October 27, 2020

Press Release: Portland Opera Announces Reimagined 2020/21 Season

Portland Opera announces a reimagined 2020/21 season, featuring a series of virtual recitals from the company’s artistic home in Southeast Portland, an outdoor opera experience, and productions broadcast via the company’s new digital channel, Portland Opera Onscreen. While Multnomah County remains in Phase I of COVID-19 reopening, the company has pivoted to create and share this unique content safely—upgrading HVAC systems and transforming the Hampton Opera Center into a digital studio, while working with a team of medical experts to review protocols and practices. All productions in the reimagined season will be presented as digital immersive experiences—with artist conversations, behind-the-scenes content, and other engagement opportunities. Portland Opera’s staff will continue to plan for the possibility that the progression of reopening phases may permit the addition of in-person performances this season.

“The global pandemic has challenged us: to be problem-solvers, to adapt to new technologies, and to deepen the ways that serve the community,” says General Director Sue Dixon. “Our newly reimagined 20/21 season celebrates the resiliency of the creative spirit with live music and local collaborations—while prioritizing health and wellness for our audiences, artists, and company.”

After announcing postponements through the calendar year, Portland Opera began the 20/21 season with a free virtual benefit concert on October 17th, titled An Evening with Portland Opera. The company is launching the Live from the Hampton Opera Center series this month, featuring 5 livestreamed performances by locally based artists. In early 2021, Portland Opera’s five Resident Artists will be featured in three livestream recitals, as part of the Resident Artist series. Robert Xavier Rodríguez’s opera Frida will be the first broadcast on the Portland Opera Onscreen channel in March of 2021. In April the company will present Journeys to Justice, an evening of art song, opera, and short pieces, including The Talk: Instructions for Black Children When They Interact With the Police by Portland Opera Artistic Advisor Damien Geter, Songs of Love and Justice by Dr. Adolphus Hailstork, Night Trip by Carlos Simon, Two Black Churches by Shawn Okpebholo, “Your Daddy’s Son” from Ragtime by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and Songs for the African Violet by Jasmine Barnes. Journeys to Justice will feature the 20/21 Portland Opera Resident Artists and will be directed by Chip Miller (Associate Artistic Director, Portland Center Stage). The 20-21 season will conclude with a broadcast performance of Verdi’s Il Trovatore in May, along with limited outdoor special performance event dates, details forthcoming.

Multnomah County, Oregon, where Portland Opera is headquartered, entered Phase I reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic on June 19, and remains in Phase I—along with neighboring Washington and Clackamas counties—until public health indicators permit progression to Phase II. Public performances with audiences are permitted only in the final phases of the state’s reopening plan.  As part of the company’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of the staff, artists, ensemble, and audience members, Portland Opera has engaged a team of medical advisors to review all safety procedures and protocols, ensuring the company is in line with the best and current medical advice on an ongoing basis. To learn more about Portland Opera’s comprehensive response to the global pandemic, visit portlandopera.org.

Currently being developed in tandem with a new website and ticketing platform, the Portland Opera Onscreen channel will launch in February 2021. Until that time, digital content and performances will be available on Portland Opera’s Vimeo and YouTube channels. The company plans to sustain the digital channel for future seasons as an option for patrons, and is developing these new digital offerings based on patron feedback from recent surveys, strategic planning input, and Town Hall meetings. Tickets for special outdoor performances, as well as digital passes for these productions, will be available beginning in February of 2021.

The company continues with plans to offer an adjusted Portland Opera To Go program, which is Portland Opera’s statewide, school-based arts education tour for K-12 students. Due to the pandemic, this program is shifting to connect with regional schools in a new digital format, starting in January 2021. The company is following state health guidelines and school district mandates in carrying out this program. Opera staff members are working with educators to adjust the program to meet unique digital needs, and to develop supportive relationships during these challenging times.

As a result of this reimagined season, three originally announced productions of Puccini’s Tosca, the Big Night concert, and a double bill of Frid’s The Diary of Anne Frank and Heggie’s For a Look or A Touch will no longer be programmed this season. A message announced this news to 2020/21 season subscribers and members yesterday. Ticket holders are encouraged to email concierge@portlandopera.org in order to share their preferences for refunds and donated tickets, and opera staff members will be reaching out to everyone in the next couple of weeks. Portland Opera continues to work with artists, musicians, and creative teams to navigate these changes and develop the 21-22 season—which will be announced in early 2021.

Portland Opera’s 2020/21 Reimagined Season

Live from the Hampton Opera Center
Virtual Recital Series on Portland Opera’s YouTube and Vimeo channels
October 28, November 11, 18, December 2, 9, 2020 | 7:00 PM

This series features opera artists who call Portland and the PNW “home.” Each hour-long performance will be broadcast live from the Hampton Opera Center, where featured artists can follow health and distancing procedures to ensure safe performance practices without an in-person audience.

Featured artists (in order of broadcast date) will include Katrina Galka, soprano; Camille Sherman, mezzo-soprano; Martin Bakari, tenor; Damien Geter, bass-baritone; and Vanessa Isiguen, soprano. Pianists will include Nicholas Fox, Susan McDaniel, and Kira Whiting.

