Download the 2012/13 Season Guide! - Portland Opera

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Download the 2012/13 Season Guide! - Portland Opera

LARGER

2012/13

BIG NIGHT DON GIOVANNI TOSCA RINALDO FALSTAFF

THANLIFE

christopher mattaliano

general director


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aDMinisTraTion

503-241-1407

Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm

grouP sales

503-321-5251

groups@portlandopera.org

Thank you for subscribing To our 2012/13 season

conTenTs

a Message from the general Director

our Mission

subscriber benefits

ordering additional regular Tickets / special subscriber

Ticket Prices and seating

Big Night Concert

Don Giovanni

Tosca

Rinaldo

Falstaff

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keller auDiToriuM

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PorTlanD oPera office

The Hampton Opera Center

211 SE Caruthers St

Portland, OR 97214

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a Message froM The general DirecTor

Welcome to our 2012/13 Season of operas and

characters that are truly “Larger than Life”!

This season features our second annual Big Night

Concert and four of opera’s grandest figures— Mozart’s

seductive Don Giovanni, Puccini’s impassioned Tosca,

Handel’s heroic Rinaldo and Verdi’s mischievous Falstaff.

You’ll love the glorious operas that bring these giant

personalities to life!

These four operas and their remarkable characters

will be even more enjoyable for you with the information

in this season guide. It’s a fantastic (and, dare I say,

“large”) resource filled with a full season’s worth of

information on these epic stories, amazing histories,

the incredible artists you will hear and see on stage

and the amazing composers who created them.

We’ve designed this year’s guide so that you can

download it to print out or view on your computer,

tablet or phone so the information is available when

and where you want it. And, you’ll also find all of this

information and much more, including musical samples,

production photos and even video selections at

portlandopera.org.

our Mission

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.

We also encourage you to sign up for OPERAbuzz —

our online e-newsletter that will bring all of this

information and more to you in advance of each

opera. You’ll discover behind-the-scenes views of

each production, inside information on the ma ny opera

activities we offer outside of the theater, special offers

for other arts events and plenty more to make your opera

experience “Larger than Life.” Just click on “Sign up for

OPERAbuzz” at the top of our home page, and rest

assured we’ll never share your email address with

anyone— ever.

It’s going to be a BIG season, and we invite you to

get in touch with us to share your thoughts, your reactions

to the operas, or any question you might have. We

always enjoy hearing from members of our opera family.

On behalf of all of us at Portland Opera, THANK YOU for

joining us this season. We all look forward to seeing you

throughout the year.

Christopher Mattaliano

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enJoy The benefiTs of being a subscriber

hassle-free TickeT exchanges

Can’t attend your regularly scheduled performance?

Here are three quick and easy ways to solve the problem.

by Phone: 503-241-1802 or 866-739-6737

Mail/in Person: The Hampton Opera Center, 211 SE

Caruthers St, Portland, OR 97214 Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm

When exchanging tickets, you must have all of your

tickets in hand. There is unique information on each ticket

vital to the exchange.

We ask that ticket exchanges be made no later than

5pm, two full business days prior to the performance date

that you will be moving out of/into, whichever date is earlier

(this gives us the chance to resell tickets to other eager

patrons).

There’s no charge for your first exchange of a given

production. A $5 per ticket exchange fee applies to all

subsequent exchanges. Exchanges cannot be made at

Keller Auditorium/Newmark Theatre.

chilDren’s Policy

Every patron, regardless of age, must have a ticket to

enter the theater. Many opera productions contain adult

themes and storylines. With that in mind, children under

the age of 8 are not permitted.

We do offer many free public performances of our

family friendly Portland Opera To Go production. We

encourage you to check our website for a listing of dates

and locations.

losT TickeTs?

They’re never a problem. Call us at 503-241-1802 and

we’ll have replacement tickets waiting for you at the theater

or come to the Subscriber Services window at the theater.

sPecial resTauranT, hoTel anD reTail savings

Your night at the opera can be even more special with

a wide array of special restaurant, hotel and retail offers.

Your Portland Opera Picks coupons were sent with your

season tickets.

sPecial savings on aDDiTional TickeTs

If you need more tickets to any of the season’s productions,

just call our Box Office, identify yourself as a subscriber,

and you’ll get our special subscriber prices on all subsequent

ticket purchases. PLUS…you can get them before they go on

sale to the general public.

geT TreaTeD like a subscriber all arounD ToWn

Introduce yourself as an opera subscriber at Oregon

Ballet Theatre, Oregon Symphony, and Portland Center Stage

and you’ll get the same ticket prices that they offer their own

subscribers.

insiDer inforMaTion anD uPDaTes

We’ll keep you in the opera loop, sharing news and

information about upcoming events through our OPERAbuzz.

All we need is your email address. You can do this easily at our

home page: portlandopera.org. (And please know that we

never share your email address with anyone else. Ever.)

Manage your accounT

Portland Opera wants to make sure you are receiving the

information that is most important to you. To manage your

OPERAbuzz subscription, log on to portlandopera.org and

click on “Sign-up for OPERAbuzz.”

Enter your Account ID or email and password into the

box provided and then choose “Continue.” From your

Account Screen, choose the “View/ Edit Settings” from the

menu on the left to update your personal settings, including

your email subscription preferences.

Don’t have an account? Choose “Create Account,”

then simply enter the email address that you would like

OPERAbuzz to be delivered to in the box provided and

follow the prompts to sign up.

Not sure if you have an account? Enter your email address

in the login box provided and click on the “Forgot Your

Password” link. If you do have an account, you will receive

your password in your email inbox.

can’T aTTenD an oPera? DonaTe your TickeTs!

Donating your tickets back to us makes many nice

things happen. You get a tax deduction, and we get to

make that seat available for some other lucky person.

We ask only that you call us with your tickets in hand

or mail them to us (Portland Opera, The Hampton Opera

Center, 211 SE Caruthers St., Portland, OR 97214) so that

we have them at least two full business days prior to

the performance date.

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neeD aDDiTional TickeTs?

Call our Box Office and mention you’re

a subscriber and they’ll provide you with

the special subscription savings on all

additional regular tickets.

by Phone:

Box Office: 503-241-1802

Toll Free: 866-739-6737

Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm

by Mail/in Person:

Portland Opera Box Office

The Hampton Opera Center

211 SE Caruthers St, Portland, OR 97214

Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm

No refunds. Orders will be processed

according to date received. There is a

$6.00 per ticket charge on phone and

mail orders. All prices, shows, schedules

and artists are subject to change.

2012/13 season scheDule

big nighT concerT

September 22, 2012

Don giovanni

November 2, 4m, 8, 10, 2012

Tosca

February 1, 3m, 7, 9, 2013

rinalDo (Newmark Theatre)

March 15, 17m, 19, 21, 23, 2013

falsTaff

May 10, 12m, 16, 18, 2013

sPecial savings for grouPs

To receive special pricing for groups of 10 +

tickets, please contact Portland Opera’s Group

Sales Department at 503-321-5251 or email

groups@portlandopera.org.

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

keller auDiToriuM 2012/13 seaTing

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neWMark TheaTre 2012/13 seaTing

Available at portlandopera.org

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Portland Opera’s 48 th Season kicks off with our 2 nd Annual BIG NIGHT Concert and Gala!

This year promises to be even bigger! George Manahan returns to conduct. Tenor Jonathan Boyd, baritone Michael

Todd Simpson, soprano Jennifer Forni and the Portland Opera Resident Artists join the Portland Opera Orchestra

and Chorus on stage for an evening of your favorite opera arias, duets and choral pieces from Puccini, Verdi, Mozart

and Wagner.

All proceeds from BIG NIGHT benefi t Portland Opera’s Education and Outreach programs: bringing opera

to students throughout the state of Oregon!

uPgraDe your concerT TickeT To The noTTe

granDe gala Package anD receive:

• An exclusive pre-concert cocktail party with

signature drinks and sumptuous feast.

• Premium seating for the concert.

• A spectacular party with the evening’s stars,

including dessert, wine and after-dinner drinks.

Reserve your gala tickets by email:

nottegrande@portlandopera.org

A surprise last year, the pre-concert STREET FAIR

returns with new surprises and the popular

post-concert showing of the Marx Brothers’

A Night at the Opera.

feaTuring

JONATHAN

BOYD

Previously at

Portland Opera:

Candide in Candide,

Tamino in

The Magic Flute,

Sam in Street

Scene.

MICHAEL

TODD SIMPSON

Previously at

Portland Opera:

Marcello in La

Bohème.

