Puccini's Turandot February 4, 6, 10, 12, 2011

Its familiar tunes and its riveting tale of an icy fairy tale princess and a young lover willing to risk his life to win her love make this a must see production!

The American Premiere of this Christopher Alden production proves that the work can speak in a powerful, 21st century way, all while keeping a tight grip on the musical beauty that’s made it so popular for so many generations.


Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

Performances held at the Keller Auditorium.

Performance time is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, including 2 intermissions.

Audio Description Services provide at the 2/6, 2pm performance.

Download the Study Guide (pdf)

 

Cast

TurandotLori Phillips
LiuGrazia Doronzio
CalafPhilip Webb
TimurChristian Van Horn
EmperorCarl Halvorson
PongBrendan Tuohy
PangSteven Brennfleck
PingTimothy Mix
MandarinNicholas Nelson
  
ConductorLeonardo Vordoni
Stage DirectorChristopher Alden

 

Act I
In Peking, in legendary times.

The walls of the great Violet City: the Imperial City. The massive ramparts enclose almost the whole stage in a semi-circle.

At sunset, the square is filled with a crowd listening to an announcement from a mandarin. He reads a decree that Turandot, the pure princess, will wed the man who solves her three riddles. Anyone who stands the trial and fails will be executed. The Prince of Persia, her latest unsuccessful suitor, is to meet this fate at moonrise. The crowd calls for his death and demands the executioner, Pu-Tin-Pao.

As the guards thrust back the crowd, Timur, the exiled King of Tartary, falls to the ground, and Liù, his slave-girl attendant, calls for help. A young man runs up: it is Calaf, the Unknown Prince, Timur's son, who has been separated from his father for years. The usurper of their throne is pursuing them, and they can find no safety.

The chorus sings of the blade being sharpened on the whetstone in preparation for the execution. Timur tells Calaf how Liù has guided his flight. The crowd calls for more young lovers to come forward and accept Turandot's challenge: the riddles are three, but death is one.

As the moon rises, a chorus of boys greets it with a song. Pu-Tin-Pao confronts the Prince of Persia, and leads him off for execution. The crowd now calls on Turandot for mercy. She appears before them, and confirms the sentence of death. Calaf remains awestruck by the Princess, and Liù and Timur try to bring him back to his senses. He wishes to conquer her, and rushes towards the gong to strike the blow that will announce his challenge.

At this moment, Ping, Pang and Pong, Grand Chancellor, Grand Purveyor and Grand Cook, run forward and block his way. They warn the Unknown Prince that he is in danger of death and should return to his country. The Princess is not worth the sacrifice; she's nothing but flesh, when all's said and done. Turandot's handmaidens call down for silence, but the three Ministers are still determined to deter Calaf from his course. Ghosts of the dead suitors urge him on, and he invokes triumph and the power of love. The executioner holds aloft the Prince of Persia's head. Timur and Liù plead with him. He begs Liù not to cry. All three ask pity of each other, and the ministers make a final appeal, but the moonlight shines on the gong, and the crowd sings that they are already digging his grave. Calaf rushes to the gong and strikes it like a madman; the ministers laugh raucously, exclaiming that it is useless to protest.

Act II
Scene One
Ping, Pang and Pong discuss their preparations for what will be either a wedding or a funeral. They lament how China has changed under Turandot's tyranny; instead of the rule of law, everything has been reduced to this terrible contest. Thirteen have already died this year alone. Ping has a house in Honan, Pang a garden in Kiu, Pong has forests near Tsiang, and they long to return to them. They recollect some of the former suitors: princes of Samarkand, India and the Khirgiz, all killed. They pray that the Princess will find a husband and discover the mysteries of love. Trumpets sound, announcing the start of the ceremony.

Scene Two
Eight Sages enter with the sealed answers to Turandot's three riddles. The crowd greets the Sages, and points out Ping, Pang and Pong.  Emperor Altoum enters, and the crowd wishes him ten thousand years. The Unknown Prince begs three times to face the trial, and the Emperor calls on him to give up his hopeless quest; he is weary of bloodshed. The mandarin announces the rules of the contest as before, and a chorus of boys announces the approach of the Princess.

Turandot narrates how her remote ancestor, the Princess Lo-u-Ling, was ravished and abducted by a Tartar invader. It is to avenge her death that Turandot has set up her challenge. She warns Calaf of the rule: the riddles are three, but death is one. Calaf contradicts her: it is life that is one. Turandot reads the first riddle: a ghost rises in the night, invoked by all the world, vanishing with dawn but reborn in the heart. Calaf gives the answer: “hope.” The Sages open the first scroll: the answer is indeed hope. Turandot dismisses this as the hope that always disappoints, and reads the second riddle: what is it that darts like a flame and is not a flame, that grows cold with death yet blazes with dreams of conquest? Calaf hesitates, then gives the answer: “blood.” The crowd shouts their encouragement, and Turandot, enraged, delivers the third question: frost that inflames you, whiteness and darkness that enslaves you if it wants you free, but in taking you captive, makes you king! Turandot sneers at Calaf's hesitation, but then he cries the answer: “Turandot!”

The crowd rejoices at his victory, but Turandot appeals to her father to spare her the shame of marriage like a slave girl to a foreigner.  The Emperor declares that the oath is sacred. Turandot implores Calaf not to take her reluctant and shuddering into his arms. He tells her that he only wants her ardent with love, and sets her a riddle of his own: if she can guess his name before daybreak, he is prepared to die. The Emperor prays that the Unknown Prince will survive, and the crowd hails him.


Act III
Scene One

Night. Heralds are heard issuing the royal command: no one shall sleep in Peking. The stranger's name must be found on pain of death. Calaf repeats their cry and imagines Turandot in her cold room, looking at the stars as they tremble with love and hope. His secret is locked within him, and no one shall know his name until he speaks it with a kiss. When dawn breaks, he will win!

Ping, Pang and Pong sidle up to him with temptations: if it's love he wants, they can offer him maidens; if it's riches, then they have treasures; if it is glory, they'll arrange his escape to a victory anywhere but here. When he refuses, they threaten him with tortures, and fear that they, too, will be tortured to death if they fail. Just as they are about to attack him, the guards bring in Timur and Liù. Calaf denies that they know him. When Turandot appears, Ping announces his intention to torture the name out of them. First Timur is dragged forward, but Liù goes towards Turandot and tells her that the Prince's name is known only to her. She cries out under torture, but refuses to give up her secret. Turandot wants to know what has given her such strength to withstand torment, and she tells her that it is love. Turandot is moved for a moment, then orders her ministers to tear her secret from her. Ping and the crowd call for Pu-Tin-Pao, but when the executioner appears, Liù seizes his knife and stabs herself to death. She dies at Turandot's feet. Timur mourns for Liù. As they carry the body away, even Ping, Pang and Pong feel pity.

