Portland Opera Presents ORPHÉE

CONTACT: Julia Sheridan, 503-295-3508
download pdf




November 6, 8m, 12, 14, 2009 | Keller Auditorium

Special events surrounding the opera include
a visit to Portland by Philip Glass.


OrpheePortland, Ore.— The Portland Opera / West Coast premiere of American composer Philip Glass’ 1993 opera Orphée is a production The New York Times called “stunning.” Based on French film maker Jean Cocteau’s fascinating 1949 retelling of the Orpheus myth, it draws its libretto almost intact from the screenplay.  The first opera of Philip Glass' Cocteau Trilogy, Orphée is a work of remarkable power that celebrates the potency of love and loyalty.  Although bleakly comic at times, Orphée ultimately delivers a positive and life affirming experience.  Orphée adds balance to a season of Love & Marriage, proving that it’s not always easy, but it is enduring.

One of the most influential composers alive today, Glass has consistently made “art” music appealing and available to the general public.  His film scores for Kundun, The Hours and Notes on a Scandal were all nominated for Academy Awards.  The music in Orphée pays homage to Gluck and Handel, but remains distinctly individual.  The delicacy and simplicity of the music highlight the powerful range of emotions that the characters—and vicariously, the audience—experience in the course of this “must see” opera.

“It’s a beautiful, moving and compelling story,” says Portland Opera General Director Christopher Mattaliano, “and a testimony to love and fidelity in a relationship.  It’s a spirited, expressive and engaging opera from one of America’s most prominent composers.”

Portland Opera has collaborated with NW Film Center to present three separate events surrounding and enhancing Orphée.  The Film Center will show Cocteau’s film Orpheus in a double-bill with his Beauty and the Beast and the film Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts.  Glass himself will be in Portland the week prior to opening to make a special presentation. Creativity and Collaboration: An Evening with Philip Glass will be co-presented by the Film Center, PICA (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art) and Portland Opera. Dates and times for all events can be found in the calendar section of this release.

Orphée, a famous and wealthy poet, is facing a creative crisis and the backlash of critics. He is distracted by a mysterious and alluring Princess (Death) and her chauffeur, Heurtebise. After his wife Eurydice is killed, Orphée is taken to the Underworld. The couple is released on the condition that Orphée not ever look at Eurydice again—they fail, but The Princess of Death sacrifices herself to send the two back to the world of the living.

The West Coast premiere of Orphée boasts several of the same cast from the Glimmerglass Opera production The New York Times proclaimed a “surprise hit. . .a rich, complex and challenging experience.”  The Times declared baritone PHILIP CUTLIP as Orphée an “appealing baritone. . .a tormented and volatile Orphée”; soprano LISA SAFFER as The Princess “mesmerizing”; SAM HELFRICH’s direction “haunting”; and the performance “vibrantly conducted” by ANNE MANSON.  All four are making their Portland Opera debuts.  Returning to Portland Opera are tenor RYAN MACPHERSON (Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, 2009) who sings Heurtebise and—last seen at Portland Opera as the delightful Rosina in The Barber of Seville, 2004—soprano GEORGIA JARMAN returns to sing Eurydice.  Also joining the cast is Portland author and tenor, MARC ACITO (Emperor in Turandot, 2003) and three current and one former Studio Artists.  Baritone JOSÉ RUBIO returns fresh from his success as Schaunard in La Bohème, mezzo soprano DARYL FREEDMAN makes her Portland Opera debut as Aglaonice; tenor STEVEN BRENNFLECK (Parpignol in La Bohème, 2009) sings Cégeste and covers Heurtebise and Studio Artist alumnus, bass JEFFREY BERUAN (King in Aida, 2008, Superintendent Budd in Albert Herring, 2008, Zuniga in Carmen 2007, Second Armored Man in The Magic Flute, 2007, Tempo, Neptune, Antinoo in The Return of Ulysses, 2006) returns to sing Poet. The visually stunning production features eye-popping sets by Andrew Lieberman and costumes by Kaye Voyce.