JENNIFER

FORNI

Former Portland

Opera Resident

Artist.

conDucTor

GEORGE

MANAHAN

Most recently at

Portland Opera:

BIG NIGHT 2011.

And the Portland Opera Chorus and Orchestra

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

for your aDDeD enJoyMenT

Previews

Public Chorus Rehearsal

September 9, 2012, 3:00pm at Director Park in

Downtown Portland | Free

Tune in for an in-depth preview of the show:

September 13, 2013, 6:00pm | All Classical 89.9 FM

“Northwest Previews” www.allclassical.org

ProDucTion sPonsor

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Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, based on the Don Juan legend as told in Bertati's play.

PorTlanD oPera PreMiere

May 1971

WorlD PreMiere

National Theatre, Prague: October 29, 1787

suggesTeD recorDings

MOZART: DON GIOVANNI

Cesare Siepi, Lisa della Casa, Suzanne Danco,

Hilde Gueden, Fernando Corena, Anton Dermota

Josef Krips (Conductor), Decca

Ingvar Wixell, Mirella Freni, Richard van Allan,

Martina Arroyo, Luigi Roni, Wladimiro Ganzarolli

Sir Colin Davis (Conductor), Philips

Musical highlights available at portlandopera.org

for your aDDeD enJoyMenT

Destination Opera: From Music to Psyche

A unique partnership with the Oregon

Psychoanalytic Center, Destination Opera

explores the hidden subtexts of select operas

this season. Ralph Beaumont, MD, joins

Alexis Hamilton, Manager of Education and

Outreach, to debate and discuss Don Giovanni.

November 7, 2012 | 7:00pm

Sherman Clay Pianos | 131 NW 13th Ave | Free

The casT

Donna elvira

MARY

DUNLEAVY

Donna anna

STEFANIA

DOVHAN*

Zerlina

SANDRA

PIQUES EDDY

Don oTTavio

JONATHAN

BOYD

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

Don giovanni

DANIEL

OKULITCH*

Previews

Tune in for an in-depth preview of the show:

October 25, 2012, 6:00pm | All Classical 89.9 FM

“Northwest Previews” www.allclassical.org

Christopher Mattaliano hosts a preview of Mozart’s

Don Giovanni. Tune in for musical excerpts and

Chris’ interesting perspective on this opera.

October 27, 2012, 1:00pm | All Classical 89.9 FM

“Saturday Matinee” www.allclassical.org

Enjoy a lively, 50-minute sneak peek of Don Giovanni:

October 28, 2012, 2:00pm at Multnomah County

Central Library, Collins Gallery | Free

October 30, 2012, 7:00pm | Venetian Theatre,

Hillsboro | Free

Opera Insights

Informative music and history talks with musicologist

Bob Kingston one hour prior to each performance.

First Balcony | Free

Back Talk

After each performance, join General Director

Christopher Mattaliano for a Q&A session about

the performance. Guests include performers,

conductors and directors.

Orchestra Level | Free

ProDucTion sPonsors

lePorello

JASON

HARDY*

coMMenDaTore

HAROLD

WILSON*

MaseTTo

NICHOLAS

NELSON

sTage DirecTor

CHRISTOPHER

ALDEN

conDucTor

GEORGE

MANAHAN

*Portland Opera debut

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The PloT

act i — Leporello, servant to the nobleman Don Giovanni,

keeps watch outside the Commendatore’s home at night.

Suddenly, the Commendatore’s daughter, Donna Anna,

rushes out, struggling with the masked Giovanni and

followed by her father. The Commendatore challenges

Giovanni to a duel and is killed. Giovanni and Leporello

escape. Anna asks her fiancé, Don Ottavio, to avenge her

father’s death. In the morning, Giovanni and Leporello

encounter one of Giovanni’s former conquests, Donna

Elvira, who is devastated by his betrayal. Leporello tells her

she is neither the first nor the last woman to fall victim to

Giovanni and shows her his catalogue with the name of

every woman Giovanni has seduced. Peasants celebrate

the marriage of Masetto and Zerlina. Giovanni flirts with

the bride, telling her she is destined for a better life. But

Elvira tells Zerlina to flee her suitor. She also warns Anna,

who is still unaware of the identity of her father’s murderer

and has asked Giovanni for help in finding the man.

Giovanni, for his part, insists that Elvira is mad, and Anna

and Ottavio wonder what to believe. As Giovanni leaves,

Anna suddenly recognizes his voice as that of the murderer.

Devastated but determined, she once more asks Ottavio

to avenge her. He wonders how to restore her peace of

mind. Giovanni, who has invited the entire wedding party

to his palace, looks forward to an evening of drinking and

dancing. Outside Giovanni’s home, Zerlina asks Masetto

to forgive her. Giovanni enters and leads them both inside.

Anna, Elvira, and Ottavio appear masked and are invited in

by Leporello. In the ballroom, Giovanni dances with Zerlina,

then tries to drag her into the adjoining room. When she

cries for help, Giovanni blames Leporello. Anna, Elvira, and

Ottavio take off their masks and, along with Zerlina and

Masetto, accuse Giovanni, who is momentarily surprised

but manages to slip away.

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

christopher mattaliano

general director

act i i — Having exchanged clothes with Giovanni,

Leporello takes Elvira on a night-time walk, leaving his

master free to serenade her maid. When Masetto arrives

with a band of peasants to hunt down Giovanni, the

disguised Don sends them off in various directions, then

beats up Masetto. Zerlina finds her bruised fiancé and

comforts him. Later that night, Leporello—still believed

by Elvira to be Giovanni—is surprised by Anna, Ottavio,

Zerlina, and Masetto, who all denounce the supposed

Don. Fearing for his life, Leporello reveals his true identity

before making his escape. Ottavio proclaims that he will

take revenge on Giovanni and asks the others to look

after Anna. Elvira thinks about Giovanni, whom she still

loves in spite of everything. In a cemetery, Giovanni and

Leporello meet the statue of the Commendatore, who

warns Giovanni that by morning he will laugh no longer.

Giovanni forces the terrified Leporello to invite the statue

to dinner. The statue accepts. Once again, Ottavio asks

Anna to marry him, but she replies that she will not until

her father’s death has been avenged. Elvira arrives at

Giovanni’s palace and makes a last desperate attempt to

persuade him to change his life, but he only laughs at

her. The figure of the Commendatore enters and asks

Giovanni to repent. When he boldly refuses he is sent to

hell. Elvira, Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina, Masetto, and Leporello

appear, contemplating their futures and

the fate of an immoral man.

Courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera

8


Wolfgang aMaDeus MoZarT: The Man anD his Music

“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence, nor imagination, nor both together go to the making of genius.

Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”

— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

is arguably the greatest

musician the world has ever

known. Certainly, he must

be the one composer whose

name is ensconced in the

subconscious of people

throughout the Western

world—whether from

concert programs featuring

his brilliant, sparkling music, or newspaper clippings

featuring articles on the fabled “Mozart effect.” Children

in the crib are inundated with snippets and clunky simplistic

arrangements of Mozart’s music. Almost everyone

has heard Eine kleine Nachtmusik and could hum along

whether they know its name or not, and Mozart’s music

has been woven into the fabric of every Western musical

education since his death. For variety, depth and perfection

of form, Mozart the composer can only be rivaled by

J. S. Bach. With his most influential contemporaries of the

classical period, Haydn and Beethoven, he brought the

classical style to its height, and only he wrote successfully

and prodigiously in every musical genre of his time.

Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria, on January 27,

1756. He began studying the harpsichord early, taught

by his father, Leopold, an eminent musician in his own

right. It seems that Wolfgang needed little instruction—

he taught himself some of the pieces in his sister’s music

books at four years old. The boy possessed sure instincts

and a phenomenal capacity to assimilate everything he

was taught. His gifts for sight-reading and improvisation

aroused awe in everyone who heard him.

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

christopher mattaliano

general director

At the age of six, Mozart’s father began to tour him

about to the various music centers of Europe as a child

prodigy performer. He and his sister, Maria Anna, often

played concerts together, and the child duo had access

to the houses of kings and princes of the church. Often

“tested” by prominent musicians in each of the cities he

toured, the child Mozart was never known to be wrong.

He could, blindfolded, name any note played on the piano.

He remembered that family friend J. A. Schachtner’s

violin was tuned an eighth tone lower than his own, and

once he picked up a second violin part and played it perfectly

at sight—somewhat astonishing for one who had

never taken a violin lesson.