As Liù's funeral procession moves away, Calaf is left facing Turandot. He calls on her to lift her veil and look upon the blood that was shed for her. She refuses: her soul is on high. Calaf clasps her in his arms and kisses her.  Turandot admits that dawn has broken, and her sun is now setting. Calaf greets the dawn as the beginning of her glory, not the end. Turandot begins to reconcile her conflicting emotions, but still she begs him to leave with his secret. Calaf tells her that there is no mystery now: he is Calaf, the son of Timur. Turandot's spirit returns with this revelation: now he is in her power, and she can demand his trial before the people. Calaf declares that she has conquered.

Scene Two
The crowd greets the Emperor. Turandot advances towards him, and tells him that she knows the Unknown Prince's name: it is Love.  Calaf and Turandot embrace, while the crowd acclaims the glory of love.

Swan Song: Puccini’s Turandot

 

“I was born many years ago … far too many … and the Almighty touched me with his little finger and said, ‘Write for the theatre—mind, only for the theatre.’  Had he intended for me some other profession … well, I should, perhaps, not now find myself without the essential material.”

—Puccini to his librettist, Adami

 

With Turandot, Puccini’s musical voyage comes to fruition.  In his early 60s, he determined to do something wholly original and blaze new trails in his musical language.  Unfortunately, after Il Trittico, Puccini had some difficulty in finding a story for his next opera.  Several projects were started and abandoned, but none seemed to inspire the maestro until he had lunch with Renato Simoni and Giuseppe Adami.  Simoni mentioned TurandotTurandot had already been set to music by Ferruccio Busoni to a libretto he had written based upon an 18th-century play by Carlo Gozzi.  The play, a commedia dell’arte piece, was billed as a Chinese fable, incorporating all of the exotic elements that Orientalist perception of China had to offer.  The story offered Puccini the perfect opportunity to experiment with his current artistic goals, utilizing a wildly fantastic setting and a cast of very human, three-dimensional characters.

Puccini immediately pounced on the suggestion and by 1920, Adami and Simoni had reworked the original idea enough to satisfy Puccini’s exacting standards.  In 1921, Puccini was sketching in some music.  By 1922, he had finished orchestrating the first act and begun work on the second.  As he was scoring Act 2 in 1923, the maestro began to suffer from a painful sore throat and coughing fits, but he chose to ignore his illness and get on with his work.  Early in 1924, the second act was finished and he began to feverishly write the third act up until Liù’s death.  This scene, which Puccini had insisted upon in 1922, was presenting Adami and Simoni some dramatic problems.  Why Calaf would continue to pursue the cold Turandot after she had had Liù tortured to death defies credibility and lessens audience sympathy for the tenor.  The final duet between Calaf and Turandot was a constant sticking point, and none of Simoni’s solutions satisfied Puccini.

By this time, the pain in Puccini’s throat had become unbearable and after consulting his physician, he was diagnosed with throat cancer.  The final two scenes of the opera had yet to be written.  Puccini ultimately accepted Adami’s fourth version of the last duet and began to compose from his bed in a Belgian sanitarium.  On November 24, he underwent an operation and five days later died of heart failure.  The opera remained incomplete.  Only unintelligible sketches in Puccini’s hand existed for the finale.  Toscanini, who had been contracted to conduct the opening and had been working closely with Puccini during the last several months of his life, suggested that Franco Alfano complete the work.  Alfano finished Turandot six months later.  The opera premiered in 1926, 17 months after Puccini’s death.  At that performance, following Liù’s death and the chorus’s mournful, Oblia! Liù, poesia!, Toscanini put down his baton and said, “Here ends the opera, because at this point the Maestro died.”  Alfano’s ending was performed the following night and continues to conclude the opera to this day.

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

PucciniSon of composer Michele Puccini and the fifth musician in his line, Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca, Italy on December 22, 1858.   The Puccinis were a fixture in provincial Lucca, having served as organists and choirmasters in St. Martin’s Cathedral for 100 years.  The post was a hereditary one, and the eldest Puccini boy of each generation served the cathedral as a birthright.

At 5 years old, Puccini lost his father.  His musical training fell to his uncle, Fortunato Magi, who did not find him the most apt pupil.  Puccini was often distracted; he skipped school and didn’t practice.  His uncle found he had “neither the ear … nor the calling of a musician.”  But he had an hereditary role to fill and began study with Carlo Angeloni under whom he made great progress.  Before reaching his majority, Puccini played organ for the churches of Lucca and taught music to the town’s children.

By this time, the boy determined that he would make his way in music.  Before he was 18, Puccini entered a music competition with a hymn he had composed in honor of King Victor Emmanuel II.  It was returned to Puccini with comments from the committee chair urging him to study his musical technique.

Far from crushed, young Puccini was still resolved to pursue music and, undaunted by distance and poverty, he walked the 25 miles to Pisa to attend a performance of Verdi’s new masterpiece, AïdaAïda hit the aimless youth like a bolt of lightning.  He would compose operas!  Puccini renewed his musical studies with vigor.  He soon exhausted his opportunities in Lucca and turned his sights to the Milan Conservatory.  He received a study grant from Queen Margaret of Savoy and moved to Milan.

Accepted to the conservatory, Puccini applied himself to his studies diligently enough to earn him the respect of his teachers:  Antonio Bazzini, director of the Conservatory, and Amilcare Ponchielli, composition teacher and successful opera composer in his own right.  These two invited young Puccini to their homes, introduced him to Milan’s musical and literary luminaries, and, most of all, encouraged and challenged him to write music.  

In 1883, at 25, Puccini graduated from the Conservatory.  He had received critical praise for his final project and decided to enter a competition requiring a one-act opera.  Ponchielli put Puccini in touch with Ferdinando Fontana, who had a libretto ready to be set.   The composer liked the story, a fantastic tale of a faithless young man cursed by a coven of women who died abandoned by their lovers.  He set it to music and submitted the finished opera, Le Villi, to the committee.  Unfortunately, when the contest results were announced, no mention of Puccini’s piece was made.  All was not lost, however. Puccini’s one-act found a champion in Giulio Ricordi and premiered in 1884 with a favorable response.

Ricordi had a keen awareness of talent—even talent as raw as the inexperienced Puccini’s—and he wanted to foster the career of this promising youth.  He bought the rights for Le Villi and commissioned another opera from the fledgling composer.  This was quite an opportunity since Ricordi owned one of the great publishing companies and was, in fact, Verdi’s own publisher.  Ricordi’s interest in Puccini flourished and bloomed into a life-long association between the publishing house and composer.

Puccini started work on his new opera, Edgar, but distractions tore him from his work and slowed his composition.  He had met his future wife, Elvira Gemignani.  Unfortunately, she was still married to one of Puccini’s old classmates, and the lovers created a firestorm of controversy when Elvira chose to leave her husband and join Puccini in Milan.

It took four years for Puccini to compose Edgar.  The libretto didn’t speak to Puccini’s peculiar genius for “little souls” in extraordinary situations.  The opera received tepid praise, but Ricordi saw improvement from Le Villi and pressed on with Puccini, commissioning another opera, the subject of which he left to the composer.

