Soprano Nicole HaslettMezzo soprano Melissa FajardoTenor Ian José Ramirez Alexander Elliott


(Portland, Ore) — Portland Opera is thrilled to welcome four new singers to the Portland Opera Resident Artist Program for the 2013/14 Season, now in its ninth year. Soprano NICOLE HASLETT, mezzo soprano MELISSA FAJARDO, tenor IAN JOSÉ RAMIREZ, and baritone ALEXANDER ELLIOTT will make their debuts at Portland Opera’s season opener, the Big Night Concert conducted by Portland Opera Music Director George Manahan,this September 21, 2013 at 7:30pm at Keller Auditorium.

Established in 2005, the Portland Opera Resident Artist Program serves as a bridge from the conservatory world to the professional stage. These young artists are selected from an international pool of more than four hundred applicants to spend nine months in Portland, performing with Portland Opera and studying with leading professionals in the field.

“The Portland Opera Resident Artist Program has established itself as a catalyst in the development of singers’ careers and is an integral part of our company,” said General Director Christopher Mattaliano. “These singers make valuable contributions to the Portland arts community, performing at our free library previews, giving free recitals, and singing leading roles in our annual opera at the Newmark Theatre.” Past Resident Artists have also performed with such area arts groups as the Oregon Symphony, BodyVox, the Resonance Ensemble, Opera Theater Oregon, and Classical Revolution PDX. After their residencies, former Resident Artists have gone on to build international careers, performing at Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, the Tanglewood Music Festival, among many others, and regularly returning to Portland Opera to sing roles on the mainstage. Last season former Resident Artist soprano Jennifer Forni made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Wagner’s Parsifal. This summer, former Resident Artist Matthew Grills made his San Francisco Opera debut as Nathanaël in The Tales of Hoffmann, while former Resident Artist baritone André Chiang performed in Glimmerglass Opera’s production of Camelot alongside former Resident Artist Sharin Apostolou.

In addition to performing and covering major roles for opera performances at Keller Auditorium and engaging in many studying, coaching, and professional development activities, these artists will sing leading roles in Portland Opera’s production of American composer Dominick Argento’s rarely performed chamber opera Postcard From Morocco, opening March 21, 2014 at the Newmark Theatre. These annual performances starring the Resident Artists have been called “a highlight of Portland Opera’s season” by Oregon Music News. “What began as a showcase for our Resident Artists has become a defining, central element of our company mission,” said Christopher Mattaliano, “giving us an opportunity to explore works ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century, in repertoire, in a setting, and in productions that allow them to truly sparkle.” Previous productions include many Portland Opera premieres such as Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (2005), Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (2006), Britten’s Albert Herring (2008), Cavalli’s La Calisto (2009), a triple bill of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti with Monteverdi’s one-act operas Il ballo delle ingrate and Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (2010), a double-bill of one act operas by Maurice Ravel, L’Heure espagnole and L’Enfant et les sortilèges (2011), and Handel’s Rinaldo (2013). The 2011/12 Season Resident Artists also starred in Portland Opera's West Coast premiere of Philip Glass's Galileo Galilei (2012), which was recorded and will be the company's second commercial release, coming this fall under the Orange Mountain Music label.

Each Resident Artist will also give a free solo recital at Portland Art Museum’s intimate 376-seat Whitsell Auditorium as a part of a series that Oregon Arts Watch called “cause for optimism about classical music’s future.” Each Resident Artist curates this evening of music themselves with assistance from the newly appointed Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master Nicholas Fox, who also accompanies each performance. “This Recital Series is a very important component of the program, both for the singers and for our audience,” said Director of Artistic Operations Clare Burovac. “The combination of solo voice and piano presents a distinct set of challenges to the performers and allows our audience to get to know these singers in a way that is uniquely personal and also quite different from their presentations on the Keller and Newmark stages.”

THE 2013/14 PORTLAND OPERA RESIDENT ARTISTS                                                                 


Hailed by Opera News as “one of the most enchanting lyric sopranos I have heard in a while,” soprano NICOLE HASLETT arrives in Portland after spending the summer with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, where she was covering the role of Barče and singing Second Echo in Czech composerBedřichSmetana’s The Kiss. A native of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, she graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with a master’s in Vocal Performance in May 2012 and spent six weeks in Beijing studying Mandarin opera with Chinese bass Hao Jiang Tian as part of the I SING BEIJING program. Ms. Haslett was most recently featured as Nanetta in Verdi’s Falstaff in New York City, presented by The Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance®program. Other roles include Florestine in John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles and Eva in Haydn’s oratorio Die Schöpfung. “I was drawn to Portland Opera’s program because it is designed for one singer in each major voice type, which allows for a remarkably individualized experience,” said Ms. Haslett. This season she will sing Lady with a Hand Mirror in the Portland Opera production of Dominick Argento’s Postcard From Morocco and will take on the role of Edith in the Company’s Pirates of Penzance. She will also cover her “dream role,” Luciain Lucia di Lammermoor. Ms. Haslett will kick off Portland Opera’s Resident Artist Recital Series on October 1, 2013.