Expanding on his prowess as the performing child

prodigy, Mozart began to compose, sometimes dedicating

his compositions to the various nobility he entertained.

He wrote minuets when he was five, a sonata at seven, a

symphony at eight. Wherever he went, Mozart made an

extraordinary impression, not just for his music, but for

his sunny disposition and animated countenance,

“as impossible to describe … as it would be to paint

sunbeams.” (Michael O’Kelly, 18th century tenor, and a

friend of Mozart’s.) He collected commissions to write

music from a number of prominent persons. In Vienna,

in 1768, the Austrian Emperor commissioned Mozart to

write an opera, but the work Mozart composed, La finta

semplice (The Pretend Simpleton), was not presented

because the artists at the opera house refused to participate

in a performance of an opera by a child! He was but

12 years old.

continued …

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Mozart continued to compose a great variety of

musical compositions as he matured, all of his work

demonstrating exceptional genius. But as he became

an adult, the public became less fascinated with him as

a performer, and his genius as a composer was not yet

recognized. During his life, his critics always felt his music

to be “audacious, too highly flavored … too complex for

the average listener to follow.” As a result, he always had

to struggle to support himself and his family. He gave

lessons, he sold his work, and he had a salary from the

Emperor Josef, but always seemed short on cash. Despite

a number of insightful people recognizing the excellence

of his music, none of these were in a position to reverse the

condition of economic hardship that constantly beset him.

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

Leopold, Wolfgang, and Nannerl. Watercolor by Carmontelle,

ca.1763[3] Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

His operatic works that achieved the greatest success

at their premieres—The Marriage of Figaro and Don

Giovanni— were written with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte.

The third product of this collaboration, Così fan tutte

(They are all like that), was considered a failure in its own

time but enjoys considerable popularity in opera houses

around the world today.

In addition to a myriad pieces for the concert platform,

Mozart completed twenty-five works for the stage,

including serenatas, intermezzi, operettas, comedies and

plays with music, as well as opera buffa and opera seria.

He was the first to create important operas employing

texts set in the German language—Die Entführung aus

dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) and Die

Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). His Italian operas (written

in collaboration with Da Ponte) have influenced the composition

of all music written for the stage ever since.

Mozart continued his awesome creative output in

spite of poverty and failing health. He died in Vienna

on December 5, 1791, at the age of 35. Much rumor,

intrigue and outright fabrication surround the circumstances

of Mozart’s death. Despite the account in the

wonderful movie Amadeus, Salieri was no murderer,

and Mozart was nursed by his wife during his final illness.

His burial in a mass grave was consistent with Viennese

custom, and while some reports say that no mourners

attended the burial, a contemporary writes that Salieri,

Süssmayr, Van Swieten and two other musicians were

there. There was no storm— the weather was “calm

and mild.” Mozart was eulogized by all as one of the

greatest musical artists of their time, with many concerts

and requiems performed in his honor.

Today, Mozart’s influence, importance, and genius are

undisputed. Waves of Mozart scholarship flood us with

available information and interpretation. Luckily, we need

only listen to the wonderful sweetness and humanity of

his music to know his brilliance first-hand.

— Alexis Hamilton

10


The Making of Don giovanni

“Mama, mama … that’s real music.”

— Charles Gounod when he first heard Don Giovanni

E.T.A. Hoffmann called it “the opera of all operas.”

Certainly, the opera has fascinated audiences, musicologists,

philosophers, and actors for 225 years. Such longevity

longs for explanation, especially since the libretto has

been described as “imperfect in conception, a miscarriage

as a drama, defective in important features”

(Robert Craft). But Mozart blessed it with some of his

greatest music—savagely beautiful, funny and tender all

at the same time—so it endures and thrives, as lively in

the imagination today as it was at its premiere in Prague

some 200 years ago.

The subject matter helps. The lascivious Don

predates the concept of the Marquis de Sade’s “libertine”

(1. One who acts without moral restraint, a dissolute

person. 2. One who defies established religious precepts;

a free thinker) by 150 years. A study of the artistic

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

Daniel Okullitch as Don Giovanni /2009 © Carol Rosegg

christopher mattaliano

general director

interpretations of Don Juan (on whom Giovanni is based)

would read like a philosophical and religious history of

Europe. Each artist to interpret Don Juan casts him in a

different light, breathing new motivations into his

personality, each using him—or justifying him—in a way

which legitimizes the contemporary point of view. For

Molière, he was a slothful, shallow aesthete, ruined by a

lavish lifestyle, untouched by external restrictions—a

salient metaphor for the excesses of the Sun King’s court.

A 17 th century English version of Don Juan philosophized

that desire is from nature and nothing natural can be bad,

ergo all actions are justifiable based on desire (which

stems from nature). Therefore the 30 murders he has

committed (including patricide) prior to the action of the

play are justifiable homicide. The deadly logic of Don Juan

in this incarnation underscores the fatal flaw of 17 th

century Empiricism.

Today, everyone thinks they know Don Juan. Ask a

passerby on the street to define “Don Juan” and most

will reply with some variant of “a ladies’ man.” Men

admire him and women fantasize about him. The richly

dangerous, multi-faceted, beguiling figure has become a

rakish version of Casanova. But scholars know differently.

They know too much to be comfortable with the charming

rascal interpretation—throughout his literary life, Don

Juan has been a much darker character, a manipulator,

liar, seducer (rapist?), obsessively claiming women, not

always with pleasure. There is charm and wit, true, but

something dark and broken as well. The literary Don Juan

attracts and repels in equal measure.

Don Juan as we recognize him made his debut in 1630

in a play by a Spanish friar and playwright, Tirso de Molina,

though in truth, there were many precursors and hints to

continued …

11


this character starting as early as Ovid. What Tirso did

was to persuasively reflect the concerns of his time by

linking religious consequences to the carnal actions of the

licentious seducer. Tirso’s comedy, El burlador de Sevilla

y convidado de piedra (The Trickster of Seville and the

Stone Guest), outlines much the same story that Mozart

and Da Ponte tell. Tirso’s is a morality play warning

against atheism. El burlador was never considered

“important” during the friar’s lifetime, despite having

birthed an archetype, but it laid the foundations for

greater playwrights than he, and planted the seeds of

French, Italian and English Don Juans, each familiar to

Da Ponte when he sat down to create Don Giovanni.

Don Juan became a favorite stock character of Italy’s

commedia dell’arte, where he devolved into a selfish

brute, entirely at the mercy of his relentless sexual

appetite. Undoubtedly, Da Ponte knew the commedia’s

interpretation of Don Juan, as well as Molière’s, Goldoni’s

and Tirso’s plays too. He certainly borrowed from all of

the Don’s incarnations, most notably from another opera

which opened a mere nine months before Mozart’s

Prague premiere. This opera, Don Giovanni Tenorio, o sia

Il convitato di pietra, was written by composer Giuseppe

Gazzaniga and librettist Giovanni Bertati. It goes without

saying that their opera was eclipsed by Mozart’s, but Da

Ponte owes them much. Da Ponte’s libretto follows theirs

closely, sometimes borrowing scenes verbatim. Da Ponte,

of course, added a few touches of his own, most notably

comic flourishes.

Don Giovanni is certainly funnier than any of its

predecessors. In this opera, there is some question as

to whether Giovanni is ever entirely successful in his

romantic endeavors, and his conquest of Donna Anna is

an open question. Here, Giovanni is a bit of a cipher as

well. His mystery owes to Mozart’s shifting musical

characterization. Giovanni becomes a mirror of his prey,

by turns gallant or charming, persuasive, frenetic, desperate,

dissolute, resolute or brave. The score leaves us questioning

who Giovanni is in himself. It is this score with its ambiguities

that saves the opera from becoming a burlesque.

As in all of Mozart’s operas, the women are the

clearly-drawn individuals, even if the men are props like

Don Ottavio, stock characters like Leporello (though

Leporello offers some interesting dichotomies himself) or

archetypes like Giovanni. Of all of these women, Donna

Anna inspired the Romantics the most—at least as much

as the Don himself. E.T.A. Hoffmann argued that had she

come into Don Giovanni’s life in time to save him, she

would have been his true love. (She didn’t and she

wasn’t.) Hoffmann assumed that because Donna Anna

clearly is reluctant to wed her fiancé, Ottavio, after

Giovanni’s assault and her father’s death, that she is in

love with the Don. Feminist theorist Liane Curtis points

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out that it could just as easily mean that after surviving

these traumatic events, she had simply outgrown

Ottavio’s somewhat earnest love.

