The infamous barber of Seville has finally found himself a bride!
There’s just one little problem. Seems the Count has his eyes on her as well. And so Figaro vows that if the Count wants to “dance,” it will be he—Figaro—who plays the tune.
And what a tune it is!
Mozart takes us on a whirlwind ride—a madcap frenzy of disguises, mistaken identities and general mayhem—catapulting us to one of the most touching conclusions ever, a joyous finale that celebrates our amazing capacity for tenderness, trust and forgiveness.
Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.
Figaro, former barber of Seville, measures the room he will occupy after his marriage to Susanna. Both are in the service of Count Almaviva, and when Susanna warns her fiancé that the Count has given them this room near his own because he has designs on her, Figaro vows to outwit his master ("Se vuol ballare"). After they leave, Dr. Bartolo, the Countess’ onetime guardian and suitor, arrives with his housekeeper, Marcellina. Bartolo is eager for revenge on Figaro, whose machinations caused him to lose his ward to Almaviva. Knowing that Figaro once gave Marcellina his promise of marriage as collateral on a loan, Bartolo persuades her to foreclose ("La vendetta") and leaves. When Susanna returns, she trades insults with her would-be rival ("Via resti servita"), who storms out. The skirt-chasing page Cherubino steals in, begging Susanna's protection from the Count, who has caught him flirting with Barbarina, the gardener's daughter. After pouring out his amorous enthusiasm ("Non so più"), he hides as the Count enters to woo Susanna. Interrupted by the arrival of the music master, Don Basilio, the Count in turn hides, but he steps forward when Basilio hints that Cherubino has a crush on the Countess. Just as the Count discovers the hapless Cherubino, Figaro brings in a group of peasants to salute their lord for abolishing the droit du seigneur, an old custom giving the local landowner the first night with any bride among his retainers. Feigning good will, the Count drafts Cherubino into his regiment. Figaro teases the boy about his new military life ("Non più andrai").
In her boudoir, the Countess laments the waning of her husband's love ("Porgi, amor"). When Figaro and Susanna arrive with news of the Count's machinations, the three plot to chasten him. Cherubino, disguised as Susanna, will keep an assignation with the Count. When Figaro leaves, the page comes to serenade the Countess with a song of his own composition ("Voi che sapete"). While dressing the boy in girl's clothes, Susanna goes out for a ribbon, and the Count knocks, furious to find the door barred. The Countess locks Cherubino in a closet before admitting her husband. The jealous Count hears a noise; the Countess insists it's Susanna, but he doesn't believe her. Taking his wife with him, he goes to fetch tools to force the lock. Susanna, who has slipped in unnoticed during their confrontation, helps Cherubino out a window and takes his place in the closet, baffling both Count and Countess when they return. As the Count tries to make amends, the gardener, Antonio, appears, complaining that someone has stepped in his flower bed. Figaro, arriving to say the wedding ceremony is ready to begin, claims it was he who jumped from the window and fakes a twisted ankle. When the Count asks him about a paper found among the geraniums, Figaro, prompted by the women, correctly identifies it as Cherubino's commission. Bartolo and Basilio burst in with Marcellina to press her claims against Figaro. The Count gladly postpones the wedding, pledging to judge the case himself.
At the Countess’ prompting, Susanna promises the Count a rendezvous ("Crudel! perchè finora"), but his suspicions are aroused when he overhears her assuring Figaro that the case is won. Enraged, he vows revenge ("Vedrò, mentr'io sospiro"). Alone, the Countess hopes to revive her husband's love ("Dove sono"). Marcellina now demands that Figaro pay his debt or marry her, but a birthmark proves he is her long-lost son by Bartolo, and the parents call off their suit, confounding the Count ("Riconosci in questo amplesso"). The conspiracy continues: the Countess dictates a note from Susanna, inviting the Count to the garden ("Che soave zeffiretto"). Peasants, among them Cherubino, disguised as a girl, bring flowers to their lady. Figaro arrives, and, as the wedding ceremony at last takes place, Susanna slips the note, sealed with a pin, to the Count.
