As a leader in the field, award-winning conductor, and greatly respected educator, Maestro Manahan’s legacy at Portland Opera is one of excellence and ensemble-building, within the broader context of his extraordinary and celebrated career. His artistic contributions have been hailed by audiences and critics alike, and he has led the company through a phase of increased quality and musical development that positions the ensemble and company for an amazing next chapter.
Manahan made his Portland Opera debut in 2006 conducting Verdi’s Macbeth and was a regular guest artist with the company prior to being named Music Director in 2012. Throughout his time with Portland Opera, Manahan conducted over 20 productions with the company, most recently Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and Gounod’s Faust. He conducted the company’s first Big Night concert in 2011 and continued the tradition in subsequent seasons, including the digital production of An Evening with Portland Opera during winter of 2020.
As an influential award-winning leader in the field of classical music and opera, Maestro Manahan has served as Director of Orchestral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music for over a decade, as well as Music Director of the American Composers Orchestra. He was Music Director of the New York City Opera for fourteen seasons, and the Richmond Symphony for twelve seasons. He is an award-winning conductor, hailed by Columbia University and honored by the American Society of Composers and Publishers for his “career-long advocacy for American composers and the music of our time.”
His many guest appearances include working with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, as well as numerous symphonies, and opera companies including Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Santa Fe, Paris, Sydney, Bologna, St. Louis, the Bergan Festival in Norway, and Puerto Rico’s Casals Festival. His performances at the baton have been televised many times, including the Emmy Award-winning New York City Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly.
He has numerous recording credits, and has conducted celebrated world premieres, including Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang’s Modern Painters, Hans Werner Henze’s The English Cat, Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, and Terence Blanchard’s Champion. Portland Opera remains inspired by his many contributions to advancing the art of opera, and his dedication to the company and its patrons.