Portland Opera is staging the Pacific Northwest premiere of The Rake’s Progress, featuring the legendary scenery & costumes designed by visual artist David Hockney, on June 11, 12 & 14 (matinee) at Keller Auditorium.
Igor Stravinsky surprised and delighted the musical world in 1951 with his only full-length opera, which features a plot suggested by William Hogarth’s eight-painting chronicle, “A Rake’s Progress.” Stravinsky’s musical inspiration comes from Mozart, with his opera blending raucous comedy with life-and-death drama á la Don Giovanni. Arias, duets and ensembles are accompanied by a nimble neo-classical orchestra displaying Stravinsky’s celebrated wit and spiky humor.
The Portland Opera stage production is complemented by “David Hockney: A Rake’s Progress” at the Portland Art Museum. This special exhibit, which runs through August 2, features more than 50 of Hockney’s etchings, drawings, models, and watercolors that depict his 1975 scenic and costume designs from initial idea to final concept, offering a rare glimpse into working methods of one of England’s finest living artists.
The Story of the Opera: Tom Rakewell renounces a life in the country with his fiancée, Anne Trulove, in favor of a Faustian bargain with Nick Shadow. Shadow leads the young man first to riches and then to ruin in the dissolute world of London’s pleasure parlors. Tom saves his soul in a game of chance, but is condemned to the mad house. Anne arrives, too late to rescue him, and sings him to sleep before leaving him to his fate. The principal characters sing the moral of the tale: “For idle hearts and hands and minds, the Devil finds a work to do.”
Tenor Jonathan Boyd returns to Portland Opera as Tom Rakewell. He is joined by baritone David Pittsinger as Nick Shadow, soprano Maureen McKay as Anne Trulove, Portland’s own Angela Niederloh as Baba the Turk and Arthur Woodley as Father Trulove. Conductor Ari Pelto and director Roy Rallo also return to Portland Opera with this production.
THE RAKE’S PROGRESS
Music by Igor Stravinsky
Libretto by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman
Performed in English with projected texts
This production was created for the Glyndebourne Opera Festival in 1975
World Premiere: Teatro la Fenice, Venice, September 11, 1951
American Premiere: Metropolitan Opera, New York, February 14, 1953
Portland Opera Premiere: June 11, 2015
This season Mr. Boyd makes his debut with Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse as Peter Quint and Prologue in The Turn of the Screw, followed by Frank Shallard in the Grammy Award-winning Elmer Gantry at the Florentine Opera, and Tamino in The Magic Flute for Opera Colorado. He returns to Portland Opera for Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress, a role he repeats this summer in Santiago, Chile. Last season, he made debuts with the Bogota Philharmonic in Britten’s War Requiem, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino as The Prince in Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, with Opera de Metz as Anatol in Barber’s Vanessa and with the Pittsburgh Opera in the role of Heurtebise in Philip Glass’s Orphee. Recent debuts and engagements include the title role in Werther for Scottish National Opera, the title role in Faust for Austin Lyric Opera, his San Diego Opera debut in Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick, his Atlanta Opera debut as Edgardo in Lucia Di Lammermoor, the title role of Candide at the Portland Opera, and Don Ottavio, one of his signature roles, for the Dallas Opera, Portland Opera, and Arizona Opera, among many others.
Mr. Pittsinger opens the 2014-2015 season as the Captain in Daniel Catán’s Florencia in the Amazon at Washington National Opera and at the Los Angeles Opera later in the season. He also returns to the Metropolitan Opera in The Tales of Hoffmann as Luther and Crespel, and to Portland Opera for Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress. Recent seasons include his King Arthur in Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot at the Glimmerglass Festival, Jokanaan in Salome at Portland Opera, the Speaker in The Magic Flute at Washington National Opera, the role of Roy Disney in the world premiere of Philip Glass’s The Perfect American at Teatro Real, which was released on DVD by Opus Arte, and the Marquis de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites at the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Pittsinger’s recent orchestral engagements include a concert staging of Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony, both in St. Louis and at Carnegie Hall; Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and Haydn’s Mass in the Time of War with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; and the world premiere of Scott Eyerly’s Arlington Sons—composed for Mr. Pittsinger and his son Richard, a boy soprano—with the Pittsburgh Symphony. His Helen Hayes Award-nominated performance as Emile de Becque in South Pacific has been seen at the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center Theaters, as well as on an extended national tour.
The Washington Post recently hailed Maureen McKay as the “undisputed star of the show” for her Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro and continued by saying, “Armed with a silvery, precisely aimed voice, natural stage presence and the kind of beautifully detailed acting you don’t see often enough on the operatic stage, McKay turned in a smart, sexy and thoroughly charming performance.” In the current season, she sings Pamina in The Magic Flute with the Komische Oper Berlin, Opera Colorado and the Edinburgh International Festival, along with her first Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress at Portland Opera and a return to the Metropolitan Opera for The Marriage of Figaro. Future engagements include debuts with Seattle Opera, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Opera, and a return to Portland Opera in 2016 as Pamina. Last season’s performances include Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with the Bavarian State Opera, the soprano soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 for the Cleveland Orchestra, and Pamina for the Washington National Opera
Baba the Turk
Angela Niederloh is afrequent Portland Opera guest artist, with roles including Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Angelina in Rossini’s Cinderella, Guinone in La Calisto, Melibea in The Voyage to Reims and Third Lady in The Magic Flute. She performed in Falstaff, The Magic Flute, and Jenufaas a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. Her additional credits include Così fan tutte for the San FranciscoOpera Center and Amahl and the NightVisitors for Opera Omaha. Angela has performed inconcert with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Boston Baroque Orchestra, New York Festival of Song, Aspen Festival Orchestra, and Portland Baroque Orchestra, and is a faculty member at Portland State University and Pacific University.
