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. Situated near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, the city of Portland attempted, with varying degrees of success in its early years, to build its own opera company. Touring troupes and a variety of local companies provided the city with interesting, if sporadic, operatic entertainment until Portland Opera was firmly established in 1964. From 1964 to 1966, the organization’s general director and conductor was Henry Holt. At his departure, the baton was passed to Herbert Weiskopf, and after his death in 1970 to Stefan Minde, whose tenure extended through the 1983-84 season. Robert Bailey led the company until his retirement in 2003, when Christopher Mattaliano was named the company’s fifth general director.
New productions are not limited to the mainstage. Portland Opera’s Community Outreach and Education efforts have expanded dramatically in recent years with the establishment of Portland Opera To Go!, the touring division of Portland Opera. This group performs in schools, community centers and other venues throughout the region. From opera previews and public presentations to fully staged productions of shows such as Cinderella, The Night Harry Stopped Smoking, La Bohème, The Magic Flute, and Hansel and Gretel, this arm of Portland Opera reaches nearly 30,000 students, teachers and parents each year. In July, 2003, the company moved into its new eastside facility – The Hampton Opera Center – where, for the first time in company history, music and staging rehearsals, coaching facilities, costume shop, and administrative offices are all housed under one roof.
In 2005, the Company established the Portland Opera Studio Artists program, designed to train the next generation of opera singers by providing a “bridge” from the conservatory world to the professional stage. Selected at auditions around the country, young singers fresh from some of the nation’s finest vocal conservatories join the company for a rigorous nine-month training program, during which they are featured in their own production. Productions of The Rape of Lucretia in 2005, The Return of Ulysses in 2006, and Albert Herring in 2007 were so successful that the Studio Production was moved to the Newmark Theatre where the Company could accommodate the quickly growing audience while maintaining the all-important intimacy associated with these productions. Patrons also enjoy the Studio Artists’ work in supporting roles in Company mainstage productions at the Keller Auditorium.
The Hampton Opera Center
211 SE Caruthers St
Portland, OR 97214