Press Release | Together We Evolve: Portland Opera Begins a New Act

21/22 Season Announced as Refreshed Mission, Vision and Values Statements Set Company’s Course for the Future

Portland, Oregon (March 30, 2021) It is a new chapter at Portland Opera, as the company shares a rearticulated vision for the future, built on foundational progress accomplished during COVID-19 closures, and upcoming programming shaped by a new mission and values for the organization.  

“We’ve spent the past year digging deep into our identity, and listening to community members,” says Sue Dixon, General Director. “The core of our work is to share stories through song. Some may be through rose tinted lenses, and others based on truths that give us an honest portrayal of our current struggles as a society. Today we share our new mission, vision, and values for the company, along with a season that reflects this rededication of Portland Opera.”

Today, the company shares an updated iteration of its vision, mission statement, and core values. The process of revising these articulations has taken over a year—and included brand audit activities; working sessions with the core staff, board of directors, patrons, artists, and musicians; external stakeholder input; and brand equity consultation. The new mission statement can be found below, and full text of the mission, vision, and values can be found at portlandopera.org.

Mission Statement: We gather and inspire audiences, artists, and collaborators to share opera experiences that enliven and connect us all, enhancing the cultural landscape of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

In tandem with its vision, mission, and values, today the company announces its plans for the 21/22 Portland Opera season, which include digital and in-person options for attending performances and education and community engagement activities.

The production season is set to begin with Tosca at the Keller Auditorium, which was postponed last season. Composed by Giacomo Puccini, with a libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, Tosca will be conducted by Antonello Allemandi, directed by Linda Brovsky, and sung in Italian with English captions. Featuring some of the world’s most beloved arias, this high drama is filled with passion, politics, and power. The opening night celebration for Tosca is scheduled for October 29, 2021, followed by a 2 PM matinee performance on Sunday, October 31, and performances on November 4 and 6. If COVID-19 reopening guidance impacts the company’s ability to present this production, it will be rescheduled for May 13 – 21, 2022.

Next, Portland Opera presents When the Sun Comes Out, a Chamber Opera in One Act, composed by Leslie Uyeda, with a libretto by Rachel Rose. This production will be directed by Alison Moritz and conducted by Maria Sensi Sellner. The piece, set in a fictious dystopian country, challenges the criminalization of people who are lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, or queer—an injustice endured in dozens of countries around the world today. When the Sun Comes Out was commissioned by the Vancouver Queer Arts Festival and premiered in 2013. It will be sung in English with live English captions and presented January 28 – February 12, at The Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre at Portland Opera’s Hampton Opera Center.

In March, Portland Opera will present The Central Park Five, composed by Anthony Davis, with a libretto by Richard Wesley. Winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Music, this piece is based on the true story of an incident in New York City in the late 1980s—when five Black and Latino teenagers were illegally coerced into a confession which led to them being falsely accused and convicted of rape and assault. After serving prison sentences, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise were exonerated through DNA evidence. This courageous work speaks to the injustices and experiences they endured, and the racial injustices that continue to impact the community, and specifically BIPOC community members, today. The Central Park Five will be presented March 18 – 26, 2022 at the Newmark Theatre, in a production directed by Nataki Garrett (Artistic Director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and conducted by Kazem Abdullah. It will be sung in English with English captions. Portland Opera’s production represents the second professional fully staged production of this important new work.

"Portland Opera's exciting 21/22 season encapsulates the company's forward-thinking vision for the future of opera,” says Damien Geter, co-artistic advisor. “Balancing an old favorite, Puccini's Tosca, with two works by underrepresented composers, Leslie Uyeda's When the Sun Comes Out, and Anthony Davis's The Central Park Five, audiences will experience the power of storytelling through scores that speak to the common bond of humanity."

As the community emerges from the pandemic, Portland Opera will continue to grow alternative performance activities developed and initiated during COVID-19 closures: offering digital streamed versions of productions, free digital broadcasts, pop-up performances, balcony concerts, the Live from the Hampton Opera Center series, and Opera a la Cart—the mobile music venue that can be seen around town at farmers markets, street festivals, parks, and more. Additional details about the 21/22 Portland Opera Resident Artist program, and the annual Resident Artist Series will be announced in the coming months. “Our company is more than what is presented on stage,” says Sue Dixon, General Director. “We recognize that we are in a position to add more inspiration, connection, and support, to help the community heal from the challenges and immense losses we’ve faced over the past year.”

