Portland Opera presents Pagliacci & Carmina Burana

CONTACT: Julia Sheridan, 503-295-3508
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Pagliacci-Carmina Burana title art

September 24, 26m, 30, October 2, 2010 | Keller Auditorium

Il teatro e la vita non son la stessa cosa
(the theater and real life are not the same thing)

            —line from Pagliacci


Pagliacci-Carmina Burana art(Portland, Ore) - Portland Opera’s 46th season—with its intriguing theme of Fantasy or Reality?—opens Friday, September 24 with Christopher Mattaliano’s inspired and popular pairing of Pagliacci/Carmina Burana.  For its 1997 premiere, Opera News magazine praised Mattaliano’s unorthodox combination as “an evening rich in theatrical and musical excitement,” and The Oregonian proclaimed this engaging double-bill “a hit.”  Thrilling audiences with its intensity, it was an immediate success and became one of Portland’s all-time favorites, with a subsequent revival in 2000.  Since its debut, the Portland Opera-created production has been presented in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Omaha, Nebraska; Salt Lake City, Utah; Atlanta, Georgia; and twice in Costa Mesa, California. The four-performance run continues with additional performances on September 26m, 30 & October 2.

“These pieces are two of the most visceral works in theater,” says Portland Opera General Director—and creator and stage director for this production.  “Both are masterpieces into which their composers poured their life blood.  It’s a thrill that this production has been so popular around the country and here in Portland where it was created.  All of these operas this season deal with what is real and what is not, making the combination of Pagliacci/Carmina Burana a fitting beginning for our season of Fantasy or Reality?”

Pagliacci is full of irony, along with some of the most powerful music ever written. Composed by Ruggiero Leoncavallo in 1890, Pagliacci began to cement the new, more realistic verismo opera into the artform’s canon.  Based on the lives of real people, verismo opera was calculated to stir an emotional reaction from audiences.  It is high-testosterone Italian opera at its most powerful!

In Pagliacci, Canio leads a troupe of traveling actors who have just arrived in town.  His jealous behavior has destroyed his relationship with his much younger and beautiful wife, Nedda.  The unraveling of their lives, played out on and off their traveling stage, propels the action forward to its famously tragic ending.

Almost everyone is familiar with Carmina Burana, a tour de force for the renowned Portland Opera Chorus.  “O Fortuna” is one of the most powerful and most often used pieces of music in all of film and advertising.  First introduced into the mainstream with the film “Excalibur,” it has been used by an incredible number of singers and organizations, from Ozzy Osbourne to Capital One credit card commercials, as well as the television hit “Glee.”  Based upon a collection of poetry by 13th century Bavarian monks and bards, the work never fails to move audiences with its commanding rhythms and elegant, beautiful melodies.  The production also features the expressive dance of BodyVox, one of Portland’s most engaging and entertaining dance companies.

Making her Portland Opera debut is soprano EMILY PULLEY singing Nedda/Soprano Soloist.  New to the Company, but not to the role, she appeared in both Minnesota and Atlanta Opera’s presentations of this production.  Pulley has distinguished herself as a regular performer at the Metropolitan Opera where she has performed as Nedda.  Of her 2010 performance in Boston Lyric Opera’s The Turn of the Screw, Opera News magazine said, “Emily Pulley was outstanding as the embattled Governess. The role fits Pulley’s voice like a glove.”  The New York Times describes her portrayal of the title role of Floyd’s Susannah as being, “sung with unfailing warmth, radiance and spirit,” and elsewhere has lauded her singing as “faultless and exquisite.”

The cast also boasts several singers familiar to Portland audiences.

Joining her is tenor RICHARD CRAWLEY (title role in Faust 2006) singing the role of Canio.  Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times praised his “healthy, pleasing and robust voice,” and of his Portland Opera debut as Faust, The Oregonian said “... Crawley delivered a stylish Faust with both declamatory power and lyrical sweetness.” 

Baritone MARK RUCKER (title role in Rigoletto 2009 and 1998, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor 1993, High Priest in Samson et Dalila 1991, Amonasro in Aida 1989) returns after last season’s stunning performance in Rigoletto to sing Tonio.  In previous outings in this role, he received considerable acclaim.  Opera News said “Mark Rucker delivered Tonio with … a masterful blend of vocal power and delicacy of expression,” and the Los Angeles Times declared him “an intense, detailed and sympathetic Tonio.” 

Baritone MARIAN POP (Figaro in The Barber of Seville 2004 and Malatesta in Don Pasquale 1998) sings Silvio/Baritone Soloist.  Of his performance here as Figaro, The Oregonian said he was “a fabulous Figaro, a gifted physical comedian with a rich, agile voice and high notes that could nearly part your hair.” 