The pin is meant to accompany the Count's reply, but Barbarina, his messenger, has lost it in the dusky garden ("L'ho perduta, me meschina"). She explains her predicament to Figaro, who, unaware of the ladies' latest plot, thinks Susanna has betrayed him. He gives Barbarina another pin, planning to ambush his bride with the Count, then turns to his mother, Marcellina, for comfort. The crafty Basilio says it pays to play the fool. Figaro, left alone, curses women for their duplicity ("Aprite un po'"), then hides when Susanna appears, rhapsodizing on her love for Figaro without naming him ("Deh vieni"). Figaro is beside himself, assuming her serenade is meant for the Count. Susanna and the Countess secretly exchange dresses, and in the darkness both Cherubino and the Count woo the Countess, thinking her to be Susanna ("Pian, pianin le andrò più presso"). Figaro at last perceives the joke and gets even by wooing Susanna in her Countess disguise, provoking and then pacifying her. When the Count returns, he sees Figaro flirting with what appears to be the Countess. He calls the whole company to witness his judgment but is silenced when the real Countess appears and reveals the ruse. She grants the Count's plea for forgiveness ("Contessa, perdono"), and everyone celebrates.
THE ORIGINS OF MOZART’S THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO
“My subject enlarges itself, becomes methodized and defined, and the whole, though it be long, stands almost complete and finished in my mind, so that I can survey it, like a fine picture or a beautiful statue, at a glance.”
—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Of all Mozart’s operas, The Marriage of Figaro stands as one of the most beloved for modern audiences, but its road to production was fraught with peril and court intrigue.
After Mozart left the employ of the Archbishop of Salzburg, a foot planted squarely in his rump by the disgruntled Father’s valet, he traveled to Vienna and the court of the urbane and music-loving Emperor Josef II. Here, Mozart felt sure, his talent would be recognized and he would have little trouble supporting his young family. Unfortunately, he had not counted on the animosity of the firmly entrenched Italian musical establishment in the Emperor’s court. Chief among Mozart’s ready-made enemies was Court Conductor Antonio Salieri, who, despite his characterization in the movie Amadeus, was hardly Mozart’s murderer. Salieri was, however, a savvy, ambitious politician, eager to protect his position and influence from the upstart Mozart. By every means at his disposal, Salieri attempted to thwart Mozart’s operatic ambitions.
Although Mozart succeeded in having his opera The Abduction from the Seraglio produced to wild acclaim, the German language theater for which it was written had folded, and the Emperor’s tastes, no doubt influenced by Salieri and his Italian contingent, shifted back to Italian-style operas. Mozart was effectively shut out of the opera scene.
Meanwhile, Court Poet Lorenzo da Ponte had suffered a massive setback with the failure of his libretto for an opera by none other than Court Conductor Salieri. Da Ponte was blamed for the unfortunate reception of the opera and found himself at loose ends – until he remembered that Herr Mozart was a composer desperately in need of a librettist. Da Ponte offered his services to Mozart, who gratefully accepted them. Immediately, Mozart suggested a libretto drawn from Beaumarchais’ seditious 1784 play, Le Mariage de Figaro.
Of Beaumarchais and his play, Napoleon said, “If I had been a king, a man such as he would have been locked up … The Marriage of Figaro is already the Revolution in action.” Beaumarchais went toe to toe with Louis XVI to have his play produced, amid such controversy that Josef II banned a German translation from performance in Austria. Josef II was generally considered a progressive monarch, so his prohibition of Figaro is indicative of its contentious nature.