During the 21/22 season, Portland Opera will continue Portland Opera to Go (POGO) arts education programming. Each year POGO company members travel over 5,000 miles to connect with approximately 13,000 K-12 students and audience members. Performances happen in school gyms, libraries, cafeterias, classrooms, and community centers—all with full costumes and portable scenery. Integrated in-class workshops and teacher’s guides highlighting curricular connections aligned to state standards are available. In addition to POGO programing, Portland Opera has recently launched Opera Elements, in partnership with Portland Public Schools and Gresham-Barlow School District, which is a series of three virtual lesson plans to support students, parents, and educators in distance learning, with synchronous and asynchronous activities focused on the voice, the building blocks of opera, and composition. The company will continue to work with educators and partners to determine touring possibilities for POGO and adaptable digital curricula. With a season and programming activities designed to be a ramp out of COVID-19 cancellations, the company remains committed to following re-opening guidance for gathering restrictions from state and national health authorities, and will continue to work with medical experts to ensure the safety of patrons, artists and musicians, company members, and staff.

Today, Portland Opera also launches a revamped website, designed to support a new ticketing system—a decision that was based on patron feedback regarding online fees and barriers to access. In addition to these external-facing investments, the company has also made progress in implementing internal systems and workflows that increase capacity across numerous departments. The company continues work on a Cultural Equity Plan for Portland Opera, which is intended to articulate public commitments and accountability plans for actively confronting and dismantling white supremacy, patriarchy, and exclusion.  It will be published later this year.

“Establishing a connection to our community during this era of dramatic social change is our passion,” explains Curtis T. Thompson, MD, President of Portland Opera’s Board of Directors. “With all of our suffering and loss during this pandemic, Portland Opera continues to strive for the betterment of our community. We continue to reflect and implement change in every corner of our organization, starting with our mission, vision and extending to a wide variety of activities—from season selection, to culturally-sensitive Board recruitment and by-law revision. With our board, staff, and community working groups, we continue to implement change, and we are excited for the next chapter!”

Information about Portland Opera’s artistic director search, strategic plan, cultural equity work, and community engagement activities can be found at portlandopera.org, along with information about upcoming digital programs and the 21/22 season.

Subscriptions for Portland Opera’s 21/22 season are available now; and single tickets will be on sale in June. For more information, and to purchase subscriptions, visit portlandopera.org, or call Patron Services at 503-241-1802.

Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of funders including the National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, Oregon Community Foundation, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund.

Portland Opera 2021/22 Season
Tosca 

composed by Giacomo Puccini
October 29, 31m, November 4, and 6, 2021 | 7:30 PM evenings; 2 PM matinee

COVID-19 alternate dates are May 13 – 21, 2022
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street, Portland

Sung in Italian with live English captions.
The performance is approximately two hours and 45 minutes, performed in three acts with two intermissions.

In addition to the ticketed performances at Keller Auditorium, digital access will be available for a limited time on Portland Opera Onscreen. 

Composed by

Giacomo Puccini

Libretto by

Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa

   

Tosca

Alexandra LoBianco

Cavaradossi

Angelo Villari

Scarpia

Gordon Hawkins

Sacristan

Deac Guidi

Angelotti/ Jailer

Damien Geter

Conductor

Antonello Allemandi

Director

Linda Brovsky

Rome, 1800. Tosca, a renowned diva, gives her heart to an artist activist. His revolutionary sympathies provoke the wrath of Scarpia—the corrupt chief of police. Her devotion and moral resistance are challenged by abuse, attempted rape, and loss—as this high drama builds to its haunting finale.

Soprano Alexandra LoBianco, whose performance as Tosca has been described as “thrilling” by Opera News, makes her Portland Opera debut. Sicilian tenor Angelo Villari makes his U.S. debut as Cavaradossi. Baritone Gordon Hawkins will also make his Portland Opera debut as Scarpia, a role he has sung to acclaim with Cincinnati Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Leipzig (Germany), Vancouver Opera (Canada), and Arizona Opera. Baritone Deac Guidi returns to Portland Opera as Sacristan, and bass Damien Geter (Portland Opera’s co-artistic advisor) returns as Angelotti and the jailer. 