Free • No registration required • Optional donation
Available on Portland Opera’s YouTube and Vimeo channels

Portland Opera’s 20/21 Resident Artist Series
January 14, 28, and February 11, 2021 | 7:00 PM

Portland Opera is thrilled to continue the resident artist program this year, including recitals featuring the 20/21 Portland Opera Resident Artists. Traditionally held at Portland Art Museum, the series this year will be broadcast live from the Hampton Opera Center. Each performance will feature two or more Portland Opera Resident Artists, sharing solo pieces, duets, and ensembles, along with Resident Artist Coach and collaborative pianist Joseph Williams.

The 20/21 Portland Opera Resident Artists are soprano Lynnesha Crump, mezzo-soprano Jasmine Johnson, tenor David Morgans Sanchez, baritone Michael Parham, and bass Edwin Jhamal Davis. You can learn more about these artists by visiting portlandopera.org.

Free • No registration required • Optional donation 
Available on Portland Opera’s YouTube and Vimeo channels

Portland Opera Onscreen: Frida
by Robert Xavier Rodríguez
Conducted by Andrés Cladera
Directed by Andreas Mitisek

Available for 45 days, starting with the premiere on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 7:30 PM
Portland Opera Onscreen

Portland Opera will launch its new digital channel, Portland Opera Onscreen, with this unique filmed production.

Viva la vida! A celebration of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, Frida is vibrant and infused with artistic imagery—all brought to life by the beautiful music of Mexican American composer Robert Xavier Rodríguez.

In two poetic acts, we follow moments from Mexican painter Frida Kahlo’s life—the traffic accident that changes her physical abilities, her turbulent relationship with Diego Rivera, the men and women that she loves, and the art that she makes. We enter the imagination of an iconic artist and heroine as she changes the world with her story and legacy.

Featuring Catalina Cuervo as Frida and Bernardo Bermudez as Diego, with the 20/21 Portland Opera Resident Artists.

Sung in English and Spanish with captions. 
Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, with one intermission
$50 for digital access; or pay what you will

Access will be available for purchase in February 2021

Portland Opera Onscreen: Journeys to Justice
Directed by Chip Miller
Curated by Damien Geter

Available for 45 days, starting on Friday, April 16, 2021 at 7:30 PM

Featuring: Portland Opera’s 20/21 Resident Artists—Lynnesha Crump, Jasmine Johnson, David Morgans Sanchez, Michael Parham, and Edwin Jhamal Davis; with limited instrumentation featuring members of the Portland Opera Orchestra, and members of the Portland Opera Chorus.

These compositions are about love, justice, and experiences of being a Black American. We witness moments of generational grief: a coming-of-age conversation that is a matter of life and death in The Talk, and a desperate mother’s song to her baby in “Your Daddy’s Son.” In Two Black Churches we grieve with communities generations apart—both facing the aftermath of murder and hate crimes perpetrated by white supremacists. In Night Trip we stop at a gas station with a Black family on a road trip in Jim Crow America, and witness the lack of dignity that welcomes them. Then too, we celebrate the activism of choosing love, with the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Songs of Love and Justice); and the resilience that is demanded of Black women finding joy (Songs for the African Violet).

The Talk: Instructions for Black Children When They Interact With the Police by Damien Geter
Songs of Love and Justice by Dr. Adolphus Hailstork
Night Trip by Carlos Simon
Two Black Churches by Shawn Okpebholo
“Your Daddy’s Son” from Ragtime by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens
Songs for the African Violet by Jasmine Barnes

Sung in English with captions. 
Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes; no intermission
$50 for digital access; or pay what you will

Access will be available for purchase in February 2021

*If Multnomah County’s reopening plan permits it, a limited number of in-person tickets may be made available for this production.

Portland Opera Onscreen & Outdoor Performance: Il Trovatore
by Giuseppe Verdi
Conducted by George Manahan
Directed by Fenlon Lamb

Available on Portland Opera Onscreen for 30 days, starting on Friday, May 7, 2021 at 7:30 PM
(Live outdoor performances dates and details to be announced)

Portland Opera will conclude the 20/21 season with Il Trovatore. A limited number of tickets for the outdoor performance (venue details forthcoming) will be available in February 2021; digital access to the broadcast will also be available.

A tour de force. A mother is burned at the stake as a witch. A horrifying act of revenge by her daughter is made worse by mistaken identity. Vengeance festers in cold blood for years—until a duel, a curse, a love triangle, and an execution reveal the terrible truth.

In this semi-staged concert production, we’ll focus on the show-stopping music that defines this unrelenting drama, in a landscape created with video projections by filmmaker Greg Emetaz.

Sung in Italian with English captions.
Exact run time to be determined.

$50 for digital access; or pay what you will
Outdoor performance ticket information forthcoming.
Tickets and digital passes will be available for purchase in February 2021

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.
Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of our generous donors, National Endowment for the Arts, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Community Foundation, Regional Arts and Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund, and special support from The CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund.

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

Silja Tobin, Marketing & Communications Manager