Puccini decided upon Manon Lescaut, a risky topic, as it had already been set by Massenet with great success. Still, it touched Puccini, and he opened his version in 1893.  Audience reception was wildly enthusiastic.  Never again was Puccini to garner such accolades.  Manon Lescaut gave him international notoriety and Ricordi’s faith was well-rewarded.

Next came La Bohème, based upon Mürger’s novel, Scènes de la vie de bohème.  Puccini was confident and sure of his dramatic sensibility, causing him to be maddeningly specific with his librettists, Illica and Giacosa.  His specificity paid off.  Bohème was a public triumph.  Critics may have pooh-poohed it, but the public acclaim quickly swept it from theater to theater, country to country and continent to continent.  It remains today, unequivocally, a masterpiece of the operatic stage.

Puccini was on top.  He ventured into verismo with Tosca, a vivid, disturbing, slightly sadistic opera.  The public was enthralled.  Seven curtain calls rocked the theater.  Indeed, Tosca was an unqualified success despite the critics’ harping on the lurid subject matter.

After Tosca came the much-anticipated Madama Butterfly.  Every indication pointed to another victory for the composer, but the premiere garnered laughter during Puccini’s carefully constructed scenes, boos and jeers so raucous as to beg credulity.  Many feel that Puccini’s rivals orchestrated the debacle.  Humbled, Puccini re-worked his Butterfly, the opera he felt to be his masterpiece.  Its second opening fared better than the first.  Audiences roared their approval, giving Puccini twelve curtain calls.  Butterfly was vindicated.

While his professional life was a triumph, Puccini’s personal life kept descending into painful chaos.  His wife, Elvira, continued to have violently jealous outbursts and she accused a maid in their home of seducing her husband.  While Puccini had had myriad infidelities, their maid, Doria Manfredi, was not one of them.  Elvira was adamant, however, and her outspoken accusations and denunciations led to the suicide of the persecuted Doria.  Doria’s family sued Elvira and she was fined and sentenced to prison time.  Puccini managed to avoid this humiliation by settling with the family.  He did so, however, at great personal cost; he fell into a deep despair and his emotional state was such that he could no longer write.

To flee his depression and his harpy wife, Puccini sailed for New York.  Here he saw The Girl of the Golden West, a play by David Belasco, whose earlier work had inspired Madama Butterfly.  Excited by the theatrical possibilities of the Wild West, Puccini approached Ricordi and got an agreement.  The result, La fanciulla del West, was another phenomenal success.  Following this, Puccini wrote La Rondine, which was also praised, but Puccini felt at odds with himself and the piece.  He felt old.  His friend and mentor, Ricordi, had died, and he had a less cordial relationship with Ricordi’s son.  La Rondine felt as if he were repeating himself; World War I had engulfed the planet, and Puccini needed to change.

He devoured other composer’s scores and kept abreast of the new musical language of the 20th century.  He produced Il Trittico, a series of three one-act operas.  The public accepted and liked it, but the critics were unnerved by the maestro’s new vocabulary and remained cool.  The press felt Puccini couldn’t, at 61, write better than Bohème and Butterfly.  Puccini knew better and restlessly cast about for a plot which would allow him to explore his brave new ideas more fully.  He had absorbed Stravinsky, Webern, Berg, Schoenberg, and Debussy.  Finally Turandot presented itself to him and he feverishly began work on what was to become his swan song.

By now, though, Puccini was ill, complaining of throat pain and constant coughing.  Eventually, he was diagnosed with throat cancer.  He was very sick and feverishly working on Turandot’s final duet when he passed away in November 1924 after a debilitating treatment regimen.  The world mourned his passing.  La Scala cancelled performances, and a funeral procession in his honor was attended by thousands.

Puccini’s legacy is the interweaving of music with drama so seamlessly that even as his most elegantly crafted music is played, the drama of the moment supercedes all else.  He is a sublime communicator, reaching audiences across the years and continuing to arrest our hearts with a dramatic perfection wholly accessible and eternal.

Lori Phillips

Lori Phillips - Turandot

Soprano

Previously at Portland Opera: Fidelio, 2008

Renowned American soprano Lori Phillips remains one of the most innovative and expressive voices in the opera industry. In April 2008, she made her Washington National Opera debut as Senta in Der fliegende Holländer.

Lori Phillips

Lori Phillips - Turandot

Soprano

Previously at Portland Opera: Fidelio, 2008

Renowned American soprano Lori Phillips remains one of the most innovative and expressive voices in the opera industry. In April 2008, she made her Washington National Opera debut as Senta in Der fliegende Holländer. The Washington Post said, “...at the Kennedy Center, American soprano Lori Phillips took the part of Senta...and sang the aria superbly...Phillips made “Johohoe! Traft ihr das Schiff” (“Have You Seen the Ship”) a heartfelt display. The vocal line leapt and contracted, now immersed in broad orchestral washes, now hushed and forlorn. Phillips -- recently earning more parts on elite stages -- skillfully applied color and detail; through a purposeful fragility, she unmasks Senta's devotion that eventually culminates in a mandatory Wagnerian love-death.”

In the 2008-2009 Season, she performs Leonora in Fidelio with Portland Opera; the title role in Turandot with Opera Birmingham, Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, and Opera Carolina; Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana with Opéra de Québec; and The Mother in Il Prigionero and Signora Fabien in Volo di Notte with the American Symphony Orchestra.  

In the 2009-2010 Season and beyond, she makes her debut as Brunnhilde in Die Walküre with Hawaii Opera Theater; performs Turandot with Opera Lyra Ottawa; and returns to the MET covering Giorgetta in Il Tabarro, Gertrude in Hansel und Gretel and Senta in Der fliegende Holländer.

In the recent 2007-2008 Season, Ms. Phillips performed Ariane in Ariane et Barbe-bleue with Opéra National de Paris (Bastille) on tour in Japan; the title role in Turandot with Atlanta Opera; Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana with Vancouver Opera; Senta in Der fliegende Holländer with the Washington National Opera; and covered Gertrude in Hänsel und Gretel with the Metropolitan Opera.

In the 2006-2007 season, she performed Lady Macbeth in Macbeth with Arizona Opera; Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos with Vancouver Opera; the title role in the world premiere of Jun Kaneko’s production of Madama Butterfly for Opera Omaha; covered Senta in Der fliegende Holländer with the Seattle Opera; as well as covering Georgetta in Il Tabarro and the title role in Turandot with the Metropolitan Opera. Additional noted engagements from recent seasons include a return to New York City Opera in the title roles of Turandot and Madama Butterfly; the title role in Ariane et Barbe-bleue with L’Opera de Nice; Minnie in La Fanciulla del West with Utah Opera; Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera for Opera Memphis, Seattle Opera and Vancouver Opera, Gertrude in Hänsel und Gretel for Dallas Opera; Gerhilde in Seattle Opera's Der Ring des Nibelungen; Leonore in Fidelio and the title role in Tosca (covers) with the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Senta in Der fliegende Holländer with the Hawaii Opera Theatre; and Leonora in Il Trovatore in her debut with Florentine Opera.

