January 9, 2020

Press Release: Portland Opera presents An American Quartet

Portland Opera continues the 2019/20 season with the premiere of a new production entitled An American Quartet: Four One-Act Operas. Each of these pieces, written by American composers, will be presented in the intimate black box theatre at Portland Opera’s Hampton Opera Center. In The Telephone, by Gian Carlo Menotti, constant calling interrupts a young man’s intentions to propose marriage to his girlfriend. In Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge, four card players share their fears, hopes, and frustrations. In Douglas Moore’s Gallantry, audiences will witness a television soap-opera (complete with a live soap commercial); and in Bon Appétit! by Lee Hoiby, Julia Child will teach the audience how to bake the perfect French chocolate cake. Complimentary chocolate cake, provided by Papa Haydn, will be served after each performance. Portland Opera will present seven performances of An American Quartet on February 7, 9,11, 13, 15, 20, and 22 at the Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre at the Hampton Opera Center in southeast Portland.

Nicholas Fox, Portland Opera’s assistant conductor and chorus master, will conduct these compact midcentury pieces. Allison Narver will make her Portland Opera debut directing this production. Mezzo-soprano Angela Niederloh, who was most recently on the Portland Opera stage in 2018 as Marthe in Gounod’s Faust, will sing the role of the iconic Julia Child. Each of the four members of Portland Opera’s Resident Artist program will be featured in multiple roles in this production. Soprano Emilie Faiella will make her Portland Opera debut singing the roles of Lucy in The Telephone, Geraldine in A Hand of Bridge, and Lola in Gallantry. Returning mezzo-soprano Camille Sherman will sing the roles of Sally in A Hand of Bridge and the Announcer in Gallantry. Tenor Ricardo Garcia will make his Portland Opera debut singing the roles of Bill in A Hand of Bridge and Donald in Gallantry. Baritone Geoffrey Schellenberg will return to the Portland Opera stage as Ben in The Telephone, David in A Hand of Bridge, and Doctor Gregg in Gallantry.

 Portland Opera’s Costume Director, Christine A. Richardson, designs the costumes for this new production, with set design by Peter Ksander and lighting design by Carl Faber. Sequoia will be featured on the piano.

“In The Telephone and Gallantry, young love triumphs over the ordinary conflicts that obstruct it, from the comedic interruptions of the telephone, to the more sinister interferences of Dr. Gregg, which are, in turn, interrupted by soap commercials,” says stage director Allison Narver. “In Bon Appétit! Julia Child, with all her wonderful idiosyncrasies, stands in her perfectly imperfect kitchen teaching us to bake something wonderful — she is the sister-mother-best-friend-aunt that we all wish we had. Of all four operas, A Hand of Bridge allows us a glimpse behind the curtain, into the secret thoughts behind the perfect image of the two couples in their nightly bridge game.”

An American Quartet is made possible by Curtis T. Thompson, MD and Associates and Winderlea Vineyard and Winery. Cake will be provided by Papa Haydn.  Portland Opera is grateful for the ongoing support of the Meyer Memorial Trust, the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Portland Opera is a member of OPERA America.

An American Quartet Tickets and Information

Performances take place at 7:30PM at the Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre at Portland Opera’s Hampton Opera Center with the exception of the matinee on February 9 which begins at 2PM. One hour prior to each performance, audience members are invited to a pre-show lecture.

An American Quartet will be sung in English with English captions. The piece will be performed in two acts, with one intermission, and an approximate running time of 1 hour and 50 minutes.

A very limited number of student rush tickets are available for performances of An American Quartet. Call 503-241-1802 Monday through Friday from 10AM–5PM for more information.

A limited number of $5 tickets for Oregon Trail Card holders are available two weeks prior to each performance, subject to availability. These tickets must be purchased via phone by calling 503-241-1802.

The performance on February 9 at 2PM will include an audio description of the visual and physical events on stage for patrons who are blind or have low vision. For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, each performance includes live captioning in English.

Tickets for An American Quartet are now available for $72. For more information, and to purchase tickets call Patron Services at 503-241-1802.  For more information, patrons may also contact the Opera Concierge at concierge@portlandopera.org, Monday through Friday from 10PM–5PM.

An American Quartet Cast & Creative Team

The Telephone – Gian Carlo Menotti

Lucy Emilie Faiella
Ben Geoffrey Schellenberg


A Hand of Bridge – Samuel Barber

Geraldine Emilie Faiella
Sally Camille Sherman
Bill Ricardo Garcia
David Geoffrey Schellenberg


Gallantry – Douglas Moore

Lola Emilie Faiella
Announcer Camille Sherman
Donald Ricardo Garcia
Doctor Gregg Geoffrey Schellenberg


Bon Appétit! – Lee Hoiby

Julia Child Angela Niederloh
Conductor Nicholas Fox
Director Allison Narver
Set Designer Peter Ksander
Costume Designer Christine A. Richardson
Lighting Designer Carl Faber

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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MEDIA: Interviews, press comps, artist biographies, and more information available upon request.

Silja Tobin, Marketing & Communications Manager
Portland Opera