A twenty-first century audience may shrug their shoulders in bemusement over such a visceral reaction to a play that merely contains ideas about equality that we take for granted, but in pre-revolutionary France, Figaro was seditious at best and revolutionary at worst. Within this play, Beaumarchais challenges the privilege of the patriciate as a right of birth, calls out female inequality as an economic and societal ill, and lampoons politicians as lack-wits and thieves. Some of his concepts were so disturbing at the time that his actors refused to speak his lines. His language was peppered with the liberalities of the Enlightenment later adopted by the Third Estate, the rabble who caused the French Revolution – all carefully couched in “harmless” comedy. Whereas Enlightenment philosophers Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot were safely encapsulated in conveniently inaccessible texts, Beaumarchais’ play was available to the theater-going public and, therefore, threatened Louis XVI. Paradoxically, when Louis banned the play, he found himself at loggerheads with the very aristocracy he was protecting. Beaumarchais was a darling of the French Court, a spy for the French king, and a gunrunner for the American Revolution. His play Barbiere de Seville had been brilliantly received and the King was attempting to deny a showing of his latest marvel. After two years of machinations that would have made Figaro blush, Beaumarchais succeeded in mounting his play. Little did the nobility know that their thunderous applause for Beaumarchais’ merry comedy heralded the beginning of their demise. Figaro opened on April 27, 1784. Angry Parisians took the Bastille on July 14, 1789.
And this was the play Mozart wanted to set to music in 1785. To think such a choice an accident would be naive. Although Da Ponte masterfully excluded Beaumarchais’ most inflammatory rhetoric and relocated the action into a purely human realm, both he and Mozart were children of the Enlightenment, and it is undeniable that Figaro triumphs (with liberal female assistance) in trumping Count Almaviva. The first hurdle to production was the Emperor. Evidently, Mozart’s sublime music convinced His Highness to set aside his reservations as to content, because he ordered the piece into rehearsals. However, Mozart was not about to convince the Italians with his music, and Salieri and his followers immediately began a concerted effort to keep Figaro out of the opera house.
The first shot fired in this battle came in the form of two newly completed operas by Salieri and Righini. Since these operas were also finished, and since Salieri was the Court Conductor, did it not make sense that his opera be produced before Figaro? The Italians began to subtly manipulate situations until the company’s prima donnas were actively supporting Salieri’s opera. According to Michael O’Kelly, a staunch friend of Mozart’s and the tenor who created the roles of Basilio and Don Curzio, Mozart allies quickly polarized the theater until Josef II had to step in and issue a mandate for Figaro to be instantly put into rehearsal.
Undaunted by this setback, Rosenberg, the theater’s impresario and Salieri’s ally, next objected to the insertion of a ballet in the opera, a French convention forbidden by Josef II in his theater. Unfortunately, the “ballet” is integral to Figaro’s plot, setting up the last act. Da Ponte refused to remove it even when Rosenberg burned that section of the score. Not content that Rosenberg should have the last word, Da Ponte invited Josef to rehearsals. Presented with a mute Susanna and Count madly gesticulating on a silent stage, the Emperor inquired in all innocence what was meant. The poet was immediately summoned, and Da Ponte dutifully presented his manuscript containing the omitted music. His Majesty asked why the dances had not been included. Rosenberg was forced to point out that His Majesty had banned the ballet in his theater.
Da Ponte won his point and the ballet was reinstated, but Salieri had one last trick up his sleeve. On opening night the singers, allied with the Italians, purposely missed cues, sang either off-key or the wrong notes and “forgot” lines, effectively destroying the first act. Once again, Josef II came to the rescue, sending word backstage that the theater’s future depended on the success of Figaro.
Mozart and Da Ponte were victorious. Although Figaro had only nine performances in its first run, Mozart and Da Ponte went on to write Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte together. No longer were Mozart’s operatic ambitions hindered and the fruits of his labors continue to grace the stage to this day.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
"Neither a lofty degree of intelligence, nor imagination, nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”
—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is arguably the greatest musician the world has ever known. With his most influential contemporaries of the classical period, Haydn and Beethoven, he brought the classical style to its height, and only he wrote successfully and prodigiously in all of the musical genres known at his time.
Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria, on January 27, 1756. He began studying the harpsichord early, taught by his father, Leopold, an eminent musician in his own right. He taught himself some of the pieces in his sister’s music books at four years old. The boy possessed a phenomenal capacity to assimilate everything taught to him.