The award-winning soprano’s concert and recording career has expanded in 2007 with the release of Ariane et Barbe-bleue on Telarc with Mo. Leon Botstein and the BBC Symphony, for which she has received critical acclaim worldwide. Opera News said, “Aside from the brilliant orchestra, the other pillar here is the long, demanding part of Ariane, who must be both flexible and forceful. Soprano Lori Phillips masters the contradictory traits of this verbose heroine and shapes the irregular lines with idiomatic expressiveness.” She has also recorded Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis for Naxos under the musical direction of Mo. Kenneth Schermerhorn.

Ms. Phillips has been heard in concert as the Foreign Princess in Rusalka with the Fort Worth Symphony and sings a vast array of symphonic repertoire, from Mahler's Symphony No. 4 and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, to Brahms' Requiem, Mozart’s Mass in c minor, and Poulenc's Gloria, among others. An advocate of new music, Ms. Phillips has frequently collaborated with New York City's American Opera Projects, and create the role of Patience in the world premiere of Kimper/Persons’ opera Patience and Sarah, which won a GLAMA Award.

http://www.loriphillips.com/

 

 

Grazia Doronzio

Grazia Doronzio - Liu

Soprano

Portland Opera Debut

Grazia Doronzio, from Stigliano, Italy, is a recent graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

 

Grazia Doronzio

Grazia Doronzio - Liu

Soprano

Portland Opera Debut

Grazia Doronzio, from Stigliano, Italy, is a recent graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

In the 2010-11 season, Ms. Doronzio debuts as Mimi in La Bohème with Atlanta Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, and Deutsche Oper Berlin. She also performs Liù in Turandot with Portland Opera, directed by Christopher Alden. Future engagements include debuts with Frankfurt Opera and Canadian Opera Company.

Last season, Ms. Doronzio made her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Requiem under Maestro James Levine, followed by Liù in Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera. In addition, Ms. Doronzio performed the role of Isifile in Cavalli’s Giasone with Chicago Opera Theatre, Zerlina in Don Giovanni at the Rieti Becanto Festival, with conductor Kent Nagano, and Micaëla in Carmen at the Savonlinna Festival, Finland.

Recently, Ms. Doronzio made a tremendous impact performing the songs of Luigi Dallapiccola on the MET Chamber Ensemble series at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall under Maestro James Levine. Of this performance, the critic Bruce Hodge wrote:

“Doronzio's discreet stature gives no clue to the large voice lurking within, nor her impressively solid tone or her utter assurance. Her perfect decrescendo at the very end, on the word ‘morir’ (‘die’) capped a performance that probably made Dallapiccola converts on the spot.”

In the summer of 2008, Ms. Doronzio received First Prize at the Elardo International Opera Competition. She has also received top prizes at the 2008 Viñas Competition, the Opera de Sabadell, the Iris Adami Corradetti International Competition of Padova, the Ottavio Ziino International Competition in Rome, the Teatro Lirico Sperimentale A. Belli Competition in Spoleto, and the Spiros Argiris Competition of Sarzana. Ms. Doronzio is also a 2009 winner of the Sullivan Award. Ms. Doronzio was chosen by Alberto Zedda to participate in the concert for the “212th Birthday of Rossini” at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro. She was also invited to participate in the concert for the 15th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall at Wolfsburg Castle in Germany. As a recitalist, Ms. Doronzio won First Prize at the 22nd Concorso Internazionale di Musica Vocale da Camera in Conegliano. Ms. Doronzio made her debut as Mimi in La Bohème at the Spoleto Teatro Lirico Sperimentale, where she also performed the title role in Cimarosa’s Cleopatra. Other recent engagements include performances of Mimi in Sassari, Italy, Filippo Marchetti’s Gustavo Wasa in Camerino, Paisiello’s Nina, o sia la pazza per amore in Rome, Mozart’s Requiem in Bergamo with the Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala, and a recital at the Opéra de Rouen.

Ms. Doronzio graduated from the Conservatorio Statale di Musica Rossini in Pesaro, where she was awarded a scholarship from the Rossini Foundation. She also studied at the Opera Studio dell’Accademia dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia of Rome.

 

Philip Webb - Tenor

Philip Webb - Calaf

Tenor

Previously at Portland Opera: Aida, 2008; Norma, 2007

Philip Webb is an American tenor who has received critical acclaim after launching his career in operatic and classical music. In 1993, after nearly twelve years as a church music minister, Webb was encouraged by the renowned bass Giorgio Tozzi to pursue a career in opera.

Philip Webb - Tenor

Philip Webb - Calaf

Tenor

Previously at Portland Opera: Aida, 2008; Norma, 2007 

Philip Webb is an American tenor who has received critical acclaim after launching his career in operatic and classical music. In 1993, after nearly twelve years as a church music minister, Webb was encouraged by the renowned bass Giorgio Tozzi to pursue a career in opera. He immediately embarked on an intensive program of studies and training. In the fall of 1993 he began studying vocal technique with one of the best-known vocal teachers of her day, Margaret Harshaw, formerly of the Metropolitan Opera and the Indiana School of Music.  In 2001 he began a series of studies with the internationally acclaimed Verdian tenor Carlo Bergonzi. Philip continues his vocal studies with the renown voice teacher Seth Riggs of Los Angeles. Seth has become well known for his vocal technique, especially in the area of pop music. However, Seth's roots are in operatic singing and his teaching has been very influential in Philip's career and he continues to be involved in all of his future role preparations.

In January of 1994, he witnessed his first professional opera production, 'Norma', performed by Virginia Opera. This was also, in effect, his first professional assignment, as he covered the role of Pollione. In the summer of 1994 he sang his first operatic role as Cavaradossi in a summer production of Tosca at the University of Chicago. He sang his first lead role with a major company in 1996, Edgardo with Virginia Opera.  Since that time, his vocal achievements have accelerated as he has performed in major theaters across the world.  

Philip Webb came to an operatic career late in life and as a result his voice is refreshingly new and strong.  After beginning his career in primarily lyric roles, he has branched out to the lyric spinto roles and established himself as a unique performer of the more dramatic Verdi roles.  Philip's short career has encompassed a wide spectrum of roles and their interpretations.

 

Christian Van HornChristian Van Horn - Timur

Bass Baritone

Portland Opera Debut

This season, bass-baritone Christian Van Horn makes his debuts at the San Francisco Opera as the King in Aida, the Portland Opera as Timur in Turandot, and the Boston Lyric Opera as Claudio in Agrippina, and returns to the Bayerische Staatsoper as Colline in La Bohème

 

Christian Van Horn

Christian Van Horn - Timur

Bass Baritone

Portland Opera Debut

This season, bass-baritone Christian Van Horn makes his debuts at the San Francisco Opera as the King in Aida, the Portland Opera as Timur in Turandot, and the Boston Lyric Opera as Claudio in Agrippina, and returns to the Bayerische Staatsoper as Colline in La Bohème

Other opera engagements have included his debuts in Stuttgart as the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro, the Salzburg Festival as the Duke of Verona in Romeo et Juliette, and the Bayerische Staatsoper as Colline; Oroveso in Norma and the Bonze in Madama Butterfly at the Bayerische Staatsoper; performances of Tosca, Don Carlo, and Tannhäuser at the Munich Festival; Tan Dun’s Tea: A Mirror of the Soul at the Santa Fe Opera, Colline at the Los Angeles Opera, Figaro at the Arizona Opera and Chicago Opera Theatre, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Virginia Opera, Timur at the Ft. Worth Opera, Karenin in Anna Karenin (world premiere) and Masetto in Don Giovanni at the Florida Grand Opera; and Karenin, Angelotti in Tosca and the Immigration Officer in the American premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Flight at the Opera Theater of Saint Louis.