Italian conductor Antonello Allemandi, last at the baton at Portland Opera for 2009’s La Bohème, returns to the company to lead Portland Opera’s orchestra, chorus, children’s chorus, and principal singers in a production directed by Linda Brovsky in her Portland Opera debut.

When the Sun Comes Out 

composed by Leslie Uyeda
A Chamber Opera in One Act
January 28, 30m, February 3, 5, 10, 12, 2022 | 7:30 PM evenings, 2 PM matinee

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

Sung in English with live English captions.
The performance is approximately ninety minutes, performed without an intermission.

In addition to the ticketed performances at Portland Opera’s Hampton Opera Center, digital access will be available for a limited time on Portland Opera Onscreen. 

Composed by

Leslie Uyeda

Libretto by

Rachel Rose

Solana

Cree Carrico

Lilah

Sandra Piques Eddy

 

Additional cast members to be announced soon.

Conductor

Maria Sensi Sellner

Director

Alison Moritz

 

In the dystopian country of Fundamentalia, gender expression is oppressed by the state, and being gay is a death sentence. It is here that Solana, a free spirit, finds her lost love Lilah, who is now a wife and mother. As their hearts join, Lilah’s domestic life and future is shaken to the core—unearthing secrets about her husband Javan and giving way to the truth that love is love.

Production leadership will include the Portland Opera debuts of stage director Alison Moritz and conductor Maria Sensi Sellner. Sandra Piques Eddy, last seen with the company in the 2018 production of Orfeo ed Euridice, will sing the role of Lilah, and Cree Carrico, last seen in the 2017 production of The Difficulty of Crossing a Field and The Little Match Girl Passion, will sing the role of Solana. When the Sun Comes Out will feature a quintet of musicians from the Portland Opera Orchestra.   

The Central Park Five

composed by Anthony Davis
March 18, 20m, 24, 26, 2022 | 7:30 PM evenings, 2 PM matinee

Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland 

Sung in English with live English captions.
The performance is approximately two hours and ten minutes, performed with one intermission.

In addition to the ticketed performances at the Newmark Theatre, digital access will be available for a limited time on Portland Opera Onscreen.  

Composed by

Anthony Davis

Libretto by

Richard Wesley

   

Antron McCray

Donovan Singletary

Yusef Salaam

Aubrey Allicock

Kevin Richardson

Bernard Holcomb

Raymond Santana

Victor Ryan Robertson

Korey Wise

Nathan Granner

The Masque

Johnathan McCullough

District Attorney

Hannah Ludwig

Donald Trump

John Marzano

Conductor

Kazem Abdullah

Director

Nataki Garrett

The Central Park Five takes us to New York City in the late 1980s—when five Black and Latino teenagers were illegally coerced into a confession which led to them being falsely accused and convicted of rape and assault. After serving prison sentences, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise were exonerated through DNA evidence. This courageous work speaks to the injustices and experiences they endured, and the racial injustices that continue to impact the community, and specifically BIPOC community members, today.

Nataki Garrett, Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, will make her Portland Opera debut directing The Central Park Five, and Kazem Abdullah will make his company debut conducting. Numerous singers will make their Portland Opera debuts in this production, including Donovan Singletary as Antron McCray, Aubrey Allicock as Yusef Salaam, Bernard Holcomb as Kevin Richardson, Nathan Granner as Korey Wise, Victor Ryan Robertson as Raymond Santana, Johnathan McCullough as The Masque, Hannah Ludwig as the District Attorney, and John Marzano as Donald Trump. Additional cast members will be announced soon. 

Dates, programming, artists, and details for Portland Opera’s 21/22 season are subject to change. Portland Opera is committed to the health and safety of our audiences, artists, and company members. The company is working with health authorities and medical advisors to continue to adhere with local, state, and federal guidelines. In order to create a safe and enjoyable experience for all, Portland Opera may implement staff and patron precautions, which may include face coverings, symptom screenings, temperature checks or other recommended safety measures.