Modern audiences, however, find more satisfaction in

Donna Elvira, dismissed by 19 th century Romantics as a

somewhat pathetic figure trailing after Giovanni like a

proactive Miss Havisham. Rather, Elvira protects the other

women in the opera, especially Zerlina, by interrupting

Giovanni’s seductions, warning the others that he is a

deceiver, and revealing to Donna Anna that he is her

assailant. Once she joins forces with Anna, Ottavio, and

Zerlina, she is ever-present and clever. She foresees

Giovanni’s doom and even tries to forestall it with her

warnings. Her position as a noblewoman and her

seduction and abandonment by Giovanni offer her more

moves on the chessboard of the opera than either her

younger counterpart, Anna, aided (and hampered) by

Ottavio, or the peasant girl, Zerlina. Elvira has power and

range and is a worthy foil for Giovanni, capable of great

depth of feeling, as evinced in her opera seria style arias.

And what of young Zerlina, tempted on her wedding

day? It is easy to dismiss her as a minor, comic player, all

too willing to succumb to Giovanni’s wiles, especially in

relation to the formidable operatic goddesses Anna and

Elvira. Though both of them have their social status to

inure them somewhat from the effects of Giovanni’s

seductions, Zerlina has only her own sexual wiles to stave

off the potential disaster wrought by Giovanni’s attentions.

She is endangered in a very real way. Though

Giovanni doesn’t threaten her life, her ability to live

happily with her husband, Masetto, is threatened, and

her ability to live as a member of her society is in peril,

too. Should Masetto reject her, what recourse would she

have as a “spoiled” woman in her time and place? Very

little. So if Zerlina uses her own powers of seduction

upon Masetto to smooth the path to happiness and

security for them both, there is little to compare with

Giovanni’s game-playing.

One of the characteristics of a great work of art is that

it offers enough depth for future generations to find

relevance and meaning in it for their own time. Modern

analysis of his operas was hardly on Mozart’s mind when

he was commissioned by the opera house in Prague to

write a comedy in 1787. Prague was eager to repeat the

success of The Marriage of Figaro, and Mozart was

anxious to oblige. Clearly, the librettist had to be Da

Ponte. The subject must have appealed to him. He was a

close friend of Giovanni’s spiritual brother, Casanova, and

had quite a reputation as a romantic rogue himself. But

he was busy. Da Ponte was also already at work on two

other libretti—one for Salieri and one for Martín, in

addition to his duties to Emperor Josef in Vienna. As an

imperial employee, he was obligated to let the Emperor

continued …

12


know what he was doing and the Emperor, in his

characteristically paternal way, was reluctant to allow

him to write three libretti at once. Da Ponte convinced

him, saying, “I shall write in the evenings for Mozart,

imagining that I am reading the Inferno; mornings I shall

work for Martín and pretend I am studying Petrarch; my

afternoons will be for Salieri—he is my Tasso!” For two

months, Da Ponte worked 12 hours a day, dandling a

young muse who fed and entertained him in fine

Giovanni-esque style. After 63 days Mozart’s and

Martín’s libretti were complete and Salieri’s was near

completion. This Herculean task diminishes somewhat

when we realize that only one of these libretti was wholly

original. Martín’s was merely a translation and Mozart’s

was a “re-write,” albeit with some additions. Still, this

tremendous output is impressive.

Meanwhile, Mozart was at work on the music. There

were some peculiar limitations with which he had to

work. The cast had to be small—Prague was a modest

company with limited means. The Commendatore and

Masetto were both the same bass at the Prague premiere.

While he knew many of his singers from the Prague

Figaro, it is possible he was writing blind for the tenor,

which was not his custom. Nevertheless, he and Da

Ponte churned out Don Giovanni like professionals.

This professionalism is important to remember. Most

great artists are not thinking of posterity when they write.

Mozart and Da Ponte certainly were not. “They were

working for an immediate success, a job well done,

performers well satisfied, and perhaps some performances

elsewhere … they regarded their work as ephemerally as

today any journalist does.” (William Mann). It is easy for

modern listeners and interpreters to forget that, at the

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time, they were just working artists. This reality makes

Giovanni’s failure in Vienna more understandable.

After a very successful opening in Prague, Don

Giovanni was taken to Vienna. Mozart even adapted

his opera for Viennese audiences, but according to the

Emperor, it proved “too much for the teeth of my

Viennese.” (To which Mozart is reported to have muttered—one

assumes under his breath—“Then let them

chew on it.”) The Emperor himself grew bored. When

given in Italy, the Italians resented having to work so hard

to “get” it. The Italian prima donna sneered, “I can

understand nothing of this cursed music.” She was not

alone. Although Mozart’s music was always attractive and

masterful, it was often on the “cutting edge,” and Don

Giovanni, with its shifting dance meters in the first act

finale and its unprecedented harmonic language, was

more than many of Mozart’s contemporaries could

comprehend. Though its action was popular, its music

was not particularly loved in Mozart’s lifetime.

It would take the Romantic movement to embrace Don

Juan as the standard bearer of independent thought and

action for the opera to achieve immortality. Through the

richness of the characters and the sublimity of Mozart’s

music, Don Giovanni will never leave us, offering each

generation the opportunity to be seduced by whichever

mask of Don Juan as is most relevant for us to insist he

wear. For in the end, Don Juan lives for his audience, be

it one woman or the whole world. He will be whatever

we choose, as long as we respond. And respond we do.

Every time.

— Alexis Hamilton

13


Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica after Victorien Sardou’s play La Tosca.

PorTlanD oPera PreMiere

January 1967

WorlD PreMiere

Teatro Costanzi, Rome: January 14, 1900

suggesTeD recorDings

PUCCINI: TOSCA

Maria Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano, Tito Gobbi

Victor De Sabata (Conductor), EMI

Zinka Milanov, Jussi Bjoerling, Leonard Warren,

Erich Leinsdorf (Conductor), RCA

Musical highlights available at portlandopera.org

for your aDDeD enJoyMenT

Previews

Christopher Mattaliano hosts a preview of

Puccini’s Tosca. Tune in for musical excerpts and

Chris’ interesting perspective on this opera.

November 3, 2012 1:00pm | All Classical 89.9 FM

“Saturday Matinee” www.allclassical.org

The casT

Tosca

KARA SHAY

THOMSON*

cavaraDossi

ROGER

HONEYWELL

scarPia

MARK

SCHNAIBLE*

sacrisTan

THOMAS

HAMMONS*

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

angeloTTi

NICHOLAS

NELSON

sPoleTTa

MATTHEW

GRILLS

Tune in for an in-depth preview of the show:

January 24, 2013, 6:00pm | All Classical 89.9 FM

“Northwest Previews” www.allclassical.org

Enjoy a lively, 50-minute sneak peek of Tosca:

January 27, 2013, 2:00pm at Multnomah County

Central Library, Collins Gallery | Free

Opera Insights

Informative music and history talks with musicologist

Bob Kingston one hour prior to each performance.

First Balcony | Free

Back Talk

After each performance, join General Director

Christopher Mattaliano for a Q&A session about the

performance. Guests include performers, conductors

and directors.

Orchestra Level | Free

ProDucTion sPonsor

sciarrone

ANDRÉ

CHIANG

Jailer

ANTON

BELOV*

sTage DirecTor

DAVID

KNEUSS*

conDucTor

JOSEPH

COLANERI *Portland Opera debut

14


The PloT

act i — The Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle in

Rome, 1800. Noon.

Angelotti, a political prisoner, has escaped from Castel

Sant’Angelo and takes cover in the church where his

sister, the Marchesa d’Attavanti, has left him the key to

the family chapel. He is discovered by the painter Mario

Cavaradossi, a liberal sympathizer, who is painting an

altarpiece. His portrait of Mary Magdalena is inspired by

the Marchesa, whom he has observed in prayer. When

the singer Floria Tosca, Cavaradossi’s lover, arrives, she

recognizes the blue-eyed Magdalena as none other than

the Marchesa herself. Tosca jealously insists that the

figure be made to look more like her dark-eyed self, and

leaves the church. Soon after, a cannon shot from the

prison announces Angelotti’s escape and Cavaradossi

hurries him away to hide in his country villa.

The Sacristan tells the choir of the reported defeat of

Napoleon at Marengo, to be celebrated with a High Mass.

Their jubilation is interrupted by Scarpia, the feared Chief

of Police, who arrives with his men to search for Angelotti.