A graduate of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, Mr. Van Horn has also appeared in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s productions of La Damnation de Faust, The Pearl Fishers, Carmen, Der Rosenkavalier, and Aida.

Mr. Van Horn’s recent concert engagements have included his debuts at the Salzburg Festival Easter Festival in a concert with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle, and at Carnegie Hall in a concert programmed by the Emerson String Quartet as part of their Perspective Series. Other notable concert appearances have included Tippet’s Child of Our Time with the Chicago Symphony (with Sir Andrew Davis), Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the Pacific Symphony, and the opening concerts of the Bard Music Festival.  
Mr. Van Horn received his Master’s degree in music from Yale University. His numerous awards include winner at the 2003 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a 2003 Sarah Tucker Study Grant, first place at the 2002 MacAllister Competition Collegiate Division, prize winner in the 2002 Liederkranz Foundation Vocal Competition, and the Richman Award from Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

Carl HalvorsonCarl Halvorson - Don Curzio

Tenor

Previously at Portland Opera:
Torquemada in L’Heure Espagnole, Reporter in Orphée (2009); Emperor Altoum in Turandot (2011)

Acclaimed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as "a singer of unquestioned dramatic gifts and vocal polish," Carl Halvorson is in demand internationally as a concert, opera and recital artist.

Carl Halvorson

Carl Halvorson - Don Curzio

Tenor


Previously at Portland Opera:
Torquemada in L’Heure Espagnole, Reporter in Orphée (2009); Emperor Altoum in Turandot (2011)


Acclaimed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as "a singer of unquestioned dramatic gifts and vocal polish," Carl Halvorson is in demand internationally as a concert, opera and recital artist.

Since his auspicious debut under the sponsorship of Young Concerts Artist, Mr. Halvorson has given over eighty solo recitals in America and in Europe. He has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall (Songmaker's Almanac), the Concertgebouw, New York's Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y, the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and the Gold Medal Artist Series at Ambassador Hall in Los Angeles. He has also performed at the festivals of Spoleto, Aspen, Tanglewood, Aldeburgh, Bergen International, the Newport Music Festival, the Carmel and Oregon Bach Festivals and the Grant Park Festival, and he has sung with notable choral groups including Oratorio Society of New York, Cathedral Choral Arts Society in Washington DC and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. Mr. Halvorson has also had the distinction of participating in the 75th Birthday Tribute Recital in New York for the American composer Ned Rorem.

With a repertoire that extends from Haydn and Mozart to Britten and Honegger, Carl Halvorson is in high demand on the concert stage. The tenor has performed with many major orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Israel Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Oregon Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic, and the Saito Kinen Orchestra. He has performed under the batons of distinguished conductors such as James DePreist, Charles Dutoit, Claus Peter Flor, Raymond Leppard, Kurt Masur, Nicholas McGegen, John Nelson, Seiji Ozawa, Helmuth Rilling, Gabor Hollerung, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, George Hanson, Tonu Kalam, Grant Llewellyn and Hugh Wolff. Orchestral highlights performed by the tenor comprise Mendelssohn's Elijah and Die Erste Walpurgisnacht, Honegger's King David and Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and the Symphony No 9, Mozart's Mass in C Major and Requiem, Dvorak's Dimitri, and Rachmaninoff's The Bells. Other works include Handel's Saul, the Messiah which Mr. Halvorson has sung with numerous orchestras coast-to-coast, and Handel's Judas Maccabaeus sung with the Bach Society of St. Louis and the Berkshire Choral Festival. Mr. Halvorson has also performed Stravinsky's Les Noces along with the composer's In Memoriam Dylan Thomas, and he recently added Orff's Carmina Burana to his repertoire in engagements with the Bangor Symphony (ME), the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra (LA) and with the Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Halvorson gave the American premiere of the Shostakovich Suite on Finnish Folk Tunes with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and recently performed the Dvorák Requiem with the Florida Orchestra.

Heralded for his performances of the works of Benjamin Britten, Mr. Halvorson was invited to give the U.S. premiere of Britten's The World of the Spirit at Carnegie Hall. Also in concert, he performed Britten's St. Nicholas, the War Requiem, and the composer's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, which he toured throughout the United States with the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble and reprised with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra in Spain. Britten operatic engagements include The Rape of Lucretia and The Turn of the Screw at Berkshire Opera, and The Turn of the Screw with the Fort Worth Opera and The Minnesota Opera. Writing of his performance as Peter Quint, Alan Kozinn of The New York Times said, "Carl Halvorson was a magnificent Quint. Physically and vocally agile, he moved easily through the serpentine coils of Britten's music, toying with coloration and vocal weight to make Quint what he must be: alluring and grotesque in equal measure." The tenor has also appeared with the Boston Lyric Opera, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and the Washington National Opera. Mr. Halvorson recently toured to London's Barbican Centre where he performed the title role in Philip Glass's opera Galileo Galilei. This past spring he traveled to Japan at the invitation of Seiji Ozawa to cover the role of Aegesth in the Tokyo Opera Nomori production of Elektra and returns to Tokyo to cover Elijah.

An active recording artist, Mr. Halvorson's performance of Haydn's Creation was recorded on the Newport Classics label, as was his performance of Cherubini's Médée at Alice Tully Hall. For BMG Classics, he has recorded Paul Bowles's The Wind Remains with EOS Music. His lieder recording Despite and Still, with pianist Susan Almasi, is available on the Musical Heritage Society label.

 

Brenda Touhy - Albert Herring

Brendan Tuohy

Tenor

Tenor Brendan Tuohy is currently in his second year as a Houston Grand Opera Studio Artist.  Recently he sang Goro in the company’s new production of Madama Butterfly.

Brendan Tuohy

Tenor

Former Portland Opera Studio Artist
Previously at Portland Opera:

El Remendado, Carmen (2007), Title role, Albert Herring (2008), Messenger, Aida (2008), Gastone, La Traviata (2008), First Prisoner, Fidelio (2008), The Prologue, The Turn of the Screw (2009), Pane/La Natura, La Calisto (2009), Matteo Borsa, Rigoletto (2009), Pong, Turandot (2011).

