May 13, 2019

Press Release: Portland Opera Announces 2019/20 Season

Portland Opera is pleased to announce programming for the company’s 56th season, which will open on October 25, 2019. The season will launch with one of the most powerful operas of all time, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, starring internationally acclaimed soprano Hiromi Omura in the title role. In February, the company will present An American Quartet: Four One-Act Operas in an intimate evening in the Hampton Opera Center’s black box theatre. These one-acts feature Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Telephone, Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge, Douglas Moore’s Gallantry, and Lee Hoiby’s Bon Appétit! The season will continue with a rare presentation of Vivaldi’s opera Bajazet in March, which will be a special collaboration with the Portland Baroque Orchestra. In the spring, Portland Opera will present its annual Big Night concert and Leoncavallo’s verismo masterpiece, Pagliacci. The 2019/20 season will close with the Portland Opera premiere of Jake Heggie’s familial drama, Three Decembers.

“The 2019/20 season is a celebration of the art of opera,” says General Director Christopher Mattaliano. “This season gives us the opportunity to explore works spanning four different centuries, from Bajazet, which premiered in 1735, to Three Decembers which premiered in 2008. We cannot wait to bring our audiences on this journey with us.”

Portland Opera 2019/20 Season

Madama Butterfly – Giacomo Puccini

Four performances: October 25, 27m, 31, November 2, 2019
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street
Sung in Italian with English captions.

Hiromi Omura as Cio-Cio-San   
Luis Chapa as Pinkerton
Nina Yoshida as Suzuki 
Troy Cook as Sharpless
Karl Marx Reyes as Goro                                       
André Chiang as Yamadori                               
Peixin Chen as Bonze
Camille Sherman as Kate Pinkerton                       

Conductor, George Manahan
Director, E. Loren Meeker

This unforgettable drama tells the story of a young wife and mother named Cio-Cio-San, in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1904. She waits for the return of her beloved B.F. Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the United States Navy. When his ship comes in, her dreams for the future meet his – with tragic and heartbreaking results.

Classic sets and costumes honor tradition in this production.  Internationally acclaimed Japanese soprano Hiromi Omura makes her U.S. debut as our heroine.

“An idealistic, Japanese girl in the early 1900s falls for a brash, entitled American soldier whose actions turn her love into a story ending in exploitation, betrayal, and abandonment,” says stage director E. Loren Meeker. “Puccini’s masterpieceMadama Butterfly forces American audiences to consider our history, culture, and the unknown victims of our past foreign policy. Our goal within a traditional setting is to honor Japanese culture through insightful storytelling and modern characterization. This creates an environment where we can examine the harsh realities of our past in an effort to learn from our mistakes at global, national, and personal levels.”

An American Quartet: Four One-Act Operas
The Telephone – Gian Carlo Menotti
A Hand of Bridge – Samuel Barber
Gallantry – Douglas Moore
Bon Appétit! – Lee Hoiby

Five performances: February 7, 9m, 11, 13, 15, 2020
The Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre at the Hampton Opera Center, 211 SE Caruthers Street
Sung in English with English captions.

Angela Niederloh as Julia Child     
Camille Sherman as Announcer, Sally        
Geoffrey Schellenberg as Ben, David, Doctor Gregg
Emilie Faiella as Lucy, Geraldine, Lola Markham
Ricardo Garcia as Bill, Donald Hopewell                                   

, Nicholas Fox
Director, Allison Narver

Visit our black box theatre for an intimate evening of four American one-act operas. In The Telephone, constant calling interrupts a young man’s intentions. In A Hand of Bridge, four card players share their fears, hopes, and frustrations. InGallantry, we witness a television soap-opera (complete with a live soap commercial); and in Bon Appétit! we’ll savor the words of Julia Child in a transcript of how to bake the perfect French chocolate cake. Complimentary chocolate cake will be served after the performance!

“We are thrilled to welcome our audience to our home at the Hampton Opera Center for these four one-acts,” says General Director Christopher Mattaliano. “The expertly compact composition of each of these pieces is truly delightful. They are filled with character, expression, and wit.  Together, they give us an operatic peek into a slice of American life.”

Bajazet – Antonio Vivaldi

Five performances: March 20, 22m, 24, 26, 28, 2020
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway Avenue
Sung in Italian with English captions.

Daniel Mobbs as Bajazet                       
Camille Sherman as Asteria
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Tamerlano
Avery Amereau as Irene   
John Marzano as Andronico      
Kathleen Kim as Idaspe

Conductor, Erin Helyard
Director, Chas Rader-Shieber
Scenic & Costume Designer, Michael Olich

Bajazet, Emperor of the Turks, has been captured. His daughter, Asteria, plans to kill her father’s captor, Tamerlano, who also wishes to marry her. Irene, a princess who loves Tamerlano, discovers the murder plot and intervenes. Andronico, an ally of Tamerlano, is in love with Asteria. Honor, forgiveness, and duty shine brightly in this muscular tale of conflict, love, and conquerors.

Portland Opera is thrilled to collaborate with Portland Baroque Orchestra to present the American professional premiere of Vivaldi’s rarely performed Baroque masterpiece from 1735. Australian conductor Erin Helyard makes his U.S. debut with a cast featuring contralto Avery Amereau and countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen.

