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The production for our 2016 Season is…
Georges Bizet's Carmen
PORTopera has selected Bizet's famous tale of lust, revenge and murder as its mainstage production on July 27 and 29, 2016, the company’s 22nd year. The opera will be fully staged and costumed with PORTopera's Orchestra conducted by Maestro Stephen Lord in the pit. The production will also include the PORTopera Chorus and Children's Chorus. Casting is taking place now and Artistic and Stage Director Dona D. Vaughn promises an all-star collection of singers and our most memorable production yet.
Thank you to our sponsors and to everyone who made our 2016 Gala a success!
PORTopera thanks all our patrons and supporters for their tremendous support of Tosca and making 2015 one of our most successful years ever.
PORTopera Thanks Its Corporate
and Foundation Supporters. Bravo!
PORTopera is proud to be a member of the
PORTopera appoints Caroline Koelker managing director
PORTopera recently announced the appointment of Caroline Koelker as managing director. In this role she is responsible for managing all aspects of the opera company’s productions, outreach and fundraising.
Click here for more information on Caroline in a recent press release »
PORTopera Goes to Mount Desert Island
The Claremont Hotel, 1884, Southwest Harbor, Maine
On Thursday, August 27, 2015, PORTopera presented a program at the legendary Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor, Maine. Gorgeously sited on Somes Sound, the Claremont hosts lectures and concerts in its Clark Point Room during the summer season. These programs attract not only the hotel’s guests but also residents and visitors from all over Mount Desert Island. Claremont owner William McCue had attended PORTopera’s January performance of “When Bel Canto was New: A Celebration of the First Italian Operas in America, 1825-1835,” and he was so enthralled that he invited organizer Arlene Palmer Schwind to reprise it at the Hotel.
Pianist Robert Peterson, organizer and PORTopera trustee Arlene Palmer Schwind, tenor Chris Lucier, mezzo-soprano Jessica Harika, and baritone Robert Mellon.
PORTopera has never had exposure on Mount Desert before so was thrilled to be invited. The same four talented artists who performed in Portland in January traveled up from New York and delighted over seventy audience members with beautiful arias from early Rossini and Bellini operas. Arlene Schwind provided amusing historical commentary about how Americans in the 1825-1835 decade reacted to the new phenomenon that was Italian opera. The evening ended with the memorable trio from Il barbiere di Siviglia, the very first Italian opera heard in this country. As in 1825, the trio was “encored rapturously” and the artists received a standing ovation. It was the first time the Claremont had hosted an operatic program, but its resounding success suggests that it will not be the last!
PORTopera Stars Making News
The October 2015 issue of Opera News, the industry "bible," contains news of several of PORTopera's favorites.
Internationally, Kate Aldrich, singing opposite Jonas Kaufmann at France's Choregies d'Orange, was described as "in many ways a perfect Carmen - her singing was well-phrased, sexy and unexaggerated and her French is good." (!) Kate was our perfect Carmen in 2005.
Soloman Howard, The Bonze in our 2012 Madama Butterfly and Sparafucile in our 2014 Rigoletto was "a sonorous Banquo" in Verdi's MacBeth and Sarastro in The Magic Flute at this summer's Glimmerglass Festival.
Michael Mayes, Mercutio in our Romeo and Juliette (2008), sang Lawrence in The Wreckers at The Bard Summerscape. Opera News had earlier hailed his star-turn performance in Central City, Colorado's Dead Man Walking.
Singing Jessie in Opera Saratoga's The Long Walk, "Heather Johnson, her handsome mezzo rich, her treatment of words full of nuance, generated much sympathy. She sang Jessie's affecting top-of-Act II aria beautifully." Heather sang here as Hansel (2010) and Suzuki in our 2012 Butterfly.
Central City, Colorado's La Traviata starred Ellie Dehn, Dona Elvira in our 2006 Don Giovanni. "She lit up the main character, Violetta, with her sparkling stage presence, affecting acting and charismatic brio. With a radiant, dazzlingly agile voice that could hardly be better suited to this music, she handled every facet of the role with confidence and aplomb from its most challenging coloratura to its most tender moments. In short, this was a star-worthy performance in every way."
Alexandra LoBianco, spectacular as PORTopera's 2015 Tosca, sang Minnie in Des Moines Metro Opera's la Fanciulla del West. "...what truly distinguished the performance was her dramatic intelligence and exceptional level of dynamic control. This is a wonderful voice that should be heard in major houses."
Also in Des Moines, Ashley Emerson, our Daughter of the Regiment in 2011, "created an adorable Blonde
(in Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail) whose sparkling coloratura remained gleaming and rounded right up to a rock-solid top E."
And speaking of Ashley, Opera News' special feature article, "Rising Stars," included her Daughter co-star, Andrew Bidlack, who will be remembered for accurately (and fearlessly) hitting all nine high Cs in our Merrill production.