Tenor Brendan Tuohy is currently in his second year as a Houston Grand Opera Studio Artist.  Recently he sang Goro in the company’s new production of Madama Butterfly.  Last season Mr. Tuohy sang First Noble in Lohengrin and Tchaplitsky in The Queen of Spades with HGO. Also last season Mr. Tuohy sang Martin in the Tender Land with Vashon Opera, the Tenor Soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Oregon Symphony, the Tenor Soloist in Messiah with Portland Baroque Orchestra and the Tenor Soloist in Dvořak’s Requiem with the Grant Park Music Festival.
 
Before his time in Houston, Tuohy was a Studio Artist with Portland Opera.  During the 2007/08 season, Tuohy performed the role of El Remendado in Carmen, the title role in Albert Herring, and Messenger in Aida.  Mr. Tuohy also performed On Wenlock Edge by Ralph Vaughan Williams in the Studio Artists’ Spring Recital.  He spent the summer in Cincinnati where he sang Gastone in La Traviata with Cincinnati Opera.  

During the 2008/09 season, his second season as a member of the Portland Opera Studio, Tuohy sang Gastone in La Traviata, First Prisoner in Fidelio, The Prologue in The Turn of the Screw, Pane/La Natura in La Calisto, Matteo Borsa in Rigoletto, and was featured in recital.  Other engagements included singing the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for Oregon Symphony.

Tuohy graduated with a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance.  While at the University of Cincinnati, his numerous roles included the title role in Albert Herring, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Pylade in Iphigenie en Tauride, and The Doctor in The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe.

Upcoming engagements for Mr. Tuohy include Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Don Curzio in La nozze di Figaro all with HGO.  He will also be featured in recital with HGO singing Schumann’s op 39 Liederkreis and will return to the Grant Park Music Festival this summer to sing the Tenor Soloist in Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang.

 

Steven Brennfleck

Steven Brennfleck - Gonzalve
The Teapot / The Arithmetic Teacher / The Frog

Tenor

Portland Opera Studio Artist

Previously at Portland Opera:

Parpignol, La Bohème (2009); Cégeste, Orphée (2009); Ombre, Il Ballo delle ingrate (2010); Testo, Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (2010); Trio, Trouble in Tahiti (2010); Officer, The Barber of Seville (2010); Beppe/Tenor Soloist, Pagliacci/Carmina Burana (2010); Pang, Turandot (2011)

Steven Brennfleck

Steven Brennfleck - Gonzalve
The Teapot / The Arithmetic Teacher / The Frog

Tenor

Portland Opera Studio Artist

Previously at Portland Opera:   
Parpignol, La Bohème (2009); Cégeste, Orphée (2009); Ombre, Il Ballo delle ingrate (2010); Testo, Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (2010); Trio, Trouble in Tahiti (2010); Officer, The Barber of Seville (2010); Beppe/Tenor Soloist, Pagliacci/Carmina Burana (2010); Pang, Turandot (2011)

Steven Brennfleck is from Trenton, New Jersey.  His opera credits include Giuseppe in La Traviata at Glimmerglass Opera; Un Medico in La Bella Dormente and Un Dombien in Lakmé at Spoleto Festival USA; Lauri in Little Women, Remendado in Carmen, Gaby in New York circa 1950, Trio in Trouble in Tahiti and Flute/Thisby in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Westminster Opera Theater; and Dr. Binch in Elmer Gantry at Montclair State University with Nashville Opera.  Steven has been a Soloist with Princeton Pro Musica, Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Princeton Youth Orchestra, Princeton Baroque Orchestra and Westminster Choral Festival. He received both his Masters and Bachelor of Music from Westminster Choir College.  He was the winner of the 2008 Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions in New Jersey and a finalist in The Marion Anderson Prize for Emerging Classical Artists.  Last summer he was a member of the Glimmerglass Opera Young American Artists Program.  Last fall, he was a winner of the 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions in Oregon.  During the 2009/10 Season he sang Parpignol in La Bohème, Cégeste in Orphée, Trio in Trouble in Tahiti, Testo in Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Ombre in Il ballo delle ingrate and Officer in The Barber of Seville.  In the 2010/11 Season he sings Beppe in Pagliacci, Tenor Soloist in Carmina Burana, Pang in Turandot, Gonzalve in L’heure espagnole and Teapot, Arithmetic and Frog in L’enfant et les sortilèges.

 

Timothy MixTimothy Mix - Ping

Baritone


Portland Opera Debut

Recipient of a 2008 Richard Tucker Foundation Career Grant, Timothy Mix is recognized for the beauty of his voice and his compelling stage presence. He received critical acclaim for his pivotal role as Edward Gaines in the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison’s Margaret Garner ...

Timothy Mix

Timothy Mix - Ping

Baritone


Portland Opera Debut

Recipient of a 2008 Richard Tucker Foundation Career Grant, Timothy Mix is recognized for the beauty of his voice and his compelling stage presence. He received critical acclaim for his pivotal role as Edward Gaines in the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison’s Margaret Garner, in a new production by Tazewell Thompson, for which the American baritone received New York City Opera’s 2008 Christopher Keene Award.

The 2010/11 season will bring Timothy Mix back to Washington National Opera in the role of Renato in James Robinson’s production of Un Ballo in Maschera conducted by Daniele Callegari, to the San Francisco Opera to sing in the company premiere of Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac as Le Bret in a new production by Petrika Ionesco and conducted by Patrick Fournillier as well as Prus in Janácek’s The Makropolus Case, conducted by Jiři Bělohlávek and directed by Olivier Tambosi. The artist will then join Portland Opera as Ping in Turandot under Leonardo Vordoni and directed by Christopher Alden. Timothy Mix will wrap up his season by singing Albert in Werther with the Washington Concert Opera, conducted by Antony Walker.

During the 2009/10 season, Timothy Mix made his Washington National Opera debut as Ford in Falstaff, conducted by Sebastian Lang-Lessing, as well as his San Francisco Opera debut in La Fanciulla del West, under the baton of Nicola Luisotti. He also sang his first performances with Arizona Opera as Marcello in La Bohème, brought his Belcore to Toledo Opera’s L’elisir d’amore, joined Opera Southwest as Escamillo in Carmen, and sang Handel’s Messiah with the Pacific Symphony.

The 2008/09 season featured a pair of notable house debuts: at Dallas Opera as the Duke of Nottingham in the Stephen Lawless production of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereaux, conducted by Graeme Jenkins, and at Michigan Opera Theatre as Edward Gaines in Kenny Leon’s production of Margaret Garner. Mr. Mix also sang the role of Marcello in La Bohème at both Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Palm Beach Opera. His concert calendar included Fauré’s Requiem with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Beethoven’s Mass in C and Dvorák’s Te Deum with Voices of Ascension, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and an opera gala with the Springfield Symphony.

Career highlights include his Boston Lyric Opera debut as Marcello; Escamillo in Carmen for his Opera Colorado debut, conducted by Stephen Lord; his role debut as Yevgeny Onegin at Virginia’s Todi Music Fest; Ford in Falstaff at New York City Opera; Belcore in a new James Robinson production of L’elisir d’amore at Opera Colorado; Clayton McAllister in Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree at Atlanta Opera; Monterone in Rigoletto and Mr. Flint in Billy Budd, both with Pittsburgh Opera; and his Baltimore Opera debut as Krušina in Smetana’s The Bartered Bride.

