- Resident Artists
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Julia Sheridan, 503-295-3508
(Portland, Ore.) – Portland Opera opens Verdi’s comedic masterpiece, Falstaff, on May 10 at Keller Auditorium with additional performances on May 12, 16 and 18. Christopher Mattaliano’s rollicking productioncloses a season called “Larger Than Life” with opera’s largest and most full of life character — Falstaff — who famously declared that “he who laughs last, laughs best.” Together, Verdi’s legendary sense of theater and Falstaff’s legendary lust for life guarantee an evening full of merriment and one perfect for both the seasoned and new operagoer.
Verdi wrote only two comedies and he wrote Falstaff when he was nearly 80 years old. The third of Verdi’s operas to be based on a Shakespearean play, it is an extremely spirited, sensual and youthful work. The music possesses immense charm and sparkle with wonderful individual arias throughout the opera. An impeccable, virtuosic ensemble opera, Falstaff teems with tricks, twists and trysts, culminating in an evening where the music, action and comic momentum never stop. Last performed in 1991, Falstaff makes a welcome return to Portland Opera.
“What better way to end the season than with Verdi’s last opera, Falstaff?” said Portland Opera General Director — andFalstaff stage director, Christopher Mattaliano. “Arguably the greatest operatic comedy ever written, Verdi is at the height of his powers, composing for the pure joy of it. He and his librettist Arrigo Boito have taken Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and distilled it to its essence, the irrepressible, elemental Falstaff himself.”
Falstaff is about the battle of the sexes, about honor and fidelity and most of all, about laughing at life. Set in Windsor, England during the reign of Henry IV. The story revolves around the grand, aging, vain, rotund knight — Sir John Falstaff — who is devoted to food, drink, women and a pleasurable philosophy of life. When he decides to write the same love letter to two married women (for his own pleasure and to gain access to their money!) it sets off a series of comic machinations involving tricks, disguises, and many sub plots. After much confusion, humiliation and threats of violence, all ends happily. Sung in Italian with projected English translations.
Most everyone in the cast of Falstaff will be familiar to Portland audiences. Returning in the title role is bass baritone EDUARDO CHAMA (Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, 2002, Leander in The Love for Three Oranges, 1998, Antonio in The Merchant of Venice, 1996). The Seattle Times called his Falstaff “an appealing portrayal.” Opera News said of his Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola that he was “. . . the genuine buffo article, delivering his music with great sound and comic brio.” Soprano PAMELA ARMSTRONG (Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, 2011, The Tales of Hoffmann, 2003) sings Alice Ford. The New York Times Anthony Tommasini described her performance in La Rondine for New York City Opera as “lovely, rich-voiced and bittersweet . . . with soaring high notes.”
Portland’s own, beloved mezzo soprano ANGELA NIEDERLOH (Dorabella in Così fan tutte, 2010, Giunone in La Calisto, 2009, title role in Cinderella, 2007, Third Lady in The Magic Flute, 2007, Melibea in The Journey to Reims, 2004) sings Dame Quickly. The New York Times declared her “an exciting coloratura mezzo-soprano.” An instant hit in Portland, tenor NICHOLAS PHAN (Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, 2010) returns to sing Fenton. Of Phan, Opera News said “Phan has … a great deal of personal and musical charm … the singing is of great musical beauty.”
Baritone Weston Hurt (Father in Hansel and Gretel, 2010) sings Ford. Opera News said “Hurt produced a remarkably suave sound and … his acting proved every bit as nuanced and assured.” Portland Opera General Director CHRISTOPHER MATTALIANO (Candide, 2012, L’Heure Espagnole/L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, 2011, Pagliacci/Carmina Burana, 2010, The Barber of Seville, 2010, Rigoletto, 2009, Albert Herring, 2008 among others) returns as stage director. Mr. Mattaliano’s production of Falstaff at Utah Opera “gave the appreciative audience a lot to smile about,” said the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune declared “witty touches abound throughout the evening.”
