June 28, 2016

Press Release: Debut of THE ITALIAN GIRL IN ALGIERS for Season Finale

Portland Opera ends the 2016 season with its first staging of Rossini’s, The Italian Girl in Algiers. German director Christian Räth makes his Portland debut with a modern interpretation of the 200-year-old madcap comedy masterpiece. Performances at the Newmark Theatre, featuring new sets and costumes created for the production, are on July 22, 24m, 27, 29, 31m; August 4, 6. The Italian Girl in Algiers will be sung in Italian with supertitles projected in English.

Enjoy summer in the city with a free simulcast of The Italian Girl in Algiers. The Wednesday, July 27 performance will be projected on a screen outside the Newmark Theatre. The street closure of Main Street (between Broadway and Park) will create an outdoor viewing area between Antoinette Hatfield Hall and the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Seating will be available in the street. Food and beverage service will be available outside as part of the event.

Christian Räth, a native of Hamburg, Germany, boasts a global pedigree with past productions including Falstaff at the Washington National Opera, Fidelio at the Dallas Opera, Roméo et Juliette at the Houston Grand Opera, Die Zauberflöte at the Cairo Opera House in Egypt and Carmen at the Grand Théâtre in Geneva.

Räth has placed The Italian Girl in Algiers in a modern setting in which Algiers becomes a metaphor for unfamiliar places. The story follows satirical macho man Mustafa (Ashraf Sewailam in his Portland Opera debut) as he tries to master a group of stranded tourists but who gets bested instead by the central character, an independent young Italian woman named Isabella (Aleksandra Romano in her Portland opera debut) who arrives to free her fiancé Lindoro (Jonathan Johnson in his Portland Opera debut) from Mustafa’s tyrannical rule.

“The great fun of the journey in The Italian Girl in Algiers is that Rossini explores a clash of cultures and battle of the sexes in which both sides have equal strength,” shares Räth. “In this production, we explore what happens to our personal stereotypes of character and gender when we get to know the people we encounter in unfamiliar surroundings. Anyone who has traveled abroad has experienced this! Rossini summons up a musical storm of hilarious situations and confusing emotions, from which none of his heroines or heroes emerge unscathed.”

General Director for Portland Opera, Christopher Mattaliano, is delighted that the season will close with Räth’s first production in Portland. “In Christian, we have a renowned director who has the vision and skill to fully embrace Rossini’s sparkling comedy. He has brought the story forward into modern surroundings, which invites the audience to sink deeper into the story. We can’t think of a better production to offer in rep with our equally unique production of Eugene Onegin.”

The Italian Girl in Algiers will be shown in rotating-repertory performances with Eugene Onegin on July 22 & 23; July 23 & 24; and July 26 & 27. Back to back performances are an ideal way for both local and visiting patrons to enjoy both operas.

The Italian Girl in Algiers             

The audacious Isabella crosses the Mediterranean to find her lost lover, Lindoro, who has been captured by the Algerian chieftain Mustafà. Isabella is likewise captured and Mustafà is immediately captivated by the Italian girl, deciding to discard his current wife in favor of the alluring and exotic foreigner. Isabella coolly engineers an escape plan worthy of the Marx Brothers for herself and Lindoro, bamboozling Mustafà and his entire army.


Isabella, Aleksandra Romano
Katrina Galka
Laura Beckel Thoreson
Jonathan Johnson
Ryan Thorn
Ashraf Sewailam
Deac Guidi
Conductor, George Manahan
Christian Räth
Scenic Designer,
Daniel Meeker
Costume Designer,
Sue Bonde
Lighting Designer,
Connie Yun


Opera Overtures

These free and informative sessions, led by guest speaker Hannah Penn, focus on the music and history behind the evening’s opera to make each performance even more satisfying. One hour prior to each performance | Orchestra level |  Free

Back Talk

Immediately after each performance, audiences are invited to join General Director Christopher Mattaliano and guests that will include fresh-from-their-dressing-room performers, directors, and conductors for a 20 to 30-minute Q&A. | Orchestra level | Free


Portland Opera is hosting a free simulcast of the July 27th performance of The Italian Girl in Algiers on SW Main Street between the Antoinette Hatfield Hall and the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The Italian Girl in Algiers will be sung in Italian with supertitles projected in English.


Portland Opera appreciates the continuing support of The James and Marion L. Miller Foundation, The Regional Arts and Culture Council, Work for Art, the Oregon Arts Commission, Meyer Memorial Trust, and the Collins Foundation.


Fri 7/22, Wed 7/27*, Fri 7/29, Thurs 8/4 and Sat 8/6 at 7:30pm | Sun 7/24 and Sun 7/31 at 2pm

*Free outdoor simulcast

PRICE: Tickets start at $25
PHONE: 503-241-1802, Toll-free 866-739-6737 | M-F, 9-5, Ticketmaster, 800-982-ARTS (days, evenings, and weekends)
ONLINE: PortlandOpera.org or Ticketmaster.com
IN-PERSON: Portland Opera, 211 SE Caruthers St. (south of OMSI, east of Water.) M-F, 9-5, All Ticketmaster Outlets
RUSH: Students/Military $10 per ticket, Seniors $20 per ticket, Two hours prior to sho