Scarpia finds a fan with the Attavanti crest, part of a

disguise left for Angelotti, as Tosca returns to tell Mario

that she will sing for the Queen that night at the Palazzo

Farnese. Scarpia uses her jealousy to sow seeds of doubt

about her lover and the Marchesa; as Iago used a handkerchief

to manipulate Othello, he will trap Tosca with

the Marchesa’s fan.

act i i — Scarpia’s apartments at the Farnese Palace.

That evening.

Scarpia desires Tosca, and hopes to use the arrest of her

lover to force her to his will. As he dines in his room, he

hears Tosca’s voice rising from the celebrations below.

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christopher mattaliano

general director

Spoletta arrives from Cavaradossi’s villa, having failed to

find the escaped Angelotti. He has, however, arrested

Cavaradossi and brings him before Scarpia.

Tosca, having been to the villa as well, knows that

Scarpia was lying about Mario’s infidelity. She also knows

the hiding place of Angelotti, which she reveals when

Mario screams under torture. Scarpia proposes a bargain

to Tosca: If she will yield to him, he will spare Cavaradossi,

and give them both safe conduct out of Rome. But, for

political reasons, he first must hold a mock execution.

Tosca agrees, but as Scarpia prepares to collect his reward,

she snatches a knife from the table and kills him.

act iii — The battlements of Castel Sant’Angelo,

high above the Tiber. Near dawn.

Cavaradossi, awaiting execution, recalls his first night

with Tosca — when the stars shone just as they do now.

Tosca arrives with the safe-conduct letter, and describes

how she obtained it. A carriage is waiting, and she has

brought money and her jewels. She explains that Mario

will have to feign death at the hands of a mock firingsquad,

and coaches his acting.

The firing-squad, however, is real; Scarpia has worked

his evil from beyond the grave. Pursued by Scarpia’s

minions, who have discovered her deed, Tosca calls on

her tormentor to meet her before the Throne of God,

and leaps to her death.

Courtesy of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

15


giacoMo Puccini: The Man anD his Music (1858 – 1924)

“… The Almighty touched me with his little finger and said, ‘Write for the theatre— mind,

only for the theatre.’” — Giacomo Puccini

Son of composer Michele

Puccini and the fifth

musician in his line, Giacomo

Puccini was born in

Lucca, Italy on December 22,

1858. The Puccinis were a

fixture in provincial Lucca,

having served as organists

and choirmasters in St.

Martin’s Cathedral for 100

years. The post was a

hereditary one, and the

eldest Puccini boy of each

generation served the cathedral as a birthright.

At five years old, Puccini lost his father. His musical

training fell to his uncle, Fortunato Magi, who did not

find him the most apt pupil. Puccini was often distracted;

he skipped school and didn’t practice. His uncle found he

had “neither the ear … nor the calling of a musician.”

But he had a hereditary role to fill and began study with

Carlo Angeloni under whom he made great progress.

Puccini played organ for the churches of Lucca, taught

music to the town’s children, and determined that he

would make his way in music.

Before he was 18, Puccini entered a music competition

with a hymn he had composed in honor of King Victor

Emmanuel II. It was returned to Puccini with comments

from the committee chair urging him to improve his

musical technique.

Far from crushed, young Puccini was still resolved to

pursue music and, undaunted by distance and poverty, he

walked the 25 miles to Pisa to attend a performance of

Verdi’s new masterpiece, Aida. Aida hit the aimless youth

like a bolt of lightning. He would compose operas!

Puccini renewed his musical studies with vigor. He soon

exhausted his opportunities in Lucca and turned his sights

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christopher mattaliano

general director

to the Milan Conservatory. He received a study grant

from Queen Margaret of Savoy and moved to Milan.

Accepted to the conservatory, Puccini applied himself

to his studies diligently enough to earn him the respect

of his teachers: Antonio Bazzini, director of the Conservatory,

and Amilcare Ponchielli, composition teacher and

successful opera composer in his own right. These two

invited young Puccini to their homes, introduced him to

Milan’s musical and literary luminaries, and, most of all,

encouraged and challenged him to write music.

In 1883, at 25, Puccini graduated from the Conservatory.

He had received critical praise for his final project

and decided to enter a competition requiring a one-act

opera. Ponchielli put Puccini in touch with Ferdinando

Fontana, who had a libretto ready to be set. The composer

liked the story, a fantastic tale of a faithless young

man cursed by a coven of women who died abandoned

by their lovers. He set it to music and submitted the

finished opera, Le Villi, to the committee. Unfortunately,

when the contest results were announced, no mention of

Puccini’s piece was made. All was not lost, however.

Puccini’s one-act found a champion in Giulio Ricordi and

premiered in 1884 with a favorable response. Ricordi had

a keen awareness of talent—even talent as raw as the

inexperienced Puccini’s—and he wanted to foster the

career of this promising youth. He bought the rights for

Le Villi and commissioned another opera from the

fledgling composer. This was quite an opportunity since

Ricordi owned one of the great publishing companies

and was, in fact, Verdi’s own publisher. Ricordi’s interest

in Puccini flourished and bloomed into a life-long

association between the publishing house and composer.

Puccini started work on his new opera, Edgar, but

distractions tore him from his work and slowed his

composition. He had met his future wife, Elvira Gemignani.

Unfortunately, she was still married to one of Puccini’s old

continued …

16


classmates, and the lovers created a firestorm of controversy

when Elvira chose to leave her husband and join

Puccini in Milan.

It took four years for Puccini to compose Edgar. The

libretto didn’t speak to Puccini’s peculiar genius for “little

souls” in extraordinary situations. The opera received

tepid praise, but Ricordi saw improvement from Le Villi

and pressed on with Puccini, commissioning another

opera, the subject of which he left to the composer.

Puccini decided upon Manon Lescaut, a risky topic, as

it had already been set by Massenet with great success.

Still, it touched Puccini, and he opened his version in

1893. Audience reception was wildly enthusiastic. Never

again was Puccini to garner such accolades. Manon

Lescaut gave him international notoriety and Ricordi’s

faith was well-rewarded.

Next came La Bohème, based upon Mürger’s novel,

Scènes de la vie de bohème. Puccini was confident and

sure of his dramatic sensibility, causing him to be

maddeningly specific with his librettists, Illica and Giacosa.

His specificity paid off. Bohème was a public triumph.

Critics may have pooh-poohed it, but the public acclaim

quickly swept it from theater to theater, country to

country and continent to continent. It remains today,

unequivocally, a masterpiece of the operatic stage.

Puccini was on top. He ventured into verismo with

Tosca, a vivid, disturbing, slightly sadistic opera. The

public was enthralled. Seven curtain calls rocked the

theater. Indeed, Tosca was an unqualified success

despite the critics’ harping on the lurid subject matter.

After Tosca came the much-anticipated Madama

Butterfly. Every indication pointed to another victory for

the composer, but the premiere garnered laughter during

Puccini’s carefully constructed scenes, boos and jeers so

raucous as to beg credulity. Many feel that Puccini’s rivals

orchestrated the debacle. Humbled, Puccini re-worked his

Butterfly, the opera he felt to be his masterpiece. Its

second opening fared better than the first. Audiences

roared their approval, giving Puccini twelve curtain calls.

Butterfly was vindicated.

While his professional life was a triumph, Puccini’s

personal life kept descending into painful chaos. His

wife, Elvira, continued to have violently jealous outbursts

and she accused a maid in their home of seducing her

husband. While Puccini had had myriad infidelities, their

maid, Doria Manfredi, was not one of them. Elvira was

adamant, however, and her outspoken accusations

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and denunciations led to the suicide of the persecuted

Doria. Doria’s family sued Elvira and she was fined and

sentenced to prison time. Puccini managed to avoid this

humiliation by settling with the family. He did so,

however, at great personal cost; he fell into a deep

despair and his emotional state was such that he could

no longer write.

To flee his depression and his harpy wife, Puccini sailed

for New York. Here he saw The Girl of the Golden West,

a play by David Belasco, whose earlier work had inspired

Madama Butterfly. Excited by the theatrical possibilities of

the Wild West, Puccini approached Ricordi and got an

agreement. The result, La fanciulla del West, was another

phenomenal success. Following this, Puccini wrote La

Rondine, which was also praised, but Puccini felt at odds

with himself and the piece. He felt old. His friend and

mentor, Ricordi, had died, and he had a less cordial

relationship with Ricordi’s son. La Rondine felt as if he

were repeating himself; World War I had engulfed the

planet, and Puccini needed to change.