A former Pittsburgh Opera Center artist, Timothy Mix has sung with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Asheville Symphony, the Yaraslavl Symphony in Russia, and the Finnish National Opera Orchestra. With Pittsburgh Opera, his performances include Baron Douphol (also covering Germont) in La Traviata, Don Fernando in Fidelio and Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. He was singled out for his outstanding performance as Henry Cuffe in a new Colin Graham production of Britten’s Gloriana conducted by Steuart Bedford at Opera Theatre of St. Louis in their 2005 season. He has also sung the title role in Gianni Schicchi and Michele in Il Tabarro with Peabody Opera and Stankar in Stiffelio at Sarasota Opera. Other roles in his repertoire include Valentin in Faust and Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress. In concert, he has performed the Fauré Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Handel’s Israel in Egypt. He also has appeared in recital on tour in Russia.

Having received the Founder’s Award from the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and the Helen Jepson Dellera Award from the Bradenton Opera Guild, he has also received awards in several competitions, most notably the Mirjam Helen International Singing Competition, the Palm Beach Opera Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In addition to being a 2007 recipient of a Sullivan Foundation grant, he was a first prize winner in the Rosa Ponselle All Marylanders Competition, the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts and the Catherine Filene Shouse Youth Scholarship Competition.

 

Nicholas Nelson

Nicholas Nelson - Don Inigo Gomez
The Armchair / A Tree

Bass Baritone

Portland Opera Studio Artist

Previously at Portland Opera
Mandarin, Turandot (2011)

Before becoming a member of the Portland Opera Studio Artist program, Nicholas Nelson performed with Central City Opera as a 2010 Apprentice Artist.

Nicholas Nelson

Nicholas Nelson - Don Inigo Gomez
The Armchair / A Tree

Bass Baritone

Portland Opera Studio Artist
Previously at Portland Opera

Mandarin, Turandot (2011)

Before becoming a member of the Portland Opera Studio Artist program, Nicholas Nelson performed with Central City Opera as a 2010 Apprentice Artist. This past summer, Nelson performed the role of the Bonze in Madama Butterfly under the direction of Catherine Malfitano. Nelson also sang with Central City Opera in 2009, covering the role of Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor.

Originally from Winthrop, Minnesota, Nelson attended the University of Minnesota as a student of Glenda Maurice. During his study, he performed the roles of Colline in La Bohème, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Seneca in L'incoronazione di Poppea. He has twice won first place in the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition and has appeared in recital several times for the organization. In 2007, Nelson won First Prize at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Minnesota District.

This season, Nelson will be singing the Mandarin in Turandot and Gomez in L'heure espagnole, and Armchair and Tree in L'enfant et les sortilèges.

 

Leonardo VordoniLeonardo Vordoni - Conductor


Portland Opera Debut

Born in Trieste - Italy, Leonardo Vordoni studied piano at the Conservatorio Tartini, composition at the Accademia Musicale in Portogruaro, and earned a diploma in opera conducting at Bologna’s Reale Accademia Filarmonica.

Leonardo Vordoni

Leonardo Vordoni - Conductor


Portland Opera Debut

Born in Trieste - Italy, Leonardo Vordoni studied piano at the Conservatorio Tartini, composition at the Accademia Musicale in Portogruaro, and earned a diploma in opera conducting at Bologna’s Reale Accademia Filarmonica.

In the 2009/10 season Leonardo Vordoni opened the Minnesota Opera season conducting Les Pecheurs de Perles, which critics found that “both orchestra and chorus resounded grandly”, followed directly by a “triumphant” Casanova’s Homecoming.  The rest of the season includes Il barbiere di Siviglia for Opera Colorado, his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in Le Nozze di Figaro and Mosè in Egitto for the Chicago Opera Theatre. Looking further ahead, he will conduct Il barbiere di Siviglia for Houston Grand Opera in late 2011.

In 2008 Leonardo debuted at the prestigious Wexford Opera Festival in Pedrotti’s Tutti in Maschera giving what critics called a “scintillating performance”. Other productions included Madama Butterfly with Madison Opera and La Cenerentola for Orlando Opera. In the summer of 2008 he made his conducting debut at the internationally renowned Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro for a concert of music associated with Maria Malibran, with mezzo Joyce DiDonato as soloist.

Last season, Leonardo Vordoni was a member of staff at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He worked on productions including: Macbeth, La Traviata, Aida, La Clemenza di Tito, La Boheme, Un ballo in Maschera, Norma, Madama Butterfly. He was also the cover conductor for L’elisir d'Amore.

Collaborations with Eduardo Müller include L’Italiana in Algeri with Seattle Opera, La Cenerentola for Houston Grand Opera, Il trovatore and Le Nozze di Figaro for San Diego Opera.

Recognized for his musicality and interpretation, he has given master classes in Italian repertoire across the United States for young artists programs including San Francisco Opera, Seattle and Utah Operas, Santa Fe, Kansas University, UMKC Conservatory, University of North Texas in conjunction with La Fenice in Castelfranco Veneto as well as coaching for the Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro.

 

Christopher AldenChristopher Alden - Stage Director

Previously at Portland Opera:
The Flying Dutchman (2007)

For the past three decades, Christopher Alden has been busy producing opera around the globe, consistently committed to keeping the art form challenging and vital.

Christopher Alden

Christopher Alden - Stage Director

 

Previously at Portland Opera:
The Flying Dutchman (2007)

For the past three decades, Christopher Alden has been busy producing opera around the globe, consistently committed to keeping the art form challenging and vital.

Mr. Alden will open the 2010-2011 season with Bernstein's "A Quiet Place" for New York City Opera followed by Lully's Phaeton for Staatstheater Saarbruecken. In the winter, he will direct Turandot for Portland Opera and will return to Opera Australia to mount his production of Handel's Partenope. Mr. Alden will then direct Britten's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the English National Opera in the spring of 2011, followed by Turandot at Welsh National Opera.

Last season’s highlights include his highly acclaimed new production of Don Giovanni at New York City Opera, Tosca for his Opera Australia debut, Der Fliegende Hollaender for the Canadian Opera Company, and a new production of Les Contes D’Hoffmann for the Santa Fe Opera. Previously for ENO: Turandot and Handel’s Partenope (which received the prestigious Olivier Award for Best 2008/2009 UK opera production)

At the opening of the 2008/09 season, Mr. Alden will revive his successful production of Tosca at Opera North in Leeds, followed by three new productions; Handel’s Partenope at English National Opera in London, The Makropulos Affair at the Prague National Theater in the Czech Republic, as well as Mozart’s Clemenza di Tito for the Chicago Opera Theater.

In the 2007/08 season, after a production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo at Glimmerglass Opera, he directed Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Basel Opera followed by the New York premiere of Elliot Carter’s What Next? at the Miller Theatre (in celebration of Mr. Carter’s 100th birthday). He debuted at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein with Verdi’s Nabucco and directed a new production of Aïda for the Deutsche Oper Berlin conducted by Renato Palumbo followed by Monteverdi’s Orfeo in Oslo.

