March 9, 2016

Press Release: Portland Opera Presents THE MAGIC FLUTE

2016 Opening Production will Feature the World Re-Premiere of the Scenery and Costumes Designed by Beloved Children’s Book Author & Illustrator Maurice Sendak

Portland Opera’s 2016 Season, spanning the months of May, June, and July, begins on May 6 at the Keller Auditorium with Mozart’s The Magic Flute. With a score that makes it one of the top five operas in the world, The Magic Flute is a profound comedy that celebrates the powers of music, faith, and love.

“I’m especially excited that our production features the acclaimed scenery and costumes designed by Maurice Sendak,” says General Director Christopher Mattaliano who directed several revivals of the original production, and worked closely with Sendak and Frank Corsaro (the original director) for many years. The original scenery was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Wilma, but now Portland Opera is rebuilding it, thanks to special grants from the Maurice Sendak Foundation, CARE Foundation, and the Carol Frank Buck Foundation.

“Personally and artistically Maurice was a great mentor in my life. He was a deep treasure trove of literature, art, and music ” says Mattaliano who assisted on a number of subsequent Sendak designed opera productions and formed a lasting friendship with him over the years.

The Magic Flute is a universal tale of love, adventure, and the conflict between good and evil. Not all is as it seems when the Queen of the Night launches Prince Tamino and Papageno, his bird-catcher sidekick, on a quest to rescue her daughter Pamina from the brotherhood ruled by Sarastro. Armed with a magic flute and bells, Tamino and Papageno find Pamina, but are soon confronted with conflicts and confusion. Whom should they trust? The Queen of the Night, who flaunts her powers in dazzling displays of vocal pyrotechnics, or Sarastro, the seemingly enlightened leader whose arias were famously described by George Bernard Shaw as “the only music yet written that would not sound out of place in the mouth of God.”

Above all, The Magic Flute is glorious music. In fact, one of the reasons Sendak accepted the invitation to design sets and costumes for The Magic Flute was because he loved Mozart’s music. “The score for The Magic Flute is pure genius,” says Portland Opera Music Director George Manahan who will conduct the production. “Dvorák put it quite brilliantly when he said, ‘Mozart is light.’”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
“World Re-Premiere” of the Acclaimed Maurice Sendak Production
May 6, 8m, 12 & 14, 2016
Keller Auditorium
Performed in the celebrated English translation by Andrew Porter

Music:                              Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto:                           Emanuel Schikaneder
Translation:                       Andrew Porter
World Premiere:                 Theater auf der Wieden, Vienna, Austria, September 30, 1791
Portland Opera Premiere:    May 7, 1970


Maureen McKay

The Washington Post hails Maureen McKay for her “silvery, precisely aimed voice, natural stage presence and the kind of beautifully detailed acting you don’t see often enough on the operatic stage…in a smart, sexy and thoroughly charming performance.” She sang Pamina in The Magic Flute with the Komische Oper Berlin, Opera Colorado and the Edinburgh International Festival in 2015 and the Washington National Opera in 2014. Portland audiences will recognize from her performances as Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress in 2015 and her Gretel in Hansel and Gretel in 2010.

Shawn Mathey

Shawn Mathey has performed in the most important and distinguished opera companies and music festivals in the world including the Paris Opera, the Opernhaus Zurich, the Salzburg Festival, Aix-en-Provence Festival, the Theater an der Wien, and the Frankfurt Opera, among many others. This season marks Shawn Mathey’s return to London for one of his signature roles, Tamino, at the English National Opera. He will reprise this role for further performances of Die Zauberflöte in Charlotte and Omaha. Shawn made his Portland Opera debut as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni in 2006.

John Moore

The New York Times review of John Moore’s performance at the 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Grand Finals Concert noted his “sumptuous tone and a superb comic presence” in Papageno’s “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from The Magic Flute. Since then he has twice appeared with the Metropolitan Opera as Papageno in The Magic Flute. In addition to his debut role with Portland Opera, a list of significant company debuts during 2015-2016 season includes: Seattle Opera, the Bayerische Staatsoper, and the Florida Grand Opera.

Tom McNichols

Described by the NY Times as an “oceanic bass” and praised by Musical America for his “powerful sonorous bass,” Tom McNichols is making his Portland Opera debut as Sarastro, a role he has performed with Opera Grand Rapids, Opera Carolina and Opera Omaha. He has performed in venues including Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, and the Library of Congress, but perhaps one of his most notable recent appearances was God in The Mark of Cain for the Chelsea Opera.

Aline Kutan
The Queen of the Night

“Superb, often dizzying in her show of vocal display,” Aline Kutan is acclaimed for her crystalline voice, amazing vocal virtuosity and powerful scenic presence. She won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1995 and has since become known for roles such as the Queen of the Night, Zerbinetta, Olympia, Konstanze and Violetta in venues around the world such l’Opéra de Paris, Glyndebourne Festival, Teatro Colon in Argentina, Capitole de Toulouse, Canadian Opera Company, and New York City Opera, among others. This is her Portland Opera debut.

