Conducted by Erin Helyard
Directed by Chas Rader-Shieber

We share your concerns about the spread of COVID-19, and the safety and well-being of our audience members, musicians, artists, and staff remains at the core our values.

Governor Kate Brown has issued an order to cancel or postpone gatherings of 250 or more in the state of Oregon for the next four weeks. As a result, Portland Opera will cancel all performances of Vivaldi’s Bajazet, as well as all other special events and programs related to the production.

If you have a question about refunds for Bajazet tickets, please note:

  • We have authorized all refunds to occur automatically.
  • If you paid for tickets or your subscription via credit card, you should receive the funds in 7 – 10 business days.
  • If you paid for tickets or your subscription via cash or check, you will receive a check in the mail in 7 – 10 business days.
  • If you purchased tickets online, through TicketMaster, the TicketMaster customer service team will automatically refund your purchase.
  • Please know that all refunds are being processed as quickly as efficiently as possible. We appreciate your patience.

You can email and we will respond as soon as we are able.  Our team is working remotely until April 1, and you can learn more here. We appreciate your patience!

“One could say it has it all; exotic characters, an elaborately styled plot, recitatives of extraordinary power and above all, glorious arias festooned with feeling and imagination.”

– Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle

A collaboration with Portland Baroque Orchestra

Bajazet, Emperor of the Turks, has been captured. His daughter, Asteria, plans to kill her father’s captor, Tamerlano, who also wishes to marry her. Irene, a princess who loves Tamerlano, discovers the murder plot and intervenes. Andronico, an ally of Tamerlano, is in love with Asteria. Honor, forgiveness, and duty shine brightly in this muscular tale of conflict, love, and conquerors.


Performed in Italian with English captions.
Approximately 3 hours, with one intermission.

We are thrilled to collaborate with Portland Baroque Orchestra to present the American professional premiere of Vivaldi’s rarely performed Baroque masterpiece from 1735.

Listen for Vivaldi’s seamless score, which offers glorious melodies and dazzling vocal fireworks. Australian conductor Erin Helyard, known for his superb musical direction, makes his U.S. debut with a cast featuring contralto Avery Amereau and countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen.


Looking for dining options, directions, or more information? Create your opera experience with the assistance of our Portland Opera Concierge: | 503-241-1407

Join us one hour before curtain for a discussion providing context and unique insights into the world of the opera. After the performance join company members and guests from the production, for a post-show conversation.

Tickets available from $35. View a seating map of the Newmark Theatre.


The performance of Bajazet on March 22, 2020 at 2 PM 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 translated with English text projected above the stage. If you require wheelchair, ADA, or companion seating, please let our Patron Services team know when you purchase tickets, so that we can ensure your visit to the opera is an excellent one.


Bajazet Preview: Thursdays @ Three
All Classical Portland

Listen to a preview of Bajazet hosted by Christa Wessel and featuring performances by cast members and Chorus Master & Assistant Conductor Nicholas Fox. Listen Here

Cancelled: Bajazet Preview: Multnomah County Library
Sunday, March 15, 2 PM
Central Branch, 801 SW 10th Ave.

Join us in the Collins Gallery for a preview of Bajazet featuring performances by Portland Opera’s Resident Artists and Chorus Master & Assistant Conductor Nicholas Fox.

Free and open to the public.


Daniel Mobbs

Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen

Avery Amereau

Camille Sherman

John Marzano

Kathleen Kim

Erin Helyard

Chas Rader-Shieber

Scenic & Costume Designer
Michael Olich

Lighting Designer
Connie Yun

Plot & Program Notes


The action takes place in the Royal Palace where Tamerlano, ruler of the vast Tartar empire, is holding the defeated Turkish sultan Bajazet prisoner, in the days immediately following the Tartar victory over the Ottoman Empire.


Bajazet faces certain death at the hands of his captor and has asked the Greek prince Andronico to take care of his daughter, Asteria, after his demise. Tamerlano tells Andronico that he intends to renounce his fiancée, the princess Irene, to marry Asteria instead. Not knowing or caring that Andronico loves Asteria, Tamerlano offers him the Greek Empire and Irene’s hand in marriage, then orders him to communicate Asteria’s fate to Bajazet. When Asteria learns that she is to marry Tamerlano, she is convinced that Andronico has betrayed

her to gain power. Bajazet, enraged, declares that Asteria shall not marry Tamerlano, though it cost him his head. Irene arrives at the palace and is furious when she learns that she has been slighted. Andronico assures her of his support and suggests that she keep her identity a secret by disguising herself as a messenger sent by Irene, in order to be able to influence the course of events. Andronico learns from Tamerlano that Asteria has apparently accepted the offer of marriage. Devastated, he tries to justify himself to Asteria, who scornfully dismisses him.


Tamerlano receives Irene’s messenger (Irene herself in disguise) and attempts to justify his decision. Asteria reassures the messenger that she will not come between Tamerlano and Irene. Bajazet learns from Andronico that Asteria’s marriage is imminent. Forcing himself into his daughter’s presence, he voices his contempt for her in an impassioned outpouring. Asteria is distraught and produces the dagger she had concealed in order to kill Tamerlano on their wedding night. Father and daughter are arrested. Bajazet and Asteria plan to kill themselves by means of a poison that Bajazet has kept hidden. Andronico tells Tamerlano of his love for Asteria. Tamerlano decides to kill Bajazet and to make Asteria a slave, ordering her to wait upon him at table. Asteria uses this opportunity to slip the poison that Bajazet has given her into Tamerlano’s goblet. This is observed by Irene, who denounces her and reveals her own true identity. Tamerlano rewards Irene by promising to marry her again, and orders that Asteria be raped by the slaves of the harem while Andronico looks on.

Bajazet rages impotently and departs, leaving Irene to give free rein to her joy. News comes through that Bajazet has poisoned himself, and Asteria begs Tamerlano to kill her too. Overwhelmed by this tragic turn of events, Tamerlano considers his options.

© Pinchgut Opera 2015


Even as the walls seem to be crumbling around them, the characters of Bajazet live in a musical world of unparalleled beauty. As one culture is dismissed and destroyed by another, with a kind of cruelty that is both frightening and yet familiar, the personal and emotional lives of those in power are given a careful kind of examination by Vivaldi.

To witness the literal and figurative stripping away of the things that are held most dear, is a terrifying and moving experience. As Bajazet and his daughter Asteria face the nightmare of losing their identities, they fight to maintain their history and their dignity. Tamerlano uses his boundless power to sublimate everyone around him, in a mortifying display of unchecked control. Between these forces, characters find a place for profound love and desire amid a world-changing sadness. The poignancy of bitter endings and unexpected loss are brought to the fore in this amazingly powerful opera.

Emotion at its most potent, power at its most dangerous, and music at its greatest expression of pure theatricality are at the center of this tragic, and moving opera.

Chas Rader-Shieber, Director