“Even as the walls seem to be crumbling around them, the characters of Bajazet live in a musical world of unparalleled beauty,” says stage director Chas Rader-Shieber. “As one culture is dismissed and destroyed by another, with a kind of cruelty that is both frightening and yet familiar, the personal and emotional lives of those in power are given a careful kind of examination by Vivaldi. Emotion at its most potent, power at its most dangerous, and music at its greatest expression of pure theatricality are at the center of this amazing, tragic, and moving opera.”

Big Night, A Special Concert

May 9, 2020
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street
Sung in various languages with English captions.

For the annual Big Night concert, Portland Opera’s chorus and orchestra are joined by international guest soloists and the Portland Opera Resident Artists for an evening of beautiful music.

This performance will feature tenor Fabio Armiliato, bass-baritone Daniel Mobbs, among other guest stars, as well as the 2019/20 Portland Opera Resident Artists, and the Portland Opera Orchestra and Chorus, led by Music Director George Manahan. General Director Christopher Mattaliano will be the host of the evening.

Pagliacci – Ruggero Leoncavallo

Four performances: June 5, 7m, 11, 13, 2020
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street
Sung in Italian with English captions.

Fabio Armiliato as Canio             
Vanessa Isiguen as Nedda
Michael Chioldi as Tonio  
Will Liverman as Silvio  

Conductor, George Manahan
Director, Christopher Mattaliano

Based on a real story from a newspaper clipping in the late nineteenth century, Leoncavallo’s “Clowns” tells the story of a travelling troupe of entertainers who perform for an Italian village. They present a show that becomes increasingly parallel to their actual tumultuous lives—resulting in blurred lines between comedy, tragedy, reality, and performance.

Maestro George Manahan and General Director Christopher Mattaliano team up to bring Portland Opera’s nostalgic production, set in the 1940s, back to the stage. Renowned Italian tenor Fabio Armiliato makes his Portland Opera debut, joined by soprano Vanessa Isiguen and baritones Will Liverman and Michael Chioldi.

Pagliacci is the quintessential verismo opera,” says stage director Christopher Mattaliano. “It’s entertaining, dramatic, and a fantastic option for a first-time opera-goer.”

Three Decembers– Jake Heggie

Five performances: July 17, 19m, 22, 23, 25 2020
Newmark Theatre
Sung in English with English captions.

Caitlin Lynch as Beatrice          
Susannah Mars as Maddie
Geoffrey Schellenberg as Charlie

Conductor, Nicholas Fox
Director, Alan Paul

A heartwarming and bittersweet family portrait comes into focus over the course of three Decembers in 1986, 1996, and 2006. Madeline (a Broadway actress) and her adult children face the challenges of secrets, resentment, and reconciliation in this illuminating story about the very real complexities of being a family.

Susannah Mars returns to Portland Opera in this new production directed by Alan Paul, Associate Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington, D.C.

Three Decembers is a profound story about time, family, and art,” says stage director Alan Paul. “I love stories that span decades, and this opera explores the wounds, secrets, and dreams of a family over three Decembers in three different decades.  It’s a juicy opera to direct, and I can’t wait to come back to Portland and bring it to life.”

Tickets and Information

Subscriptions for the 2019/20 season are on sale now. Single tickets for Madama Butterfly, An American Quartet, and Bajazet will go on sale on August 16, 2019, and single tickets for the remainder of the season will go on sale on December 6, 2019. For more information, and to purchase tickets go here or call Patron Services at 503-241-1802, or visit in person at the Hampton Opera Center, located at 211 SE Caruthers Street in Portland, Oregon. Patron Services hours are Monday through Friday, 10 AM – 5 PM. Portland Opera offers complimentary concierge services for all patrons. You can e-mail for information about parking, attire, dining recommendations, and more.

Main stage operas are presented with projected English translations above the stage. Evening performances begin at 7:30 PM, and matinee performances begin at 2 PM.  Late seating is not permitted.

We are proud to be able to offer many ways for community members to experience Portland Opera. Portland Opera is a participant in Arts for All—providing $5 tickets for Oregon Trail Card holders for operas at the Keller Auditorium and Newmark Theatre. These tickets can be purchased two weeks prior to each performance. We also offer a limited amount of free tickets to Multnomah County Library cardholders through the library’s Discover Pass program. Visit for more information.

Student tickets are $10 and are made available for every performance. Student tickets can be purchased up to two weeks prior to each performance. We are proud to also work with the Veteran Tickets Foundation ( to share event tickets with U.S. Armed Forces personnel, veterans, and their families.

Portland Opera offers wheelchair accessible and companion seating for every performance throughout the season and offers assisted listening devices for productions at the Newmark Theatre and Keller Auditorium.  Designated performances also include a live audio-description of the visual and physical events on-stage for patrons who are blind or have low vision. Please contact Patron Services for additional information.

Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of funders including The Collins Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Arts Commission, Work for Art, the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, and The Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund.

About Portland Opera

Portland Opera exists to inspire, challenge, and uplift our audiences by creating productions of high artistic quality that celebrate the beauty and breadth of opera.

Since 1964, Portland Opera has contributed to the cultural, artistic, and economic landscape of the city and region that we love. We celebrate the beauty and breadth of the opera repertoire with performances that take place in the Keller Auditorium, Newmark Theatre, and the Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre at the Hampton Opera Center. The company is also a committed educational partner, touring fully staged operas to schools and community centers throughout Oregon and SW Washington region each year, in addition to a host of other efforts designed to make opera accessible for all.

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Interviews, artist biographies, and more information available upon request.

Silja Tobin, Marketing & Communications Manager
Portland Opera