Portland Opera is an American opera company based at The Hampton Opera Center in Portland, Oregon. Its performances take place in the Keller Auditorium and Newmark Theatre, both part of the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. Portland Opera also produces a separate subscription series of touring Broadway musicals, which also take place at the Keller Auditorium.
Portland Opera was one of the first opera companies to introduce surtitles in its productions, and has presented several world and US premieres. In October 2014, the company announced that it will change the format of its productions by presenting some in the Keller and others as a part of a summer festival format with three operas produced in the Newmark.
Portland Opera was founded as the Portland Opera Association in 1964 by the conductor Henry Holt. Its first performance was Strauss' Die Fledermaus, the only opera presented that season. Holt served as the company's General Director for the first two years of existence. The General Director post was next held by the Austrian conductor Herbert Weiskopf, who died of a heart attack in March 1970 after conducting a performance of Lucia di Lammermoor. The conductor Stefan Minde then took over as General Director and served until 1984, followed by Robert Bailey, a stage director, and National Public Radio's first Director of Culture Programming, who served until 2003. Stage Director Christopher Mattaliano succeeded Robert Bailey as General Director in 2003 and served for the next 16 years, founding the renowned Resident Artist Program and producing the only two commercial recordings made by Portland Opera: Orphée_(Glass) and Galileo_Galilei_(opera), both by Philip Glass on the Orange Mountain Music label.
The current General Director is Sue Dixon, who was appointed in October 2019, and is the first female general director in the opera's 56 year history. The current Music Director is George Manahan, who was appointed in 2012. Artists who have appeared with the company include the conductors, Donato Cabrera, David Giménez Carreras, and Christopher Larkin; and the singers Klara Barlow, Gregory Reinhart, Marcello Giordani, Charles Castronovo, and Jozsef Gregor.
As part of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Portland Opera Association received $1 million in federally backed small business loan from First Republic Bank as part of the Paycheck Protection Program. The opera stated it would allow them to retain 73 jobs.
Portland Opera's premiere performances include:
- Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights (1982, world premiere of an abridged version)
- Christopher Drobny's Lucy's Lapses (1990, world premiere)
- Reynaldo Hahn's Le marchand de Venise (The Merchant of Venice) (1996, US premiere)
- William Bolcom's A View from the Bridge (2003, US West Coast premiere)
- Norberg (October 31, 2007)
- David Stabler, "Portland Opera makes dramatic move to summer seasons beginning in 2016: 'We want to avoid death by 1,000 paper cuts'", The Oregonian, 28 October 2014.
- Past productions record, Portland Opera
- New York Times, (March 23, 1970)
- Syed, Moiz; Willis, Derek. "PORTLAND OPERA ASSOCIATION, INC - Coronavirus Bailouts - ProPublica". ProPublica. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
- Kellow (November 1996)
- Campbell (May 3, 1990)
- Campbell (November 4, 1996)
- Van Allen (January 17, 2002)
- Campbell, Ruth M., "Portland Opera's 'Lucy's Lapses' is Promising Despite Giddiness", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 3, 1990. Accessed 29 September 2009.
- Campbell, Ruth M., "Portland Opera Goes Out on a Limb Presenting Merchant of Venice" Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 4, 1996. Accessed via subscription 29 September 2009.
- "Herbert Weiskopf, Conductor on Coast", New York Times, March 23, 1970, p. 41.
- Kellow, Brian, "Portland's Progress", Opera News, November 1996. Accessed via subscription 29 September 2009.
- Norberg, Eric, "An Inner Southeast “crown jewel” — the Portland Opera", Portland Bee, October 31, 2007. Accessed 29 September 2009.
- Stabler, David, "Portland Opera ends season in the black", The Oregonian, July 14, 2009. Accessed 29 September 2009.
- Van Allen, Angela, "Portland Opera Set for Diverse new Season", The Columbian, January 17, 2002. Accessed via subscription 29 September 2009.