His 2006-2007 season included a double bill of Falla's La Vida Breve and Dallapiccola's Il Prigioniero with the Greek National Opera, inaugurating Stefan Lazaridis' first season as Artistic Director. He then traveled to the UK for a new production of Monteverdi's Orfeo with Opera North, followed by Der Fliegende Holländer with the Portland Opera, Bizet's Djamileh with Opera de Lyon and Gluck's L'Ile de Merlin with the Spoleto Festival USA.

Born in New York City, Mr. Alden began his professional career with Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, appearing in the Tony Award winning rock musical, Two Gentlemen of Verona. After apprenticing in opera as assistant to Jean-Pierre Ponnelle in Houston, Paris and Salzburg, he first attracted international attention with his own productions through his ground-breaking work with the Long Beach Opera. Beginning with an acclaimed Death in Venice in 1982, he subsequently directed Rossini's The Barber of Seville and Il Turco in Italia, Monteverdi's Orfeo, The Coronation of Poppea and The Return of Ulysses, Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne and Barbe-Bleue, in addition to Eugene Onegin, The Abduction from the Seraglio, the original version of Ariadne auf Naxos, Don Carlo, The Rape of Lucretia, the world premiere of Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie's Hopper's Wife and The Threepenny Opera. Throughout the ‘80's, Mr. Alden also served as Associate Director of Opera at the Academy, a non-traditional training center for opera singers, where he directed innovative productions of Dido and Aeneas and La Vie Parisienne.

Mr. Alden has worked with the most distinguished companies in the United States. For The Dallas Opera he directed Der Fliegende Hollander, Le Nozze di Figaro and Wozzeck, while his work with Houston Grand Opera includes stagings of La Traviata, Madama Butterfly and the world premiere of Wallace and Korie's Harvey Milk. For The Washington Opera he directed L'Incoronazione di Poppea and created a new I Capuleti ed i Montecchi starring Tatiana Troyanos. In Chicago he directed a new production of Rigoletto for Lyric Opera, as well as co-directing, with his twin brother David Alden, Le nozze di Figaro, Così Fan Tutte, and Don Giovanni with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim

Mr. Alden has maintained particularly close relationships with several American opera companies. His history with San Francisco Opera includes new productions of Les Contes d'Hoffmann, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, I Vespri Siciliani, Thomson's The Mother of Us All, Harvey Milk and the American premieres of Reimann's Ghost Sonata and Henze's Das Verratene Meer. He made his New York City Opera debut in 1979 with Rossini's Le Comte Ory, which he had previously staged for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and The Santa Fe Opera. For New York City Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, Christopher Alden has created productions of L'Italiana in Algeri, Sousa's The Glassblowers, The Rape of Lucretia and The Mother of Us All. Mr. Alden returned to Glimmerglass to direct Offenbach's Barbe-bleue and Handel's Imeneo. He has staged multiple works for New York's Eos Orchestra, including the Jonathan Dove reductions of Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer and Das Lied von der Erde, and Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat and Renard. In 2001, he directed Gotham Chamber Opera's inaugural production, Mozart's Il Sogno di Scipione, and returned in 2005 to stage Handel's Arianna in Creta.

For Pittsburgh Opera, Mr. Alden has produced Hansel and Gretel, Der Fliegende Hollander and Le Nozze di Figaro. He has also worked closely with Opera Omaha, where he has staged new productions of La traviata, Aïda, Rigoletto, Madama Butterfly, Don Pasquale and The Barber of Seville. Mr. Alden has enjoyed great success with L'Opéra Français de New York, where his collaborations with Yves Abel included Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias and La Dame de Monte Carlo, Offenbach's La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein, Orfee aux Enfers and La Perichole, Chabrier's L'Etoile, and Gounod's La Colombe.

Mr. Alden's long and varied career has included many more directorial engagements in North America: Hansel and Gretel and Stewart Copeland's Holy Blood and Crescent Moon for Fort Worth Opera; Anthony Davis' Tania in its world premiere at Philadelphia's American Music Theater Festival; Don Pasquale, Count Ory and Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; La Traviata and Il barbiere di Siviglia for Michigan Opera Theatre; La bohème, Don Giovanni, La Navarraise, and Djamileh for Connecticut Grand Opera; Don Giovanni with Seattle Opera; La Boheme for Los Angeles Opera; Così Fan Tutte with Wolf Trap Opera; Carmen, The Mikado and a double bill of A Water-Bird Talk and The Medium for the opera companies of Syracuse, Memphis and Indianapolis; Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci for Opera Columbus; Luisa Miller for the Spoleto Festival USA; Lucia di Lammermoor for Boston Lyric Opera; La Cenerentola for Minnesota Opera; Der Fliegende Holländer for the Canadian Opera Company; and Count Ory and The Beggar's Opera for The Santa Fe Opera.

Christopher Alden has also enjoyed great success in his work overseas. He made his European debut in 1980 directing Don Giovanni in Basel. In the United Kingdom his production of Turandot, first created for the Welsh National Opera in 1994, has since been seen at Scottish Opera (where he also staged the world premiere of David Horne's Friend of the People) and English National Opera (where he directed The Makropulos Case, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, in 2006). For Opera North, Mr. Alden's success with a new Tosca was followed by his productions of half of the award-winning Eight Little Greats season, La Vida Breve, Djamileh, Pagliacci and Rossini's L'Occasione Fa il Ladro. Mr. Alden also directed Idomeneo at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, La Fanciulla del West and L'Etoile for Opera Zuid in the Netherlands, Il trovatore for de Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, Madama Butterfly in Bilbao and a triple bill of Bizet's Djamileh, Le Docteur Miracle, and Don Procopio with the Opéra Comique in Paris. The 2002-2003 season took him twice to Germany, where he directed Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci for Cologne Opera, and a new production of Carmen for the Mannheim National Theater. With The New Israeli Opera, Mr. Alden has directed La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, Cavalleria rusticana, and Pagliacci.

 

Portland Opera's Resident Historian Robert Kingston discusses Turandot at the pre-show lecture "Opera Insights".

(These are audio only videos.)


General Director Christopher Mattaliano and soprano Lori Phillips take questions from the audience after Turandot during the post-show BackTalk.

(These are audio only videos.)


Destination Opera - A deeper look at the psychology of Turandot with Barbara Drinka from the Oregon Psycoanalytic Institute.

(These are audio only videos.)

Listen to the Music

Christopher Mattaliano's introduction to Turandot

Sorry, flash is not available.

In Questa Reggia

Sorry, flash is not available.

Nessun Dorma!

Sorry, flash is not available.

Musical excerpts used courtesy of Angel Records/EMI Classics.

Schedule

Feb 4, 2011
Friday 7:30 pm
Feb 6, 2011
Sunday 2:00 pm
Feb 10, 2011
Thursday 7:30 pm
Feb 12, 2011
Saturday 7:30 pm