World class productions by PORTopera have generated high acclaim from national publications, including Opera News, the leading magazine devoted to all things Opera. Please take a moment to peruse the reviews below.
Conductor Stephen Lord was chosen by Opera News as one of the "25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera." He was recently named the artistic director of opera studies at New England Conservatory, overseeing all aspects of the opera training program and conducting one mainstage production a year. Lord also serves as music director for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In 2015–2016, he returns to English National Opera to conduct Bellini's epic Norma.
Billed as a semistaged performance, there was little “semi” about the character portrayals of this Tosca. The artists were directed to brilliant effect by PORT artistic director Dona D. Vaughn, who made actors of all her musicians even in the little moments — most humorously, when the Sacristan tried and failed to genuflect before a saint’s statue. The action played in a small space in front of the orchestra with sparse set pieces:
For anyone inclined to fret beforehand about an opera production’s possibilities, PORTopera’s Tosca offered plenty to worry about. There was the casting, for starters. James Morris, long a Metropolitan Opera mainstay, would be singing the villainous Scarpia, and Thomas Hammons, a great character actor, would take on the Sacristan, a small, semicomic role. But the Tosca and Cavaradossi, would be sung by Alexandra LoBianco and Adam Diegel, two younger singers in the early stages of their careers.
This presentation of Tosca marks the twenty-first season of PORTopera, a cultural institution that has risen to national acclaim thanks to the hard work of president Ann Elderkin, artistic director Dona D. Vaughn, and the many talented singers, musicians, and other crew members who have graced the gilded-and-ivory halls of Merrill Auditorium.
PORTLAND, Maine – 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.
Maine’s PORTopera marked its twentieth anniversary with Rigoletto (seen July 23), staged by the company’s artistic director, Dona D. Vaughn, and conducted by Stephen Lord. Vaughn updated the opera to the 1920s, enabling the audience to experience the tragedy in a world of ruthless bosses and their henchmen.
For its nineteenth summer season, Maine's PORTopera presented La Bohème and proved that the familiar can be both fresh and remarkably moving in the right hands. Those hands belong to PORT's artistic director, Dona D. Vaughn, whose stylish, sensitive staging created an intimate world for this perennial favorite by emphasizing the characters' relationships and interactions.
Opera News once again has high praise for PORTopera. The 2012 production of Madama Butterfly marked our eighteenth season, and their positive review had this to say:
“PORTopera's artistic director Dona D. Vaughn elicited from her talented cast striking and nuanced performances rooted in the reality of each character’s emotional life . . .
I have attended many of the productions staged at Merrill Auditorium by PORTopera, and this year’s “Madama Butterfly” stands out as one of the finest.
Wednesday night’s performance appeared to be entirely sold out, but good balcony seats are still available for today and should go fast . . .
Joining the chorus of “Bravos” for PORTopera’s production of the Donizetti opera this past July is perhaps the most prestigious publication in the opera world, Opera News. A full review by Judith Malafronte appeared in the November issue . . .
PORTopera has done it again -- presented a well-known opera that is staged, directed and sung at the highest professional level. In the case of Thursday night's performance of Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment" at Merrill Auditorium, it was also thoroughly enjoyable . . .
In the world of opera Humperdinck’s “Hansel und Gretel” stands pretty much by itself as a tale that can reach, teach, inspire and be understood by everyone from innocent children to grown ups who have seen it all . . .
PORTopera's Young Artists Program, which opened its six-performance series Friday night at USM's Hannaford Auditorium, is a double-bill of vocal virtuosity by Mozart and Donizetti, well costumed and professionally sung by some already accomplished young artists . . .
PORTopera's Roméo et Juliette was a successful addition to this company's growing list of strongly cast, musically rich productions. Artistic director Dona D. Vaughn, who has a knack for getting convincing performances . . .
Dona Vaughn has done it again. PORTopera's production of Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette" at Merrill Auditorium on Thursday would have been worthy of any world capital . . .
Really good parody has to be as close as possible to the subject being lampooned. That was certainly true of Friday night's premiere performance by Maine's Emerging Artists of “Too Many Sopranos” at the Portland Museum of Art . . .
Musical and dramatic clarity came together perfectly in PortOpera's production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia (July 29) in Portland, Maine's Merrill Auditorium. Giovanni Reggioli led a finely nuanced reading of the overture, using dynamic contrasts and variety of attack to impart a fresh, spontaneous feel to the familiar work . . .