CHRISTOPHER MATTALIANO, who originated this popular double bill in 1997 and reprised it in 2000, directs the action once again and John DeMain (A View from the Bridge 2003, Porgy & Bess 1995) conducts.  Pagliacci/Carmina Burana also features the return of the acclaimed dance troupe, BODYVOX, with choreography by its founders Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland. 

The set, designed by Allen Moyer, was created by The Portland Opera Scenic Studio in 1997 for the premiere of this production.  Costumes are designed by James Scott with lighting designed by Paul Palazzo.


Nedda/Soprano Soloist
Emily Pulley*
Richard Crawley
Mark Rucker
Silvio/Baritone Soloist
Marion Pop
Beppe/Tenor Soloist
Steven Brennfleck†

Conductor John DeMain
Stage Director
Christopher mattaliano
Set Designer
Allen Moyer
Costume DesignerJames Scott
Lighting Designer
Paul Palazzo
Jamey Hampton
Ashley Roland

With the Portland Opera Chorus and Orchestra

* Portland Opera debut
† Portland Opera Studio Artist

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


Music:Ruggiero Leoncavallo
Libretto:Ruggiero Leoncavallo
Lyrics:Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.
World Premiere:Milan, Teatro Dal Verme, May 21, 1892
Portland Opera Premiere: 
October 8, 1970



Music:Carl Orff
Libretto:Carl Orff
Lyrics:Sung in Latin and German with English translations projected above the stage.
World Premiere:Frankfurt, June 8, 1937
Portland Opera Premiere: 
March 29, 1997


PERFORMANCES:           September 24, 26m, 30, October 2, 2010
All performances begin at 7:30pm, with the exception of the 2:00pm matinee on September 26.

(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 this Pagliacci/Carmina Burana production.


Open Chorus Rehearsal at Director Park

As Portland Opera prepares to celebrate the opening of its 2010/11 Season with the powerful pairing of Pagliacci and Carmina Burana, it invites the public to an open chorus rehearsal in Director Park featuring the acclaimed Portland Opera Chorus.  Associate Music Director & Chorus Master Robert Ainsley will lead the 70-strong group through the open rehearsal, giving attendees the chance not only to hear the glorious music but also to see the kind of detailed work that goes into professional opera chorus preparation.

8/29/10      3-5pm | Director Park (between SW Taylor & Yamhill and 9th & Park)  | Free


Reel Opera Film Series

In a new partnership with the Northwest Film Center, film buffs and opera aficionados alike will enjoy a film before each opera production.  Not designed to share filmed versions of actual operas, this series will present a film that is related to the production in some interesting way.

9/20/10    7pm | Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum | $9


LA STRADA, directed by Federico Fellini   

When Christopher Mattaliano created this production of Pagliacci/Carmina Burana, Fellini’s famous film “La Strada” was the design touchstone, making the film a very interesting one to watch in advance of the opera production.  Fellini’s film tells the tale of the simple Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), sold into virtual slavery to itinerant strong man Zampano (Anthony Quinn). Although he shows her no kindness and uses her without affection, she remains devotedly at his side as rivalry and murder rear their ugly heads after the pair joins up with a small circus. One of the undisputed classics of post-war Italian cinema, this film of great joy, bleak despair, and delicate heartbreak reveals a profound humanity in the midst of the absurd—a theme that Fellini would continue to explore throughout his career. (115 min.)  General Director Christopher Mattaliano will introduce the film and discuss Pagliacci/Carmina Burana.

Destination Opera: From Music to Psyche 

A unique partnership with the Oregon Psychoanalytic Center, Destination Opera explores the hidden subtexts of each opera this season. Duane Dale, MD, joins Alexis Hamilton, Manager of Education and Outreach, to debate and discuss Pagliacci and Carmina Burana.
10/01/10  7:00pm | Sherman Clay Pianos | 131 NW 13th Ave., Portland, OR 97209.  Free


Pagliacci/Carmina Burana Previews

8/28/10  Christopher Mattaliano hosts a one hour radio preview of Pagliacci/Carmina Burana, “Saturday Matinee.”  All Classical 89.9 fm at 1pm
9/10/10Portland Opera chorus appears on Live Wire! Radio.  Show taped 7:30pm, Alberta Rose Theater, for ticket info, www.livewireradio.org.  Show airs 7pm, September 18 on OPB 91.5fm
9/16/10Pagliacci/Carmina Burana preview on “Northwest Previews,” All Classical 89.9 fm at 6pm.
9/18/10Pagliacci/Carmina Burana preview, Salem Public Library (585 Liberty St. SE) in Loucks Auditorium, 2:30pm Free!
9/19/10Pagliacci/Carmina Burana preview, Multnomah County Central Library, 2pm, Free!

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 $20.00 (while they last) 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/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 and or the production of
Pagliacci/Carmina Burana, please visit our website at: www.portlandopera.org.


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