Portland Opera is an American opera company based at The Hampton Opera Center in Portland, Oregon. Its performances take place in the Keller Auditorium and Newmark Theatre, both part of the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. Portland Opera also produces a separate subscription series of touring Broadway musicals, which also take place at the Keller Auditorium.
Portland Opera was one of the first opera companies to introduce surtitles in its productions, and has presented several world and US premieres. In October 2014, the company announced that it will change the format of its productions by presenting some in the Keller and others as a part of a summer festival format with three operas produced in the Newmark.
Portland Opera was founded as the Portland Opera Association in 1964 by the conductor Henry Holt. Its first performance was Strauss' Die Fledermaus, the only opera presented that season. Holt served as the company's General Director for the first two years of existence. The General Director post was next held by the Austrian conductor Herbert Weiskopf, who died of a heart attack in March 1970 after conducting a performance of Lucia di Lammermoor. The conductor Stefan Minde then took over as General Director and served until 1984, followed by Robert Bailey, a stage director, and National Public Radio's first Director of Culture Programming, who served until 2003.
The current General Director is Christopher Mattaliano, stage director and former Artistic Director of the Pine Mountain Music Festival, who was appointed in 2003. The current Music Director is George Manahan, who was appointed in 2012. The company's 2012/2013 opera season featured three productions at the Keller Auditorium, Don Giovanni, Tosca and Falstaff, as well as a production of Rinaldo at the Newmark Theatre.
Artists who have appeared with the company include the conductors, Donato Cabrera, David Giménez Carreras, and Christopher Larkin; and the singers Klara Barlow, Gregory Reinhart, Marcello Giordani, Charles Castronovo, and Jozsef Gregor.
Portland Opera's premiere performances include:
- Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights (1982, world premiere of an abridged version)
- Christopher Drobny's Lucy's Lapses (1990, world premiere)
- Reynaldo Hahn's Le marchand de Venise (The Merchant of Venice) (1996, US premiere)
- William Bolcom's A View from the Bridge (2003, US West Coast premiere)
- Norberg (October 31, 2007)
- David Stabler, "Portland Opera makes dramatic move to summer seasons beginning in 2016: 'We want to avoid death by 1,000 paper cuts'",, The Oregonian, 28 October 2014.
- Past productions record, Portland Opera
- New York Times, (March 23, 1970)
- Kellow (November 1996)
- Campbell (May 3, 1990)
- Campbell (November 4, 1996)
- Van Allen (January 17, 2002)
- Campbell, Ruth M., "Portland Opera's 'Lucy's Lapses' is Promising Despite Giddiness", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 3, 1990. Accessed 29 September 2009.
- Campbell, Ruth M., "Portland Opera Goes Out on a Limb Presenting Merchant of Venice" Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 4, 1996. Accessed via subscription 29 September 2009.
- "Herbert Weiskopf, Conductor on Coast", New York Times, March 23, 1970, p. 41.
- Kellow, Brian, "Portland's Progress", Opera News, November 1996. Accessed via subscription 29 September 2009.
- Norberg, Eric, "An Inner Southeast “crown jewel” — the Portland Opera", Portland Bee, October 31, 2007. Accessed 29 September 2009.
- Stabler, David, "Portland Opera ends season in the black", The Oregonian, July 14, 2009. Accessed 29 September 2009.
- Van Allen, Angela, "Portland Opera Set for Diverse new Season", The Columbian, January 17, 2002. Accessed via subscription 29 September 2009.