Music Director GEORGE MANAHAN (Don Giovanni, Big Night 2012; Big Night, 2011; The Barber of Seville, 2010; Così fan tutte, 2010; Rigoletto, 2009; Rodelinda, 2008; Macbeth, 2006) returns to the podium. Of his conducting for New York City Opera, The New York Times said that “George Manahan conducted and got from his players the kind of heartfelt involvement unthinkable in the City Opera orchestra pit 20 years ago.” Mr. Manahan will make his San Francisco debut in the fall conducting the world premiere of Dolores Claiborne.
|Alice Ford||Pamela Armstrong|
|Dame Quickly||Angela Niederloh|
|Meg Page||Caitlin Mathes†|
|Dr. Caius||Carl Halvorson|
|Stage Director||Christopher Mattaliano|
|Set Designer||Wolfram Skalicki|
|Lighting Designer||Jeff Harris|
|Costume Designer||John Conklin|
|With the Portland Opera Chorus and Orchestra|
|* Portland Opera debut|
|† Portland Opera Resident Artist|
For musical excerpts, plot synopsis and detailed cast bios click here.
|Libretto:||Libretto by Arrigo Boito after Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor (1600-01) and Henry IV, parts 1 and 2|
|Lyrics:||Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.|
|World Premiere:||Teatro alla Scala, Milan: February 9, 1893|
|Portland Opera Premiere:||May 1978|
|PERFORMANCES:||May 10, 12m, 16, 18, 2013|
|All performances begin at 7:30pm, with the exception of the 2:00pm matinee on May 12.|
(Calendar Editors Kindly Note)
In its ongoing quest to make opera as accessible as possible, Portland Opera has a robust schedule of events designed to explore the many facets of Falstaff.
Tune in to All Classical 89.9 fm for an in-depth preview of Falstaff:
5/2/13 “Northwest Previews,” All Classical 89.9 fm, 6pm
Enjoy a live, 50-minute sneak peek of Falstaff:
5/4/13 Vancouver Library, 2pm, Free
5/5/13 Multnomah County Central Library, Collins Gallery, 2pm, Free
Destination Opera: From Music to Psyche
Join Manager of Education and Outreach Alexis Hamilton and David Turner, MD from the
Oregon Psychoanalytic Institute for a discussion on the history, philosophy, psychology and
art behind opera.
5/17/13 7:00pm | Portland Piano Company | 711 SW 14th Ave | Free
These free and informative sessions, led by Resident Historian and Lecturer Bob Kingston, focus on the music and history behind the evening’s opera in ways that make the evening’s performance even more satisfying.
1 hour prior to each performance | First Balcony Level. Free
Immediately after each opera performance, audiences are invited to join General Director Christopher Mattaliano and an interesting variety of guests that will include fresh-from-their-dressing-room performers, directors and conductors for a 20-30 minute Q&A.
Orchestra Level | Free
Fri. 5/10, Thurs. 5/16, Sat. 5/18 at 7:30pm | Sun. 5/12 at 2:00pm
Tickets, starting as low as $25.00, can be purchased:
|BY PHONE:||Portland Opera Box Office, 503-241-1802, Toll-free 866-739-6737, (Mon – Fri, 9:00am – 5:00pm). Ticketmaster, (800) 982-ARTS (days, evenings, and weekends).|
|IN-PERSON:||Portland Opera Box Office, 211 SE Caruthers St. (just south of OMSI, off Water Ave.) Mon – Fri, 9:00am – 5:00pm. Ticketmaster outlets.|
|GROUPS:||Groups of 8+ can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-295-3509 for pricing and availability.|
|6:00 RUSH:||Students/Military $10 per ticket, Seniors $20 per ticket, 1 hour prior to show only, all available unsold seats. 1 ticket per person, valid ID required|
For other information about tickets or to learn more about Falstaff click here.