Marcus Shelton

Of Marcus Shelton, Opera Now magazine says: “[Marcus] used his ample but suave voice with imagination and versatility.” He has received great acclaim for his athletic and comedic character tenor roles (Monastatos, The Magic Flute; Bardolfo, Falstaff; Snout, Midsummer Night’s Dream). A resident of Seattle, Shelton has been featured with companies from Seattle Opera to the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Greek National Opera and the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, among many more.

Katrina Galka

This is Katrina Galka’s second year as a Portland Opera Resident Artist. “She thrilled with fine coloratura filigree and pure high notes,” wrote The Oregonian of her Adina in The Elixir of Love last season. Other roles during Portland Opera’s 50th anniversary season included Ida in Die Fledermaus, Frasquita in Carmen, and Kim in Show Boat. Up next in 2016, she will portray Johanna in Sweeney Todd and Elvira in The Italian Girl in Algiers.

Jonathan Kimple

Bass-baritone Jonathan Kimple’s recent roles include Baron Douphol in La Traviata, Nourabad in The Pearl Fishers, and Colline in La Bohème. Since his time as a Resident Artist with Portland Opera during the 2008-2009 season, Kimple has made debuts with the Santa Fe Opera and Metropolitan Opera.

Felicia Moore
First Lady

Felicia Moore is a Resident Artist at Portland Opera for the 2015-2016 season. She made her professional debut with the Spoleto Festival USA as a Fate in the American premiere of Proserpina. Other highly competitive young artist programs she comes from include Mannes School of Music, the Crested Butte Music Festival and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In March she will compete in the semi-finals at the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.

Angela Niederloh
Second Lady

Angela Niederloh is a frequent Portland Opera guest artist, with roles including Mercédès in Carmen and Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress in 2015. Angela has performed in concert with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Boston Baroque Orchestra, New York Festival of Song, Aspen Festival Orchestra, and Portland Baroque Orchestra. A native Oregonian, she teaches at Portland State University and Pacific University.

Abigail Dock
Third Lady

Abigail Dock is currently a Resident Artist with Portland Opera. In addition to the Third Lady in The Magic Flute, she will sing the role of Olga in Portland Opera’s July 2016 production of Eugene Onegin. The Oregon native received her Masters in Opera Performance from The Boston Conservatory and her Bachelors of Music from Rice University. She is currently pursuing a Performance Studies Certificate at The Boston Conservatory.

Ryan Thorn

Noted critically for the “commanding baritone he wields so effortlessly,” Ryan Thorn is a new member of Portland Opera’s Resident Artists program. His roles with Portland Opera in 2016 include Taddeo in L’italiana in Algeri and Jonas Fogg in Sweeney Todd. Thorn’s recent role debuts include Marcello (La Bohème), the Musiklehrer (Ariadne auf Naxos), and Giove (La Calisto) with Pacific Opera Project, Morales and El Dancaïre (Carmen) with Madison Opera.

Aaron Short
Armored Man

The New York Times has praised Aaron Short for “simultaneously subtle and shattering performance.” New to the Portland Opera Resident Artists program this season, he recently completed his second season as a Studio Artist with Florentine Opera and spent the past two summers at The Santa Fe Opera as an Apprentice Artist. He has also been a Young Artist with Chautauqua Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Lyric Opera Studio Weimar and Opera in the Ozarks.

Andre Flynn
Armored Man

André Flynn has been an active performer in the Northwest for more than 30 years in opera, oratorio, concert and recital. His appearances with Portland Opera include Don Prudenzio in Il Viaggio a Reims, Dr. Grenvil in La Traviata, Montano in Otello, Angelotti in Tosca and many others.


Conductor                George Manahan
Director                    Chris Mattaliano
Scenic Designer       Maurice Sendak
Costume Designer    Maurice Sendak
Lighting Designer      Neil Peter Jampolis


Opera Overtures
These free and informative sessions, led by guest speakers Carl Halvorson  (The Magic Flute and Sweeney Todd) and Hannah Penn (Eugene Onegin and The Italian Girl in Algiers) focus on the music and history behind the evening’s opera, to make each performance even more satisfying.
 One hour prior to each performance | First Balcony 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


Library Preview
A 50-minute sneak peek at The Magic Flute, led by Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor Nicholas Fox, with musical examples performed by members of the Resident Artists program.
May 1 at 2pm, Multnomah County Central Library, Free admission


The Magic Flute is generously supported by The Maurice Sendak Foundation, the Carol Franc Buck Foundation, the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, CTA Lab, and Boeing.

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.


Subscribers are guaranteed subscriber discounts of up to 25%, the opportunity to retain or improve their Keller Auditorium seats, and have priority seating in the Newmark Theatre. Renewing subscribers also receive a variety of payment plan options, discounts at many area hotels and restaurants, and invitations to subscriber-only special events, along with a host of other benefits.


FRI. 5/6, THURS. 5/12, and SAT. 5/14 at 7:30PM | SUN. 5/8 at 2pm

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)


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 show, all available unsold seats. One ticket per person, valid ID required.