July 2, 2019

Press Release: Portland Opera presents Philip Glass’s In The Penal Colony

Portland Opera will present Philip Glass’s In the Penal Colony for the first time, beginning July 26, 2019. In this piece, a visitor is invited to a penal colony to observe the execution of a prisoner at the hands of a nightmarish machine. The colony’s officer extols the virtues of the apparatus, which tortures as it kills, in this piece that The New York Times calls a “surreal exploration of injustice.” As the future of the institution is questioned, the visitor considers the consequences of meddling, and the officer grows more desperate to preserve the system.

Portland Opera will present eight performances of In the Penal Colony on July 26, 28 (matinee), 30, August 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 2019 at the Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre at the Hampton Opera Center.

“The short story by Kafka is most disturbing and graphic–capital punishment and extreme torture that spits out a highly questionable redemption,” says stage director Jerry Mouawad. “Kafka seems to ask us poignant questions–is humankind in a tailspin, an endless cycle? Does darkness reign until light emerges, only long enough until we deem it necessary that darkness return again?”

Featuring a string quintet, this new production is directed and devised by Jerry Mouawad of Imago Theatre, who directed Portland Opera’s 2017 production of The Difficulty of Crossing a Field and The Little Match Girl Passion. Portland Opera’s Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor Nicholas Fox conducts these performances. Former Portland Opera Resident Artist baritone Ryan Thorn and tenor Martin Bakari both return to the company as the Officer and Visitor.

In the Penal Colony was made possible by The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation and Winderlea Vineyard. Portland Opera is grateful for the ongoing support of the Arts Impact Fund, Meyer Memorial Trust, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, and Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Tickets and Information

Performances take place at 7:30PM at the Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre at the Hampton Opera Center, with the exception of the matinee on July 28 which begins at 2:00PM. One hour prior to each performance, audience members are invited to a pre-show lecture.

In the Penal Colony will be sung in English with projected English translations.

A very limited number of student rush tickets are available for performances of In the Penal Colony. Call 503-241-1802 Monday through Friday from 10AM–5PM for more information. Portland Opera is proud to also work with the Veteran Tickets Foundation (vettix.org) to share a tickets to the performances on July 30 and August 6 with U.S. Armed Forces personnel, veterans, and their families.

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

The performance on July 28 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 is visually translated with English text projected above the stage.

Tickets for In the Penal Colony are now available for $75. For more information call Patron Services at 503-241-1802 or contact the Opera Concierge at concierge@portlandopera.org Monday through Friday from 10PM–5PM.

In the Penal Colony Cast & Creative Team

Martin Bakari as The Visitor
Ryan Thorn as The Officer
Nathan H.G. as The Soldier                
Sean Doran as The Condemned Man 

Conductor, Nicholas Fox
Director + Set Designer, Jerry Mouawad
Costume Designer, Christine A. Richardson
Sound Designer, Kyle Delamarter
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