He devoured other composers’ scores and kept abreast

of the new musical language of the 20th century. He

produced Il Trittico, a series of three one-act operas. The

public accepted and liked it, but the critics were unnerved

by the maestro’s new vocabulary and remained cool. The

press felt Puccini couldn’t, at 61, write better than Bohème

and Butterfly. Puccini knew better and restlessly cast

about for a plot which would allow him to explore his

brave new ideas more fully. He had absorbed Stravinsky,

Webern, Berg, Schoenberg, and Debussy. Finally Turandot

presented itself to him and he feverishly began work on

what was to become his swan song.

By now, though, Puccini was ill, complaining of throat

pain and constant coughing. Eventually, he was diagnosed

with throat cancer. He was very sick and feverishly

working on Turandot’s final duet when he passed away

in November 1924 after a debilitating treatment regimen.

The world mourned his passing. La Scala cancelled

performances, and a funeral procession in his honor

was attended by thousands.

Puccini’s legacy is the interweaving of music with

drama so seamlessly that even as his most elegantly

crafted music is played, the drama of the moment

supersedes all else. He is a sublime communicator,

reaching audiences across the years and continuing

to arrest our hearts with a dramatic perfection wholly

accessible and eternal.

— Alexis Hamilton

17


The Making of Tosca

Rarely do I feel the need to insert myself into an essay,

but I feel I must defend both the artistic worth of Puccini’s

Tosca and the honor of those of us who dearly love it.

And I do so dearly love it! For me, it is opera writ large,

the violent, passionate, sordid story a most magnificent

vehicle for the richness and variety of Puccini’s savagely

expressive score, a grand foray into the red meat, blood

and guts of Italian opera. As a first opera, it can hardly be

beat, clocking in at a lean, mean two and a half hours,

chock full of emotions so big and raw that if the characters

didn’t sing, they might explode! Tosca makes such

sense as both an opera and a piece of theater. It may

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christopher mattaliano

general director

“In thirty years, or—if there is a god watching … —even before, Tosca, together with all the other operas of its type,

will be an obscure and uncertain memory of a time of confusion in which music was subtracted, by the logic of history,

from its own dominion, from its own laws, and from common sense … [and someone] will remember this about the

third act of Tosca: … everything was there, except for music.”

— The Rivista teatrale italiana 1901 review of Tosca

not be The Marriage of Figaro (what is?), but for sheer

kick-ya-in-the-gut effectiveness, I’ll pay for Tosca any day.

Of all Puccini’s operas, none has garnered such

contempt and open hostility as his “shabby little shocker,”

Tosca. When it opened in 1900, it was almost universally

reviled by critics “sickened by the cheapness and

emptiness” of the score. But the public has roundly and

consistently denied detractors with its enthusiastic

response, immortalizing the fiery Tosca, her ardent lover

and their demonic nemesis in the imaginations of all

who see the opera.

continued …

Tosca: ©Duane Morris

18


It is not as if murders, unholy lust, and rape—not to

mention sexual objectification—had not been seen in

operas before. Don Giovanni, Il Trovatore, Rigoletto, and

Lucia di Lammermoor, to name but a handful, certainly

contain “objectionable material.” Love, lust and murder

are, after all, the blood and sinew of opera. “What some

people find disconcerting and others engrossing about

Tosca is the diminution of aesthetic distance.” (William

Ashbrook) The story is taut. There is little “spectacle”—

what little there is serves as a backdrop to the action,

highlighting Scarpia’s devout hypocrisy or Tosca’s

ill-founded hope. No genteel poetry or subtle innuendo

softens the impact of Scarpia’s depravity. He says, “What’s

the difference? Spasms of hate or spasms of love,” a

shocking sentiment for any time or place. The language

throughout is blunt, the intentions clear—the outcome is

the only surprise. This immediacy is what attracted Puccini

to Victorien Sardou’s play. As he wrote his publisher,

Ricordi, “in … Tosca I see the opera that I need: one

without excessive proportion or a decorative spectacle … ”

Puccini had just produced his first full-scale opera,

Edgar, and, as would become the story of his career,

was eagerly in pursuit of a likely libretto. After seeing

Sardou’s play La Tosca in 1889, Puccini wrote his publisher,

Ricordi, begging him to secure the rights. However, it

would be another seven years before Puccini found

himself prepared to pick up his idea again, and by this

time the playwright Sardou had sold the rights to Alberto

Franchetti, another of Ricordi’s protégés. In fact, Illica

(who had collaborated with Puccini on La Bohème, and

had discouraged Puccini from pursuing La Tosca), had

already fleshed out a libretto. Puccini learned of the

arrangement, and, though still composing La Bohème,

exerted his influence to secure the necessary permissions

for himself.

The events surrounding his subsequent acquisition are

somewhat shady.

Ricordi and Illica approached Franchetti and convinced

him that the subject was far too violent and repugnant to

become an opera. The political intrigue which served as

the opera’s skeletal structure was far too involved to

snare the contemporary audience. Wouldn’t it be better,

they reasoned, to abandon the project? Evidently, this

underhanded approach worked. Franchetti relinquished

control of the rights. The next day, Puccini procured them.

Franchetti subsequently told his children that he had

turned over the project because Puccini “had more time.”

Puccini turned Illica’s libretto over to another old

collaborator, Giacosa, for versification. As was typical of

him, Giacosa objected to Illica’s scenario. There was too

much plot, the structure was monotonous. He could not

work without hearing some of Puccini’s music (Ricordi

had forbidden any music to be played, lest some melody

escape and give the public a preview of Puccini’s new

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masterpiece). Giacosa threatened to quit. He did quit.

In short, the familiar shenanigans engendered by

Puccini’s artistic process occurred. Nevertheless, by 1898

Puccini had a full libretto in his hands and set to work full tilt.

As always, Puccini was obsessed with authenticity.

He traveled to Paris to meet Sardou and was baffled by

the playwright’s complete lack of regard for accuracy.

Appalled by Sardou’s ignorance of Rome’s topography, he

wrote, “… Sardou wished the course of the Tiber to pass

between St. Peter’s and the Castello!! I pointed out to

him that flumen [a channel] flows past on the other side

… and he, calm as a fish, answered, ‘Oh, that doesn’t

matter!’” Disgusted by Sardou’s single-minded concern

for dramatic effect, Puccini traveled to Rome in his

quest for facts. He learned the pitch of St. Peter’s big

bell; he plumbed his priest friends for the melodies of the

plainsong chants used in the cathedral; he examined the

uniforms of the Swiss Guard. Puccini insisted that Rome

should recognize herself in his Tosca.

It was perhaps this commitment to “verismo,” or

the “truth,” that helped to damn Tosca in the critics’

eyes. No discussion of Tosca is complete without at least

touching upon the topic of verismo opera as a genre.

Verismo opera grew out of a literary movement which

tried to objectively portray societal ills—particularly

poverty. In 1890, Mascagni crossed the operatic Rubicon

with his verismo masterpiece Cavalleria Rusticana, and

Italian opera was forever changed.

Verismo was a short-lived genre, lasting only about

thirty years, but it was extremely controversial in musical

circles. Most critics in the 19 th century and today insist

that music cannot be “real.” At most it can be descriptive

(Musica descrittiva), imitating the sounds of natural

phenomena, as Wagner and Verdi did with their storms

or as Leoncavallo did by imitating birds in Pagliacci. By its

nature, opera is un-real. People do not sing in real life,

and when a composer sacrifices melody on the altar of

realism by creating naturalistic dialogue, or using sounds

in the orchestra (bells, for instance), he is “killing song.”

One can appreciate the point. In Tosca, Puccini tempts

us with the beginnings of myriad delicious snippets of

melody, only to abandon them without development,

leaving the audiences longing for more. That the sacrifice

is amply compensated for by a music drama of exceeding

swiftness and power hardly satisfied the proponents of

the old school’s soaring Italian arias.

Giuseppe Samoggia, a prominent critic of Puccini’s day,

worried that in an effort to create a realistic soundscape,

the music in new works has tended to eliminate itself …

to cede its place to parlati and to the explosions of an

orchestral artillery that [resolves] dramatic situations of

every genre the same way: it is not rare to find entire

scenes … in which song is lacking and orchestra fills the

space …” So the critical objection to Puccini’s Tosca was

continued …

19


part of a much larger contextual debate on the nature

of music and opera, which in turn colored the vehemence

of critical disdain heaped upon a particularly successful

example of a reviled genre. In other words, it was less

about Tosca itself than what Tosca might represent to

the operatic art form.