At age six, Mozart’s father began to tour him to the various music centers of Europe as a child prodigy performer. Often “tested” by prominent musicians in each of the cities he toured, the child Mozart was never known to be wrong. He could, blindfolded, name any note played on the piano. He remembered that family friend, J. A. Schachtner’s violin was tuned an eighth tone lower than his own, and once he picked up a second violin part and played it perfectly at sight. At that time, Mozart had never taken a violin lesson.
Expanding on his prowess as the performing child prodigy, Mozart began to compose. He wrote minuets when he was five, a sonata at seven, and a symphony at eight. In Vienna, in 1768, the Austrian Emperor commissioned him to write an opera, but the work Mozart composed, La finta semplice (The Pretend Simpleton), was not presented because the artists at the opera house refused to participate in an opera composed by a child! He was only 12 years old.
Mozart continued to compose a great variety of musical compositions as he matured, all of his work demonstrating exceptional genius. But as he became an adult, the public became less fascinated with him as a performer, and his genius as a composer was not yet recognized. During his life, his critics always felt his music to be “audacious, too highly flavored … too complex for the average listener to follow.” As a result, he always had to struggle to support himself and his family.
The operatic works which achieved the greatest success at their premieres, The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni, were written with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. The third product of this collaboration, Così fan tutte, was considered a failure in its own time but enjoys considerable popularity in opera houses around the world today.
In addition to myriad pieces for the concert platform, Mozart completed 25 works for the stage, including serenatas, intermezzi, operettas, comedies and plays with music. He was the first to create important operas employing texts set in the German language: The Abduction from the Seraglio and The Magic Flute. His Italian operas (written in collaboration with da Ponte) have influenced the composition of music written for the stage ever since.
Mozart continued his awesome creative output in spite of poverty and failing health. He died in Vienna on December 5, 1791, at the age of 35. Much rumor and intrigue surround the circumstances of his death.
Today, Mozart’s influence and genius are undisputed. Waves of Mozart scholarship flood us with available information and interpretation. Luckily, we need only listen to the wonderful sweetness and humanity of his music to know his brilliance first hand in its purity.
Previously at Portland Opera: Leporello, Don Giovanni, 2006; Lord Sidney, The Journey To Reims, 2004
American bass-baritone Daniel Mobbs has won praise on both sides of the Atlantic for his "solid, resonant voice and boundless energy ... his stage presence virtually ensured that he was the focal point of nearly every scene in which he appeared," as written in The New York Times.
To read the rest of Daniel Mobb's biography, visit his website.
Previously at Portland Opera: Title Role, Rodelinda, 2008
American soprano Jennifer Aylmer has developed a sterling reputation for her beautiful voice, compelling stage portrayals, and impeccable musicianship. The New York Times has hailed her for her, “awesome accuracy,” while The Chicago Sun-Times has recommended that listeners, “bask in the aural delight of Aylmer’s dazzling shifts from regal command to cool insouciance and fatally attractive seduction.” The 2010-2011 season sees Ms. Aylmer returning to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, with Baritone Randall Scarlata, and Pianist Laura Ward in their Tin Pan Alley concert, and pairing with Mr. Scarlata again for a program of Menotti and Barber in Westchester, PA. She also returns to direct at Stony Brook University for “Scenes of Youth, and Innocence Lost”, and makes her Kansas City Symphony debut as soloist in Messiah. This season also marks her debut with the Spoleto Festival (USA), singing Monica in The Medium. Additional upcoming engagements include a return to Portland Opera as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, performances of Despina in Cosí fan tutte for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and several solo concerts.
To read the rest of Pamela Armstrong's biography, visit her website.
Previously at Portland Opera: Title Role, Don Giovanni, 2006
American bass-baritone David Pittsinger is renowned as a stage performer of the greatest distinction for his portrayals in the world’s major opera houses. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Truelove in a new production of The Rake's Progress conducted by James Levine. His performances in Britten’s Death in Venice and Handel’s Orlando soon won him further acclaim. Of his performance as Zoroastro, Marion Lignana Rosenberg of Opera News wrote, “A towering presence both physically and vocally … bass-baritone David Pittsinger … came across as a grand lord of the starry realms.”
