June 15, 2010
PORTopera Season Begins June 25th With Young Artist Double-Bill at Portland's Hannaford Hall
PORTopera is performing three operas this year. Two of them will be presented by PORTopera's Young Artists at Hannaford Hall on the USM campus in Portland on June 25th at 7:30. The two operas are Mozart's The Impresario and Donizetti's The Night Bell. This will be the only Portland performance of these two short and brilliant comic operas.
Both operas require highly-skilled singers and PORTopera's Young Artists, selected via national auditions during the spring are well up to the task. For an evening of fun, music and virtuosity this is as good as it gets.
Parking is free and on site. Tickets are $25 each (general admission) and may be ordered from PORTtix by phone at 207-842-0800, online at www.PORTtix.com (handling fees apply) or at the PORTtix box office in Merrill Auditorium.
...And it Ends with Hansel and Gretel on the
Stage of Merrill Auditorium July 29 and 31 (matinee)
PORTopera's 16th season ends in a grand and glorious way with its most ambitious production yet, Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel. A rich retelling of the famous Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel has evocative sets, a large orchestra, a ballet and a children's chorus.
PORTopera's production will depart in many ways from the traditional interpretation of this popular opera. Director Dona D. Vaughn will vividly explore some of the deeper themes inherent in the story, themes that resonate in today's world: abandonment, starvation, poverty, alienation and finally, reconciliation. One highlight of the production will be the use of a children's chorus drawn from Portland's multi-cultural communities, many of whom have had experiences in their own lives that reflect these themes.
Also featured will be young dancers from Portland Ballet in an original ballet in the haunting and beautiful “Dream Pantomime” scene. The production also features designers and technical staff primarily from Maine, and members of the Portland Symphony.
Lead singers include Angela Mortellaro as Gretel, Heather Johnson as Hansel, Weston Hurt and Maria Zifchak as the Father and Mother, and in a brilliant piece of casting, well-known tenor Robert Brubaker as the Witch. Rachel Hauge and Emily Murdock, two of PORTopera's Young Artists, will appear as the Sandman and Dew Fairy. The large orchestra will be conducted by Israel Gursky, assistant conductor of the Washington National Orchestra. Performance times are July 29 at 7:30 and July 31 at 2:00 PM. Free pre-performance lectures by PORTopera dramaturg Calien Lewis, one hour before each performance at the Merrill. Tickets at PORTtix by phone at 207-842-0800 or in person at the box office in Merrill Auditorium.