May 16, 2017

Press Release: Man of La Mancha Brings “The Impossible Dream” to Portland Opera

Portland Opera will present the classic American musical, Mitch Leigh’s Man of La Mancha, at the Keller Auditorium on Friday, June 9. Man of La Mancha has inspired audiences for decades with its witty tale of chivalry, undoing of wrongs, and bringing justice to the world. It has been an enormous success with both audiences and critics since it first appeared on Broadway, winning five Tony Awards, including “best musical.”

Man of La Mancha is now regularly performed by opera companies with its stirring dramatic melodies sung by fully trained lyric voices, accompanied by a full orchestra,” said Christopher Mattaliano, Portland Opera General Director. “The uplifting story, unforgettable characters, and timeless songs like ‘The Impossible Dream’ make it one of the most endearing works of American musical theater.”

The story is inspired by Miguel Cervantes’ great novel “Don Quixote,” but librettist Dale Wasserman framed his tale as a play-within-a-play, and included the character of Cervantes himself. The audience first meets Cervantes in prison, where he is awaiting trial by the Spanish Inquisition. He presents the story of Don Quixote to his fellow prisoners­—assuming the character of Don Quixote—and invites them to “enter into his imagination.’ They oblige, and in turn participate in telling the tale, while enacting its many colorful roles.

Welsh baritone Jason Howard will make his Portland Opera debut as Don Quixote. With credits including numerous principal roles at the Royal Opera House, Paris Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, and more, he is recognized as one of the UK’s leading performers on the international operatic stage. Howard has received global acclaim for not only his operatic roles, but also his Broadway roles. Tara Venditti is also making her Portland Opera debut as Aldonza, the object of Don Quixote’s reverential love. From the Royal Opera House to Glimmerglass, Venditti is praised for both her beautiful, rich voice and her stage presence alike. Reggie Lee, known most-recently as Sergeant Wu on NBC’s Grimm is making his Portland Opera debut as Sancho Panza, Don Quixote’s trusted sidekick.

Stage Director Alan Paul is the Associate Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC (Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theater Tony Award). In 2014, he received a Helen Hayes nomination for Best Director for Man of La Mancha.

Portland Opera’s production of Man of La Mancha will feature sets and costumes based on the original 1965 production, designed by Howard Bay and Patton Campbell. These physical elements are owned by the estate of composer Mitch Leigh and include some costume pieces from the original Broadway production.

The production is sung in English with text projected above the stage.

SPECIAL EVENT: In Conversation with Reggie Lee
Tuesday, May 23, 7 – 8 p.m.
Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum
Hosted by Portland Opera General Director Christopher Mattaliano

Reggie Lee, known recently for his role as Sergeant Drew Wu from ABC’s “Grimm” series, has a successful career spanning 25 years on both stage and screen. This June, he returns to the stage as Sancho Panza—the trusted sidekick of Don Quixote— in Portland Opera’s production of Man of La Mancha.

Portland Opera General Director, Christopher Mattaliano, will host an interactive discussion and Q&A with Reggie on his upcoming role, and his return to the stage.

$10 per person
Tickets available here.

THE CAST (in order of vocal appearance)
Captain of the Inquisition                    Tim Blough
Cervantes / Don Quixote                     Jason Howard
Manservant / Sancho Panza                 Reggie Lee
Governor / Innkeeper                          Damian Norfleet
Duke / Dr. Carrasco                             Ryan Thorn
Aldonza / Dulcinea                              Tara Venditti
Jose, a muleteer                                 Joel Walker
Juan, a muleteer                                Timothy Lafolette
Pedro, a muleteer                               José Rubio
Paco, a muleteer                                Anders J. Tobiason
Anselmo, a muleteer                          Joseph M. Muir
Tenorio, a muleteer                            Feliciano Tencos-Garcia
Maria, the Innkeeper’s Wife              Beth Madsen Bradford
Antonia                                                Kate Farrar
Housekeeper                                      AnDee Compton
Padre                                                  Aaron Short
Barber                                                David Warner
Fermina                                             Dru Rutledge

Stage Director                                 Alan Paul
Conductor                                       George Manahan
Lighting Designer                             Robert Wierzel
Choreographer                                 David Marquez
Fight Choreographer                         John Armour
Sound Designer                                Kai Harada

The production sponsors for Man of La Mancha are Drs. Delores & Fernando Leon and Work for Art. The opening night performance is sponsored by The Oregonian/OregonLive. Additional supporters include: The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, RACC, the Oregon Arts Commission, the Meyer Memorial Trust, and The Collins Foundation.

PRICE:                        Starting at $28 per regular ticket
PHONE:                     503-241-1802, Toll-free 866-739-6737, M-F, 9-5
Ticketmaster, (800) 982-ARTS (days, evenings, and weekends)
IN-PERSON:             Portland Opera, 211 SE Caruthers St. (south of OMSI, east of Water.) M-F, 9-5
All Ticketmaster Outlets


Media Contact:  
Mary Agnew