It wasn’t just the music that many critics found

disturbing, however. By the time he had completed the

opera, Puccini had made some radical changes to the

libretto Illica had originally conceived. He replaced

Cavaradossi’s romantic paean to Art and Life with an

agonizing lament to his lover, Tosca. For Cavaradossi

facing death, only human love holds value. At the end,

even art has lost its significance. This change caused

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

Tosca: ©Duane Morris

many critics to accuse Puccini of “cheapening” the action.

An alternate view is that, in fact, this is much more in

keeping with Puccini’s own rather agnostic view of life.

More disturbing than this to Ricordi was the lack of a

“transcendental love duet” in the third act. He wrote the

composer, accusing him of “reducing to …pygmies” his

characters by having them engage in a “scrappy and

modest melody” so fragmented that it would “cancel

out the splendid impression of Act I.” Puccini wrote

back, explaining that his writing here was thoughtful

and calculated (as always) and that the fragmented

duet was “intentional.” “This cannot be a uniform and

tranquil situation as in other love duets,” Puccini reasoned.

After all, Tosca has just presented herself before

her condemned lover after murdering her would-be

rapist. Her experience has been transformative, but she

still must help Cavaradossi escape. In her preoccupied

state and Cavaradossi’s horrified response to her revelation,

there is little time for expansive musical lovemaking.

In the end, Puccini prevailed. The premiere occurred

on January 14, 1900 in Rome at the Teatro Costanzi.

While the opera was a success (7 curtain calls—three for

Puccini alone), the proceedings were marred by a bomb

threat 15 minutes before the curtain. During the opening

chords, there was a disturbance in the audience, and the

conductor bolted for his dressing room. Fortunately, the

ruckus was not terrorists, but disgruntled patrons

disturbed by latecomers. The maestro was persuaded to

return and the opera proceeded uneventfully. As usual,

the critics were critical and the audiences ecstatic. Tosca,

the character conceived as a vehicle for Sarah Bernhardt,

had been immortalized by Puccini. He had transformed a

19 th century melodrama into the first modern tragedy of a

new age. The swift and brutal violence, the complexity of

the characters, and the lack of easy answers, communicate

directly to the heart of the ambiguities burgeoning in

the newly-turned 20 th century. Puccini’s genius is that

Tosca continues to speak to the ambiguities of the 21 st .

— Alexis Hamilton

20


Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

Libretto by Giacomo Rossi based on an outline by Aaron Hill after Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata.

PorTlanD oPera PreMiere

March 2013

WorlD PreMiere

Queen’s Theatre, London: February 24, 1711

suggesTeD recorDings

HANDEL: RINALDO

Vivica Genaux, Miah Persson, Lawrence Zazzo,

Inga Kalna, James Rutherford, Christophe Dumaux,

Dominique Visse

René Jacobs (Conductor), Harmonia Mundi

for your aDDeD enJoyMenT

Previews

Christopher Mattaliano hosts a preview of

Handel’s Rinaldo. Tune in for musical excerpts

and Chris’ interesting perspective on this opera.

November 10, 2012, 1:00pm | All Classical 89.9 FM

“Saturday Matinee” www.allclassical.org

The casT

alMirena

SHARIN

APOSTOLOU

arMiDa

LINDSAY

OHSE

rinalDo

CAITLIN

MATHES

eusTaZio

HANNAH

PENN

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

goffreDo

MATTHEW

GRILLS

arganTe

ANDRÉ

CHIANG

Tune in for an in-depth preview of the show:

March 7, 2013, 6:00pm | All Classical 89.9 FM

“Northwest Previews” www.allclassical.org

Enjoy a lively, 50-minute sneak peek of Rinaldo:

March 10, 2013, 2:00pm at Multnomah County

Central Library, Collins Gallery | Free

Opera Insights

Informative music and history talks with

musicologist Bob Kingston one hour prior

to each performance. Orchestra | Free

Back Talk

After each performance, join General Director

Christopher Mattaliano for a Q&A session about

the performance. Guests include performers,

conductors and directors.

Orchestra Level | Free

ProDucTion sPonsor

Mago / heralD

NICHOLAS

NELSON

sTage DirecTor

CHAS

RADER-SHIEBER*

conDucTor

GARY

WEDOW* *Portland Opera debut

21


The PloT

act i — Jerusalem is besieged by the army of Goffredo

(the historical Godfrey of Bouillon), accompanied by his

brother Eustazio and his daughter Almirena. Goffredo

promises the knight Rinaldo that he will bestow

Almirena’s hand on him when the city is taken. Argante,

king of Jerusalem, now appears to ask Goffredo for a

three-day truce, to which the Christian leader agrees.

Armida, Argante’s lover, is queen of Damascus and a

powerful sorceress. Spirits have revealed to her that the

besiegers’ victory will depend on the support of Rinaldo:

she will therefore undertake to remove him from the

field. To this end she abducts Almirena. Eustazio advises

Rinaldo to seek the counsel of the Christian Sorcerer.

act i i — Eustazio, Rinaldo and Goffredo have taken ship

to go to the Sorcerer. As they are nearing their destination

a boat appears with a disguised Armida on board.

She invites Rinaldo to join her, saying she will take him

to Almirena. Despite the opposition of Goffredo and

Eustazio, he follows her.

In Armida’s enchanted palace, Almirena laments her

fate. Argante declares his love for her, promising to

prove it by helping her to escape.

Rinaldo is brought before Armida, and asks her to

restore Almirena to him. Armida becomes enamored

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

christopher mattaliano

general director

of the knight, but he rejects her advances. In order to

seduce him, Armida takes on the form of Almirena,

but once she reappears in her own guise Rinaldo flees.

Still hoping to trick him, Armida transforms herself into

Almirena once more. Now Argante appears: taken in

by the deception, he promises “Almirena” he will free

her from the bonds of cruel Armida. The latter, furious,

returns to her own form, and declares that Argante can

no longer count on her magic powers to defend Jerusalem.

Argante runs off.

act iii — Goffredo and Eustazio reach the Sorcerer’s

cave, at the foot of the mountain on whose summit is

situated Armida’s magic palace, defended by monsters.

The Sorcerer presents them with magic wands, which

enable them to overcome the monsters and reach

Armida’s garden, where the latter is about to kill Almirena

in order to be revenged on Rinaldo. The magic wands

make Armida and the monsters disappear. Almirena,

Rinaldo, Goffredo and Eustazio sing of their joy, and then

decide to attack Jerusalem the next day. Argante and

Armida are reconciled and make common cause against

their enemies, but are defeated by Goffredo’s troops.

Rinaldo can now marry Almirena. Armida and Argante

are converted to Christianity and declare they too will

marry, whereupon Goffredo grants them their freedom.

22


MeeT The coMPoser: george friDeric hanDel (1685-1759)

“He is the greatest composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head and kneel before his tomb.”

Born in Halle-in-

Saxon, Germany

and completing

his musical education

in Italy, George

Frideric Handel was

to become the most

celebrated English

composer of his

time, still standing

alongside Purcell and

Britten as the most

beloved of English

composers. Finding

himself in London at a time when England had lost, with

Purcell, its coherent musical voice, Handel was, with his

operas and his English language oratorios, able to provide

cosmopolitan London music equal to its status as a world

power. He was loved during his lifetime and his music

was considered by his contemporaries to be not merely

great but the greatest. His appeal is timeless, populist and

immediate, even at the distance of 300 years. As Samuel

Barber put it, “Handel is so great and so simple that no

one but a professional musician is unable to understand

him.” While an amusing quote, there is truth to it—

Handel is so capable that he exhibits genius by creating

masterful effects with the simplest means. One listen

to the remarkable joy and exultation of the “Halleluiah

Chorus” proves this point.

Given his musical genius, it is hard to imagine that

Handel’s father preferred him to be a lawyer. A musical

career was not an esteemed one in Halle and Handel’s

father, Georg Handel, was a rather severe, serious minded

man, a great deal older than Handel’s mother who was

the daughter of a Lutheran minister and Georg’s second

wife. Handel’s father was a barber-surgeon, with a royal

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

— Ludwig van Beethoven

christopher mattaliano

general director

post. We know very little about Handel’s boyhood with

surety, but from John Mainwaring, who in 1760 published

a book about Handel entitled Memoirs, we have

several interesting anecdotes that modern scholars have

verifi ed.

