the Count in Utah Opera's Le nozze di Figaro; Nadir in Les Pêcheurs de perles with Opera Columbus; appearing as soloist with Phoenix Symphony in Haydn's The Creation; with Nashville and Richmond symphonies in Messiah, also with San Diego Symphony, with which he sings Baroque concerts; in Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Choral Art Society of Portland (ME); in Mozart's Requiem with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra; in Fauré's Requiem with the Charlotte Symphony; in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Oregon Symphony; as soloist with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Carmina Burana; and with Frans Brüggen's Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, to sing selected Bach cantatas. He also returns again to the New York Festival of Song.
Among Mr. Cutlip's recent successes on the operatic stage are his critically acclaimed Glimmerglass Opera debut as the title role in Philip Glass's Orphée, his return to Seattle Opera to sing Marcello in La bohème, and his return to the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona to sing Mattieux in Andrea Chénier. He also recently appeared as Rodrigo in Don Carlo with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with both Austin Lyric Opera and Arizona Opera, and made his debut with Houston Grand Opera as Donald in Billy Budd. Throughout his career Mr. Cutlip has portrayed many of opera's most well-known baritone roles including Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with New York City Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos with Seattle Opera, the title roles in both Don Giovanni and Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Birmingham, Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Fort Worth Opera, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Arizona Opera.
Mr. Cutlip has also appeared as soloist with nearly every major North American orchestra. His extensive list of concert credits include performances with New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra. He has performed such works as Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the Handel and Haydn Society under Grant Llewellyn, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Charles Dutoit, Brahms's Requiem with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Carmina Burana with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Haydn's The Seasons with Philadelphia Baroque. He also performed Handel arias written for Mantagnana with La Stagione Frankfurt ensemble as well as Handel's Belshazzar at the Göttingen Festival in Germany.
Previously at Portland Opera: Orphée, 2009
Renowned American conductor Anne Manson wins acclaim around the world for her ability to draw the best performance possible from the players and singers with whom she works, whether they be at the rarified level of the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival, or students just learning their craft in her bi-annual opera engagements at the Juilliard School.
Anne Manson - ConductorPreviously at Portland Opera: Orphée, 2009
Renowned American conductor Anne Manson wins acclaim around the world for her ability to draw the best performance possible from the players and singers with whom she works, whether they be at the rarified level of the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival, or students just learning their craft in her bi-annual opera engagements at the Juilliard School. Reviewers recognize her “exemplary” leadership in crafting performances of both precision and passion.
To read the rest of Anne Manson's biography, visit her website.
Portland Opera Debut
Sam Helfrich began his theatre career as a child actor in California, studying at the young conservatory and performing on the main stage at South Coast Repertory, a tony-award winning regional theatre. As an undergraduate at Columbia University, he received a BA in Russian language and literature, and spent six months in Leningrad, USSR, to further his studies.
Sam Helfrich - Stage Director
Portland Opera DebutSam Helfrich began his theatre career as a child actor in California, studying at the young conservatory and performing on the main stage at South Coast Repertory, a tony-award winning regional theatre. As an undergraduate at Columbia University, he received a BA in Russian language and literature, and spent six months in Leningrad, USSR, to further his studies. After college he moved to Spain, where he spent three years working and studying. He received a certificate in Spanish language and literature from the University of Barcelona. Upon returning to New York, Mr. Helfrich studied at the 42nd Street Collective (formerly Playwrights Horizons theatre school), where he wrote and directed several plays for productions on theatre row.
Later, he completed his MFA in theatre arts at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, studying with Eduardo Machado, Anne Bogart, Robert Woodruff and others. After finishing his MFA, Mr. Helfrich began to pursue opera stage direction full time. Proficient in both Spanish and French, he began working in Europe immediately, assisting on new productions of several operas in both Barcelona and Geneva, while directing his own productions at home in New York. His first opera project was a double bill of Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night (Argento) and La Voix Humaine (Poulenc) at Hofstra University. Soon after, he produced and directed a fully staged production of Die Walküre (Wagner) at Riverside Church in Manhattan.
In 2002 Mr. Helfrich formed his own theatre company, Captains of Industry, to produce Transparency of Val, by Stephen Belber. Mr. Helfrich’s production of Transparency of Val was widely acclaimed during its limited run in 2002.
Mr. Helfrich continues to direct opera and theatre in New York and regionally. He made his Lincoln Center debut in 2003 with a fully staged production of Rain, a new opera by composer Richard Owen, at Alice Tully Hall. Recent opera productions include The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Opera Boston, Don Giovanni with Boston Baroque Orchestra, West Side Story at Ash-lawn Opera Festival, The Abduction from the Seraglio at Opera Omaha, Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Kentucky Opera, Agrippina with Boston Baroque Orchestra (2005 Boston Globe "Best production of the year"), L'Elisir d'amore at the Berkshire Opera, La Voix Humaine at Glimmerglass Opera, The Turn of the Screw at Pittsburgh Opera, Philip Glass' Orphée at Glimmerglass Opera, Le Comte Ory with Juilliard Opera Center, Semele, a collaboration between Opera Boston and Boston Baroque, Aida at Opera Omaha and others. Recent theatre productions include Eric Overmyer's In a Pig's Valise, and Len Jenkins's Dark Ride, both at Bard College.
Rob Ainsley, Orphée assistant conductor and Portland Opera chorus master, talks about Orphée and plays excerpts.
Sam Helfrich, Orphée director.
Lisa Saffer, Princessa, discusses her role in Orphée.
Unfortunately there are currently no commercial recordings of Philip Glass' Orphée.
Fortunately, that's about to change, as Portland Opera makes it very first commercial recording with this production.