Orphée Philip Cutlip*
The Princess
Lisa Saffer*
EurydiceGeorgia Jarman
HeurtebiseRyan MacPherson
GlazierMarc Acito
Daryl Freedman*†
Poet Jeffrey Beruan
Policeman José Rubio †
CégesteSteven Brennfleck †
Conductor Anne Manson*
Stage Director Sam Helfrich

And the Portland Opera Orchestra
* Portland Opera debut
† Portland Opera Studio Artist

For musical excerpts, synopsis and detailed cast bios visit www.portlandopera.org.


Music:Philip Glass
Libretto:Libretto by the composer, based on the film by Jean Cocteau.
Lyrics:Sung in French with English translations projected above the stage.
World Premiere:May 14, 1993, Cambridge, MA, American Repertory Theater
Portland Opera Premiere:November 6, 2009
Performances:November 6, 8m, 12, 14, 2009

All performances begin at 7:30pm, with the exception of the 2:00pm matinee on November 8.

(Calendar Editors Kindly Note)

Portland Opera and NW Film Center present Jean Cocteau's Orpheus

Prior to each Portland Opera production, NW Film Center will present a film that complements the upcoming opera.  For Orphée, that will be Cocteau's Orpheus, the 1949 film that inspired Glass’ Orphée.  Presented as an optional double feature with Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast for an additional $2.

10/17/09  8:45pm |  Whitsell Auditorium | 1219 SW Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205.  
$8 GA, $7 PAM members, students, seniors, $5 Friends of Film Center
Tickets can be purchased online at www.nwfilm.org.


Destination Opera: From Music to Psyche 

In a unique partnership with the Oregon Psychoanalytic Center, Destination Opera explores the hidden subtexts of each opera. Psychiatrist Nancy Winters joins Alexis Hamilton, Manager of Education and Outreach, to debate and discuss Orphée.
10/20/09  7:00pm | Sherman Clay Pianos | 131 NW 13th Ave., Portland, OR 97209.  Free! 


        10/29/2009   Orphée preview on “Northwest Previews,” All Classical 89.9 fm at 6pm.
        11/1/2009    Orphée preview, Multnomah County Central Library, 2pm, Free!

Portland Opera and NW Film Center present Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts

One of the most influential composers of our time, Philip Glass is widely credited with bringing art music to the masses. This film explores his creative process in opera, concert, and film (Errol Morris, Woody Allen, and Martin Scorsese are among the interviewees), and offers a uniquely intimate view of an inquisitive and deeply spiritual man.

11/01/09  7:00pm |  Whitsell Auditorium | 1219 SW Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205.  
$8 GA, $7 PAM members, students, seniors, $5 Friends of Film Center
Tickets can be purchased online at www.nwfilm.org.


Creativity and Collaboration: An Evening with Philip Glass

Through his operas, symphonies, film scores, experimental theater, compositions for his own ensembles, and wide-ranging collaborations with artists—from Robert Wilson, Sol Lewitt, Twyla Tharp, and Allen Ginsberg to Yo-Yo Ma, David Bowie, and Godfrey Reggio—Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of our time. The evening will feature film clips, live piano selections, and lively discussion. Glass’ unique sense of curiosity, exploration, and risk-taking promises to expand our perspective on his work, being an artist, and on the nature of creative inquiry.
Co-presented by Portland Opera, PICA and the NW Film Center.

11/03/09  7:00pm | Kridell Ballroom | 1219 SW Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205.  
$25 general, $20 members
Tickets can be purchased online at www.nwfilm.org or by calling the Portland Opera Box Office at 503-241-1802.

Opera Insights

These free and informative sessions, led by musicologist 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.

Back Talk

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. 
Free. Orchestra Level.



Friday, Thursday, Saturday performances at 7:30pm, Sunday Matinee at 2:00pm
Keller Auditorium, SW 3rd & Clay

Regular tickets start at $20 and 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).

ONLINE:        www.ticketmaster.com 

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. 
                      Portland Center for the Performing Arts (SW Broadway & Main).

GROUPS:       10 or more save up to 20% by calling Group Sales at 503-295-3509.

6:30 RUSH:    Students/Senior/Military, $10 per ticket, 1 hour prior to show only, all available unsold
                       seats. 1 ticket per person, valid ID required.


For other information about tickets and much more about the production of
Orphée, please visit our website at: www.portlandopera.org.


# # #