To read the rest of David Pittsinger's biography, visit his website.
Previously at Portland Opera: Olympia/Antonia/Giulietta/Stella's voice, The Tales of Hoffmann, 2003
American soprano Pamela Armstrong has been praised for performances with many of the world's leading operatic theaters including the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Hamburg State Opera, Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, Théâtre du Capitole, Teatro Regio Torino, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera and at the Glyndebourne Festival. Ms. Amstrong has been widely acclaimed for an impressively broad repertoire spanning from the title role of Handel's Alcina to Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni and Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro to Violetta in La traviata and Mimi in La bohème, as well as Magda in La rondine, the title role in Richard Strauss’s Arabella, the Countess in Capriccio and Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.
To read the rest of Pamela Armstrong's biography, visit her website.
Rapidly gaining increasing attention for her “vibrant mezzo-soprano and generous presence” (New York Magazine), American mezzo-soprano Jennifer Holloway made her European debut in the 2006/7 season at the Teatro Regio di Parma and the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris as the Baroness Aspasia in Rossini’s La Pietra del Paragone. The 2007/8 season included her debuts with the Teatro Real, Madrid as Irene in Tamerlano, with Bordeaux Opera as Idamante in Idomeneo, both new productions, and, in the summer of 2008, with Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Hansel in Laurent Pelly’s new production of Hansel & Gretel. Other European engagements include Diane in Hippolyte et Aricie in Toulouse under Emmanuelle Haïm, Meg in the new production of Falstaff with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte in Brest, France under Jean-Christophe Spinosi and Page in Salome at the Teatro Real, Madrid.
To read the rest of Jennifer Holloway's biography, visit her website.
Previously at Portland Opera: Osmin in The Abduction from the Seraglio (2005); Daland in The Flying Dutchman (1994).
A winner of the Metropolitan Opera, Liederkranz, Opera Index and Sullivan competitions and featured by Opera News as a 'Singer to “Keep Your Eye On'”, Kurt Link has earned a reputation as one of America’s finest basses, both in opera and oratorio.
Mr. Link has won critical acclaim for a repertoire that has embraced major operatic roles from Purcell to Henze, and from Mozart to Wagner. He has sung Baron Ochs, Daland, Figaro, Leporello, Osmin, Sarastro, Ramfis, Raimondo, Colline, Mephistopheles and other major bass roles with companies such as the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, La Monnaie (Brussels), Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington Opera, Dublin Grand Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Atlanta Opera, New Israeli Opera, the opera companies of Portland, Minnesota, Michigan, St. Louis, Utah, Arizona, Edmonton and the opera festivals of Chautauqua, Wexford (Ireland), Hong Kong, Wolf Trap, Glimmerglass and Spoleto.
To read the rest of Kurt Link's biography, visit his website:
Previously at Portland Opera: Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia (2005); Teobaldo in Don Carlo (1994).
Highlights: Title role in Carmen, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Javotte in Manon, Innskeeper’s Daughter in Koenigskinder, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, Mistress of Novices in Suor Angelica, Second Lady in The Magic Flute, Pernile in Maskarade (Syracuse Opera); Gianetta in The Elixir of Love (Opera Festival of New Jersey); Mercedes in Carmen (Aspen Music Festival); Second Lady in The Magic Flute (Opera Boston).
Previously at Portland Opera: Mr. Upfold in Albert Herring (2008); Giove/Eumete in The Return of Ulysses (2006); Zefirino in The Journey to Reims (2004); Basilio in The Marriage of Figaro and Pang in Turandot (2003); Oreste in La Belle Hélène (2001); Pong in Turandot (1996).