Last season Arthur Woodley made his New Orleans Opera debut as Noah in Britten’s Noah’s Flood and returned to the Seattle Opera as Crespel in The Tales of Hoffmann. He recently won critical acclaim for his portrayal of boxer Emile Griffith in the world premiere of Terrance Blanchard’s Champion at Opera Theater of Saint Louis. This season Mr. Woodley made his debut at Florida Grand Opera as Don Alfonso in Cosí fan Tutte. Later this year he returns to Seattle Opera as Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro and to San Francisco for Champion. Mr. Woodley has appeared with the San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Dallas Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera, in roles including Varlaam, Dr. Bartolo, the Four Villains, Nick Shadow, and Leporello. Mr. Woodley has sung Porgy in Porgy and Bess with the San Francisco Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, and on tour in Italy. In staged performances, he has appeared with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Colorado, the Bregenz Festival, the Savolinna International Festival in Finland, and the Catfish Row Opera Company of Charleston, South Carolina, in a gala celebration of the opera’s50th anniversary.
Ian José Ramirez
Tenor Ian José Ramirez joined the Portland Opera Resident Artists Program in 2013/14, singing the Second Jew in Salome, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Man with Old Luggage in Postcard From Morocco. This year he performs Le Remendado in Carmen, Pete in Show Boat, and the auctioneer Sellem in The Rake’s Progress, in addition to Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus. Ian’s additional credits include Don Ramiro in Rossini’s Cinderella, Basilio and Don Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro, and Pluto in Orpheus in the Underworld.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Ari Pelto Conductor
John Cox Original Production
Roy Rallo Director & Choreographer
David Hockney Scenic Designer
David Hockney Costume Designer
Nick Cavallaro * Lighting Designer
Nicholas Fox Chorus Master
BEFORE AND AFTER EACH PERFORMANCE
Bob’s Opera Overture
These free and informative sessions, led by Resident Historian and Lecturer Bob Kingston, focus on the music and history behind the evening’s opera, to make each performance even more satisfying.
1 hour prior to each performance | First Balcony level | Free
Immediately after each performance, audiences are invited to join General Director Christopher Mattaliano and guests that will include fresh-from-their-dressing-room performers, directors, and conductors for a 20 to 30-minute Q&A.
Orchestra level | Free
“David Hockney: A Rake’s Progress”
In 1975, David Hockney collaborated with stage director John Cox to create a new production for Igor Stravinsky’s opera, the plot for which was based on William Hogarth’s The Rake’s Progress. Hockney drew inspiration from the 18th-century master’s engravings, with a result that is both playful and rigorous, a perfect blend of the aural and visual. This exhibition features etchings, drawings, models, and watercolors that depict the 1975 opera’s set design from initial idea to final concept.
Now through August 2 | Portland Art Museum | Regular museum admission required.
For more information, visit portlandartmuseum.org.
Art & Conversation
Hosted by Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Graphic Arts, Portland Art Museum
Thursday, May 21 at 10:15am | Portland Art Museum | Free public program for adults 55+
$5 After 5
Friday, May 29, 2015, starting at 5pm | Portland Art Museum
Opera in Depth
A detailed exploration of Stravinsky’s opera, led by Alexis Hamilton, Manager of Education & Outreach, and Bob Kingston, Portland Opera’s Resident Historian and Lecturer.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 7:30pm | Hampton Opera Center (211 SE Caruthers St., Portland)
$20 adult/$10 student | Call to order: 503-241-1802
Portland Opera’s Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master Nicholas Fox leads these 50-minute previews of The Rake’s Progress, with musical examples provided by the company’s Resident Artists.
Saturday, June 6 at 2pm | Portland Art Museum | Whitsell Auditorium | Free with museum admission
Sunday, June 7, 2015, 2pm | Multnomah County Central Library | Free
Midday Art Break
Gallery Conversation on “A Rake’s Progress” with Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Graphic Arts.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 12:30pm | Portland Art Museum | Free with museum admission
Opera on the Couch
Portland Art Museum
A psychological perspective on The Rake’s Progress, led by Dr. Ralph Beaumont.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 7:30pm | Portland Art Museum | Free
Funding for this production is provided by Schnitzer CARE Foundation, Greg & Mary Hinckley and M&T Bank.
Thurs. 6/11, Fri. 6/12 at 7:30pm | Sat. 6/14 at 2pm
Tickets, starting at $25.00, can be purchased:
BY PHONE: 503-241-1802 or toll-free 866-739-6737, (M-F, 9am-5pm)
Ticketmaster, (800) 982-ARTS (days, evenings, and weekends)
ONLINE: PortlandOpera.org or Ticketmaster.com
IN-PERSON: Portland Opera Box Office, 211 SE Caruthers St.
(just south of OMSI, off Water Ave., M-F, 9am-5pm)
All Ticketmaster outlets.
RUSH: Students/Military: $10 per ticket; Seniors: $20 per ticket, 2 hours prior to show only, all available unsold seats. 1 ticket per person, valid ID required.