Press Release: Portland Opera Music Director George Manahan Steps Down After 9 Seasons

Celebratory “George and Friends” concert featuring the Portland Opera Orchestra and Chorus set for May 13, 2022 at 7:30 PM at Keller Auditorium

(Portland, OR – August 31, 2021) George Manahan, Portland Opera’s esteemed Music Director, will step down from the role after 9 years with the company. Portland Opera will celebrate his leadership and tenure with a concert in his honor, featuring the Portland Opera Orchestra and Chorus, as well as special guests, on May 13, 2022 at 7:30 PM, at the Keller Auditorium. 

As a leader in the field, award-winning conductor, and greatly respected educator, Maestro Manahan’s legacy at Portland Opera is one of excellence and ensemble-building, within the broader context of his extraordinary and celebrated career. His artistic contributions have been hailed by audiences and critics alike, and he has led the company through a phase of increased quality and musical development that positions the ensemble and company for an amazing next chapter. 

“We are so grateful to be shaped and inspired by Maestro Manahan’s deep love of opera, and Portland Opera,” says Sue Dixon, General Director. “His expertise, excellence, and dedication led the company to great artistic achievements, and his warmth and spirit made him a beloved colleague. We cannot wait to celebrate him with the May concert!”

Manahan made his Portland Opera debut in 2006 conducting Verdi’s Macbeth and was a regular guest artist with the company prior to being named Music Director in 2012. Throughout his time with Portland Opera, Manahan conducted over 20 productions with the company, most recently Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and Gounod’s Faust. He conducted the company’s first Big Night concert in 2011 and continued the tradition in subsequent seasons, including the digital production of An Evening with Portland Opera during winter of 2020.

“The years I’ve spent with Portland Opera have been some of the most gratifying of my life,” says Maestro George Manahan. “Working with this amazing chorus and wonderful orchestra has been a constant joy, as well as collaborating with the superb administration and board. I want to express my deepest gratitude to Christopher Mattaliano for inviting me to guest conduct in Portland and later appointing me Music Director. I wish everyone the best in continuing the great tradition of Portland Opera.”

As an influential award-winning leader in the field of classical music and opera, Maestro Manahan has served as Director of Orchestral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music for over a decade, as well as Music Director of the American Composers Orchestra. He was Music Director of the New York City Opera for fourteen seasons, and the Richmond Symphony for twelve seasons. He is an award-winning conductor, hailed by Columbia University and honored by the American Society of Composers and Publishers for his “career-long advocacy for American composers and the music of our time.” His many guest appearances include working with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, as well as numerous symphonies, and opera companies including Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Santa Fe, Paris, Sydney, Bologna, St. Louis, the Bergen Festival in Norway, and Puerto Rico’s Casals Festival. His performances at the baton have been televised many times, including the Emmy Award-winning New York City Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly. He has numerous recording credits, and has conducted celebrated world premieres, including Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang’s Modern Painters, Hans Werner Henze’s The English Cat, Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, and Terence Blanchard’s Champion. Portland Opera remains inspired by his many contributions to advancing the art of opera, and his dedication to the company and its patrons.

Portland Opera’s celebration of Maestro Manahan “George and Friends” will take place on May 13, 2022 at 7:30 PM at Keller Auditorium. Maestro Manahan will remain a close advisor and beloved colleague for the company as the baton is passed, and the search begins for Portland Opera’s next Music Director. Tickets for this special concert will go on sale to the public in November, 2021.