Highlights: Don Basilio in The Marriage of Figaro (Houston Grand Opera, Utah Opera); Howard Boucher in Dead Man Walking, Haushofmeister in Ariadne auf Naxos, Schoolmaster/Mosquito in The Cunning Little Vixen, The Simpleton in Boris Godunov, Il Maestro di Ballo in Manon, Lescaut, Monostatos in The Magic Flute (Houston Grand Opera); Red Whiskers in Billy Budd (Washington Opera); Pong in Turandot (Opera Omaha); Don Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro (Los Angeles Opera); Andreas/Spalanzani/Franz/Pitichinaccio in The Tales of Hoffman, Snake/Vain Man in The Little Prince and The Witch in Hansel And Gretel (Tulsa Opera); Tybalt in Roméo Et Juliette, Pong in Turandot (Opera Carolina); Don Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro (Dallas Opera); The Four Servants in The Tales of Hoffman (Fort Worth Opera); Goro in Madama Butterfly (San Francisco Opera, Opera de Montreal, Utah Opera); Seven Deadly Sins (Oregon Symphony).
Upcoming: A Sheperd in Tristan und Isolde (Houston Grand Opera).
Previously at Portland Opera: Torquemada in L’Heure Espagnole, Reporter in Orphée (2009); Emperor Altoum in Turandot (2011)
Acclaimed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as "a singer of unquestioned dramatic gifts and vocal polish," Carl Halvorson is in demand internationally as a concert, opera and recital artist.
Since his auspicious debut under the sponsorship of Young Concerts Artist, Mr. Halvorson has given over eighty solo recitals in America and in Europe. He has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall (Songmaker's Almanac), the Concertgebouw, New York's Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y, the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and the Gold Medal Artist Series at Ambassador Hall in Los Angeles. He has also performed at the festivals of Spoleto, Aspen, Tanglewood, Aldeburgh, Bergen International, the Newport Music Festival, the Carmel and Oregon Bach Festivals and the Grant Park Festival, and he has sung with notable choral groups including Oratorio Society of New York, Cathedral Choral Arts Society in Washington DC and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. Mr. Halvorson has also had the distinction of participating in the 75th Birthday Tribute Recital in New York for the American composer Ned Rorem.
With a repertoire that extends from Haydn and Mozart to Britten and Honegger, Carl Halvorson is in high demand on the concert stage. The tenor has performed with many major orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Israel Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Oregon Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic, and the Saito Kinen Orchestra. He has performed under the batons of distinguished conductors such as James DePreist, Charles Dutoit, Claus Peter Flor, Raymond Leppard, Kurt Masur, Nicholas McGegen, John Nelson, Seiji Ozawa, Helmuth Rilling, Gabor Hollerung, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, George Hanson, Tonu Kalam, Grant Llewellyn and Hugh Wolff. Orchestral highlights performed by the tenor comprise Mendelssohn's Elijah and Die Erste Walpurgisnacht, Honegger's King David and Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and the Symphony No 9, Mozart's Mass in C Major and Requiem, Dvorak's Dimitri, and Rachmaninoff's The Bells. Other works include Handel's Saul, the Messiah which Mr. Halvorson has sung with numerous orchestras coast-to-coast, and Handel's Judas Maccabaeus sung with the Bach Society of St. Louis and the Berkshire Choral Festival. Mr. Halvorson has also performed Stravinsky's Les Noces along with the composer's In Memoriam Dylan Thomas, and he recently added Orff's Carmina Burana to his repertoire in engagements with the Bangor Symphony (ME), the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra (LA) and with the Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Halvorson gave the American premiere of the Shostakovich Suite on Finnish Folk Tunes with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and recently performed the Dvorák Requiem with the Florida Orchestra.
