February 4, 2019

Press Release: Portland Opera presents the Portland premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s As One

Portland Opera is delighted to bring Laura Kaminsky’s beautiful chamber opera to Portland audiences for the first time. In this stunning coming-of-age story, two voices—a mezzo-soprano and a baritone—share the role of our transgender heroine Hannah as she endeavors to resolve the discord between herself and the outside world. Celebrated as one of the most important new works in the world of opera, Hannah’s story sheds light on universal truths of self-love and identity.

This chamber opera incorporates film, directed and created by Kimberly Reed. The libretto was co-written by Reed and Mark Campbell. Former Portland Opera Resident Artist Hannah Penn, last seen as Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto, sings the role of Hannah after. Lee Gregory makes his Portland Opera debut as Hannah before, a role he sang to acclaim at Long Beach Opera. Conductor, director, and designer Andreas Mitisek makes his Portland Opera debut with this production as well. Portland Opera will present five performances of As One on March 22, 24 (matinee), 26, 28, 30 at the Newmark Theatre.

As One is an essential human story about the journey of becoming One, Whole, True. We take this journey like every other human, unlike every other human,” says stage director Andreas Mitisek. “That is the power of the arts – to make us think and reflect, to open new doors into worlds we didn’t know, to remind us of what we each have to offer, and what we all have in common; to help us understand our history and imagine our future; to give us hope in the moments of struggle; and to bring us together when nothing else will.”

To celebrate the Portland premiere of this critically acclaimed piece, Portland Opera has teamed up with award-winning photographer Gia Goodrich to commission a series of portraits and interviews featuring transgender members of Portland’s community. As One tells one story: Hannah’s story—and this project was created to help celebrate additional stories and voices from transgender people in our community. The gallery of portraits, titled “As I Am”, will be available for free public viewing in the rotunda of the Antoinette Hatfield Hall (located at 1111 SW Broadway Ave., Portland, OR 97205) beginning with an opening reception on Thursday, March 7, from 5pm-8pm. The gallery will be open to the public Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm plus event nights/matinees through March 30.

“Portland Opera has impressed me from day one with their intention to represent this story well, with honor and reverence.” Says Jay D Rae, Co-Founder of Trans Affirming Spaces. “I am touched to see their commitment to acknowledging that this is just one of many stories within the larger trans experience, and to bring some other trans narratives to the forefront in the art installation that they have commissioned from Gia Goodrich which will be displayed in the lobby of the Newmark for the month of March.”

As One was commissioned and developed by American Opera Projects, a nonprofit organization that has produced over 30 world premiere operas. As One film direction and film by Kimberly Reed, was commissioned by AOP. As One premiere was made possible in part with funding from BAM/DeVos Institute of Arts Management at Kennedy Center Professional Development Program, OPERA America’s Opera Discovery Grants for Female Composers Program, supported by Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bronx Council on the Arts, Purchase College Development Fund, Tanner Fund at Utah State University, Jeremy T. Smith Fund, Dr. Coco Lazaroff, Lynn Loacker, Judith O. Rubin, and many generous individuals.

This production is sponsored by Curtis T. Thompson, MD & Associates and Oregon Cultural Trust. Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of The Collins Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, and the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

Tickets and Information

Performances take place at 7:30PM at the Newmark Theatre, with the exception of the matinee on March 24, which begins at 2:00 PM. One hour prior to each performance, audience members are invited to a pre-show lecture on the orchestra level of the Newmark Theatre.

As One will be sung in English with projected English translations.

Portland Opera is a proud participant in Arts for All—providing $5 tickets for Oregon Trail Card holders. We also celebrate donors and supporters of Work for Art by offering special discounts through the Arts Card program. In addition, we offer a limited number of free tickets through My Discovery Pass, a program created by Multnomah County Library that offers access to local museums and cultural institutions for library card holders.

A limited number of rush tickets (for seniors, students, and United States Armed Forces personnel and their families) are available for performances of As One. Student rush tickets are available online on the Monday before the performances. Call 503-241-1802 for more information.

The performance on March 24 at 2pm will include an audio description of the visual and physical events on stage for patrons who are blind or have low vision. For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, each performance is visually translated with English text projected above the stage.

Tickets for As One are now available, starting at $35. Go here to purchase tickets or call Patron Services at 503-241-1802. For more information, patrons may also contact the Opera Concierge at concierge@portlandopera.org.

As One – Cast and Creative Team

Music and concept by Laura Kaminsky

Libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed

Hannah after
Hannah S. Penn

Hannah before
Lee Gregory*

Director, Conductor, Set & Costume Designer
Andreas Mitisek

Lighting Designer
Connie Yun

Film Designer
Kimberly Reed

*Please note, Alexander Elliott was originally announced to sing the role of Hannah Before. He has withdrawn from the production and Lee Gregory will make his Portland Opera debut in the role.

About Portland Opera

Portland Opera exists to inspire, challenge, and uplift our audiences by creating productions of high artistic quality that celebrate the beauty and breadth of opera. The company produces both classic and contemporary opera, which are performed in the Keller Auditorium, Newmark Theatre, and the Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre at the Hampton Opera Center. All performances are sung in the original language with English surtitles projected above the stage.

Portland Opera’s 2018/19 season features Verdi’s La Traviata, Laura Kaminsky’s As One, the annual Big Night concert, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, and Philip Glass’s In the Penal Colony. The company is also a committed educational partner, touring staged operas to schools and community centers throughout Oregon and SW Washington region each year, in addition to a host of other efforts designed to make opera accessible for all.

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Interviews, press comps, artist biographies, and more information available upon request.

Silja Tobin, Marketing & Communications Manager Portland Opera