Also spending the summer in St. Louis is mezzo soprano MELISSA FAJARDO, who was covering the role of Kathy Hagen in Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer’s new opera, Champion. This summer she also performed her first musical theater role, Bloody Mary in Opera North’s South Pacific. Ms. Fajardo, who is originally from East Hanover, New Jersey, received her master’s degree in May 2013 from the Eastman School of Music, where she performed the title role in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and sang in a staged performance of Libby Larsen’s song cycle Beloved, Thou Hast Brought Me Many Flowers. She has also performed with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and the Janiec Opera Company. This season at Portland Opera, Melissa will sing the Page in Salome, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Lady with a Hat Box in Postcard from Morocco, and Kate in The Pirates of Penzance. Ms. Fajardo is excited to be joining the program and furthering her career in opera, a love that first blossomed when she was a junior in high school: “I discovered YouTube and was hooked when I heard Cecilia Bartoli,” she said. Ms. Fajardo presents her solo recital on February 4, 2014.


A native of The Woodlands, Texas, tenor IAN JOSÉ RAMIREZ spent the summer in Marlboro, Vermont studying and performing vocal chamber music with Sir Thomas Allen at the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival. A self-professed lover of 20th and 21st century music, Mr. Ramirez has performed works by Samuel Barber, Benjamin Britten, Jake Heggie, and John Musto, along with more traditional operatic and concert repertoire. He received both his bachelor’s in music, summa cum laude, and his master’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied in the same studio as former Resident Artists Caitlin Mathes and José Rubio. Mr. Ramirez has performed with Dayton Opera, Indianapolis Opera, and as a Studio Artist with both Opera Saratoga and Central City Opera. “I’m passionate about communicating this art form to new audiences, and it’s fantastic to be able to do it as my life’s work,” said Mr. Ramirez. This season he will sing the Second Jew in Portland Opera’s Salome, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Man with Old Luggage in Postcard From Morocco, and will be covering the role of Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance. Mr. Ramirez’s solo recital is scheduled for April 8, 2014.


Originally from Florence, South Carolina, baritone ALEXANDER ELLIOTT spent the summer performing the role of Frank in Ned Rorem’s Our Town and covering the role of Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia as an apprentice artist with Central City Opera. Mr. Elliott has also appeared as an apprentice with Des Moines Opera, performing as Périchaud in La rondine and the Captain in Eugene Onegin among others. Mr. Elliott has also performed with the Pensacola Symphony, Florence Symphony, and Tallahassee Symphony. Last season, as a Studio Artist with Tulsa Opera, Mr. Elliott performed the Corporal in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment, and the Postman in Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella. Mr. Elliott is a graduate of Florida State University. “I was drawn to this program because Portland Opera has a reputation for truly taking special care of their singers and because the residency is completely centered around the long-term development of the artist,” said Mr. Elliott. This season at Portland Opera he will sing Man with a Shoe Sample Kit in Postcard From Morocco and Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance. He will also cover the role of Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor. Mr. Elliott’s solo recital is slated for November 5, 2013.




Each season, Portland Opera presents four free recitals of vocal chamber music performed by the Portland Opera Resident Artists. These evenings highlight an enormous range in repertoire, which in past seasons has included Renaissance lute songs, German lieder, Kurt Weill’s cabaret songs, and 20th century French mélodies.

All recitals are performed at Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium and begin at 7:00pm. For more information, and to reserve tickets,please visit portlandopera.org/recitals.

October 1        Nicole Haslett
November 5     Alexander Elliott
February 4       Melissa Fajardo
April 8              Ian José Ramirez

Recommended donation to support the Portland Opera Resident Artist Program: $20
Donations can be made at Whitsell Auditorium on the night of the recital or at portlandopera.org/donate.


March 21, 23m, 27, 29, 2014
Newmark Theatre
Company debut

This year’s chamber opera in the intimate Newmark Theatre highlights the 2013/14 Resident Artists. Portland Opera’s chamber production of American composer Dominick Argento’s Postcard From Morocco will be its first partnership with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Composed in 1971, Postcard From Morocco takes a whimsical look at life’s journey and has been called “a treasure of contemporary American opera” by Opera News. The libretto is based on A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, and the opera—with a loosely defined plot that calls to mind the plays of Samuel Beckett and Luigi Pirandello—explores the imaginations and psyches of seven strangers all waiting for a train.

Sung in English with projections above the stage.



Lady with a Hand Mirror Nicole Haslett*
Lady with a Cake BoxCaitlin Mathes**
Lady with a Hat BoxMelissa Fajardo*
Mr. OwenRyan MacPherson
Man with Old LuggageIan José Ramirez*
Man with a Shoe Sample KitAlexander Elliott*
Man with a Cornet CaseDeac Guidi
Conductor   William Vendice
Stage DirectorKevin Newbury
Scenic DesignerCurt Enderle
Costume DesignerSue Bonde
Lighting DesignerConnie Yun
* Portland Opera Resident Artist
** Former Portland Opera Resident Artist



Enjoy a 50-minute preview of Portland Opera’s 2013/14 operas, performed by the Resident Artists or special guests from each production.

All previews are free and begin at 2:00pm.


Performed at Multnomah County Central Library in the Collins Gallery.

October 27      Salome
January 26      Lucia di Lammermoor
March 16         Postcard from Morocco
May 4              The Pirates of Penzance



Performed at Beaverton City Main Library.

January 28      Lucia di Lammermoor

May 6              The Pirates of Penzance


The Portland Opera Resident Artist Program is made possible through the generous support of George and Lee Anne Carter, the Portland Opera Guild, Gwen Burns, The Eleanor Lieber Awards Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Martha Fletcher McCourt, two generous friends of Portland Opera, and Remy Wines. Resident Artist wardrobe is provided by Brooks Brothers and the Sophie Chang Collection.