Heralded for his performances of the works of Benjamin Britten, Mr. Halvorson was invited to give the U.S. premiere of Britten's The World of the Spirit at Carnegie Hall. Also in concert, he performed Britten's St. Nicholas, the War Requiem, and the composer's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, which he toured throughout the United States with the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble and reprised with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra in Spain. Britten operatic engagements include The Rape of Lucretia and The Turn of the Screw at Berkshire Opera, and The Turn of the Screw with the Fort Worth Opera and The Minnesota Opera. Writing of his performance as Peter Quint, Alan Kozinn of The New York Times said, "Carl Halvorson was a magnificent Quint. Physically and vocally agile, he moved easily through the serpentine coils of Britten's music, toying with coloration and vocal weight to make Quint what he must be: alluring and grotesque in equal measure." The tenor has also appeared with the Boston Lyric Opera, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and the Washington National Opera. Mr. Halvorson recently toured to London's Barbican Centre where he performed the title role in Philip Glass's opera Galileo Galilei. This past spring he traveled to Japan at the invitation of Seiji Ozawa to cover the role of Aegesth in the Tokyo Opera Nomori production of Elektra and returns to Tokyo to cover Elijah.
An active recording artist, Mr. Halvorson's performance of Haydn's Creation was recorded on the Newport Classics label, as was his performance of Cherubini's Médée at Alice Tully Hall. For BMG Classics, he has recorded Paul Bowles's The Wind Remains with EOS Music. His lieder recording Despite and Still, with pianist Susan Almasi, is available on the Musical Heritage Society label.
Previously at Portland Opera: Junius in The Rape of Lucretia (2005).
Highlights: Pooh-Bah in The Mikado, Fredrick in A Little Night Music (Mocks Crest Productions); Coffee Man in Too Much Coffee Man the Opera (Astoria Music Festival); title role in Don Giovanni, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, The Count in The Marriage of Figaro (The Muses Creative Artistry Project); Count Danilo in The Merry Widow (Vancouver Symphony); Bartolo in The Barber of Seville (Obsidian Opera); Marques in La Traviata, Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Dr. Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love (Portland Summerfest); Dr. Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love, Don Magnifico in Cinderella, Papageno in The Magic Flute (Portland Opera To Go); Gaston in Beauty and the Beast (Pixie Dust Productions).
Upcoming: Gaston in Beauty and the Beast (Pixie Dust Productions); Peter in Hansel and Gretel (Portland Opera To Go).
Previously at Portland Opera: Soprano solist in Big Night Concert
Described as “sparkling” by Opera News, American soprano Lindsay Ohse is making several house debuts this season, including the lead role of Marie in La Fille du Regiment at Wichita Grand Opera, and as Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro and Maria Celeste in Galileo Galilei by Philip Glass with Portland Opera. She will also be returning to Des Moines Metro Opera this summer as a principal artist to sing Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites. This season also included appearances at Sarasota Opera as Viclinda in Verdi's rarely performed I Lombardi and Ann Putnam in The Crucible.
The 2010 season began with her mainstage debut in Die Zauberflöte at the Sarasota Opera, where she “delivered the Queen of the Night's arias with panache" according to the Wall Street Journal. She then participated in the prestigious Santa Fe Opera young artist program, again having the opportunity to sing Queen of the Night, and she was rewarded for her work in Santa Fe with the 2010 Agnes M. Canning Award.
To learn more about Lindsay Ohse, visit her website
Previously at Portland Opera: Hansel and Gretel, 2010 The Magic Flute, 2007
With performances that have been called poetic, earthy, vigorous and highly individual, conductor Ari Pelto is increasingly in demand both as an operatic and symphonic conductor. Since his debut conducting Verdi's La traviata, he has been engaged as a regular guest conductor at New York City Opera, leading the company in performances of Madama Butterfly, Carmen, and La bohème. Other recent engagements have included La bohème and Rusalka with Boston Lyric Opera; Roméo et Juliette with Minnesota Opera; Carmen and The Cunning Little Vixen with Chautauqua Opera; and Die Zauberflöte and Hansel and Gretel with Portland Opera.
To read the rest of Ari Pelto's biography, visit his website.
Stephen Lawless was Director of Production for the Glyndebourne Touring Opera from 1986 to 1991, where his work culminated in an immensely successful production of Death in Venice, which was subsequently recorded by the BBC for television and video release. The production was revived at the 1992 Glyndebourne Festival.
To read the rest of Stephen Lawless' biography, visit his website.