One is that, despite his father denying young Handel

access to instruments, the boy’s talent was precocious

and prodigious, leading him to practice in secret on a forgotten

clavichord in his father’s attic. Another is that the

nine-year-old Handel, contrary to his father’s expressed

wishes, set out to follow the old man on a requisite

visit to Handel the Elder’s employer, the Duke of Saxe-

Weissenfels. The boy set out on foot after his father’s

carriage, which, delayed by the cavernous ruts in the road,

was soon overtaken by the determined youngster. With

no other option, his father brought him to the Duke’s

manor, and there, in rather murky circumstances, the

Duke overheard the boy playing the organ. So impressed

was he by the child that he encouraged his father to see

about the boy’s musical education. The suggestions of a

Duke were not to be denied and forced the older Handel

to acquiesce to his son’s desire to study music, although,

not to the exclusion of law. Under the expert tutelage of

Wilhelm Zachau, young Handel began to compose at age

ten with a talent rivaling that later prodigy Mozart.

When Handel was 12 his father died, giving him

more freedom to pursue his art, but Handel still entered

university studying both law and music. Here he met a

great and true friend in Georg Philipp Telemann, another

gifted composer. Telemann proved an infl uence

on some of Handel’s early church cantatas, and Handel

often “borrowed” Telemann’s themes and melodies to

give him inspiration when inspiration was wanting. Given

a chance, Handel left the law school and with the help

of Johann Mattheson began playing second violin for the

continued …

23


newly opened opera house in Hamburg. His keyboard

talents quickly earned him the more prestigious role

of accompanist. Here Handel premiered his first opera,

Almira, in 1704. When his second opera, Nero, failed in

1705, Handel decided on Italy as the place to continue his

musical studies, and by 1706 he was wowing the Italians

as both an organist and a composer.

In Italy, Handel made many friends, among them the

famous harpsichordist Domenico Scarlatti, Alessandro

Scarlatti, Corelli and Steffani. Besides some amusing

anecdotes, little is known of Handel’s actual time in Italy,

but much is known of Italy’s impact upon Handel. By the

time he left Italy in 1710 he was a recognized master, in

demand in courts all over Europe. His first such position

was in Hanover; but Hanover proved too provincial for

such a talented young man, and Handel often stretched

his leaves of absence beyond what was, by any measurement,

reasonable. By the autumn of 1710 Handel was

once again on sabbatical, this time in England, whose

operatic scene was dismal and chaotic, ripe for Handel’s

talent. He embarked on his remarkably fruitful career

which included 42 operas, three music dramas, myriad

adaptations of others’ works, the oratorios we are most

familiar with today including the “Messiah” and “Esther,”

in addition to a dazzling amount of orchestral music.

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

Like Mozart and Britten, Handel was one of the handful

of composers who wrote multiple works in all of the

genres available to them at the time of their writing.

While there was some overlap between Handel’s opera

composing and his oratorio composing, there appears

to have been a very gradual weaning away from Italian

opera to oratorio in the late 1730s into the 1740s. He

composed his last opera in 1741. Later that year he

composed his most beloved work, the “Messiah,” in a

fire of inspiration from August 22 to its completion on

September 12, 1741. Since that time, the “Messiah” has

enjoyed performances the world over, has never been out

of print and is almost universally recognized.

At the end of his life, Handel was celebrated as a

composer, as a humanitarian, and as the “great and good

Mr. Handel.” He was laid to rest in a huge public funeral

in Westminster Abbey in the Poet’s Corner in 1759.

Some 25 years later, poet William Cowper wrote of him:

“Remember Handel? Who, that was not born deaf as the

dead to harmony forgets or can, the more than Homer of

his age?”

— Alexis Hamilton

24


The Making of rinalDo

“This Opera is a Native of Your Majesty’s Dominions and was consequently born your Subject.”

When Handel arrived in London in 1710, he could

hardly have known what a fraught political landscape

he was alighting in—nor how the intense philosophical

wranglings of the fractious governmental classes were

being fought by proxy in London’s theaters. Italian opera

became a political football, and Handel an unintentional

participant in Whiggish polity.

All a twenty-something Handel wanted to do was

write an opera, get paid, and expand his fame and influence.

Why he chose England is, at first, unclear, but after

securing a post as Kapellmeister for the Hanover Court

(by Georg Ludwig, who would later become George I of

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

— Aaron Hill, in his preface to the English-language libretto of Rinaldo

christopher mattaliano

general director

England), he took a leave of absence and arrived in

England, ambitious, young and with a reputation for

genius which preceded him.

The state of English opera was in disarray in the early

18 th century, not having had a convincing indigenous

species of the genre since Henry Purcell’s Timon of Athens

in 1695. Even this, however, was not an opera in the

Italian sense of the word, completely sung. Purcell wrote

mostly semi-opera, which interspersed spoken dialogue

where Italian opera would have sung recitative. Politics

had long been a feature in English theater, and English

operas during the Restoration certainly emitted the whiff

Nicolas Poussin: Rinaldo and Armida 1629 / Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

continued …

25


of commentary from The Siege of Rhodes to King Arthur.

It may have been the partisan nature of English operas

that led to the suppression of a strong English language

operatic form, evolving into the 18 th century, effectively

opening the door for Italian opera to step right through

and take hold. Taste certainly played a role, with London

audiences introduced to Italian opera and developing

an appreciation for what some Whig critics deemed the

effeminate decadence of the art form. Whatever the case,

Handel walked into an operatic world ripe for his plucking

and quickly secured a commission to write an Italian

opera for the Queen’s Theatre.

Aaron Hill, impresario for the Queen’s Theatre, commissioned

Handel to write an Italian-style opera (in Italian) to

appeal directly to English audiences. In his preface to the

English language libretto of Rinaldo (available for sale at

all performances!) he explained:

“The deficiencies I found, or thought I found, in such

Italian Operas as have hitherto been introduced among

us were first: that they had been comps’d for tastes

and voices different from those who were to sing and

hear them on the English Stage; and secondly, that

wanting the machines and decorations, which bestow

so great a beauty on their appearance, they have been

heard and seen to considerable disadvantage.”

In Rinaldo, particularly the Rinaldo which Hill devised,

taking “a poet’s privilege and [varying] from the scheme

of Tasso” as he put it, he created a scenario to suit his

every need: The sensuous decadence and novelty of Italian

opera then developing into an exciting pastime for

wealthy Londoners, coupled with enough wonders (dragon-drawn

flaming chariot!) to keep his stage machinery

in the Haymarket admirably busy. He secured Giacomo

Rossi to versify his plot and the celebrated Mr. “Hendel”

to make “Musick [which] spoke so finely for itself, that

[he was] purposely silent on the subject …” Rinaldo was

wildly successful, enjoying fifteen performances in its initial

run, and several remounts (often modified by Handel),

as well as a brand new adaptation (again, supervised by

Handel) for revival in 1731. Indeed it was Rinaldo that

received the most performances of any of Handel’s

operas during his lifetime.

But how was it that Aaron Hill, at this time a twentyfour-year-old

“litterateur,” became the impresario at the

Queen’s Theatre in Haymarket, a Whig stronghold, employed

by the Tory Parliamentarian, William Collier? The

answer may be found in the rather complicated politics

of the time and the rivalry between Whigs and Tories for

control of opera in London.

In 1707 the Lord Chamberlain was persuaded to divide

the theatrical genres, declaring that the two acting troupes

in Drury Lane would merge and perform straight theater

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

in the theater there. The opera, meanwhile, would find

a new home in the Queen’s Theatre in Haymarket. The

Whigs controlled Parliament in 1707. As all theatrical

endeavors at the time, opera was controlled by the government

in the person of the Lord Chamberlain. In 1710,

the Tories gained the majority in Parliament and made

their move. While the patent to the Haymarket theater

was not revoked completely, the Tory Vice Chamberlain,

Thomas Coke, “a great lover of Musique and promoter of

operas,” handed control of day to day operations of the

Queen’s Theatre to William Collier, who, too busy for the

job, appointed Aaron Hill as his manager.

So, here was young dramatist Aaron Hill, full of ideas

about artistic unity (he objected in the strongest terms to

the random costuming common at the time, as well as

improbable/incoherent scenery, inappropriate to plot), in

charge of an opera company. This excess of dignity must

have been heady! But despite the new Tory management,

the patrons of the Queen’s Theatre were still Whigs and

the aristocratic and wealthy. Many Whig commentators

opposed Italian opera for its “Roman Catholicism, arbitrary

monarchy and corruption.” They also objected to its

perceived lack of any purpose besides … pleasure. The

battle for the heart of opera, according to historian Paul

Monod, “took place primarily within the Whig party” and

“Handel’s early operas became closely linked to issues of

Whig self-definition and efforts to impose new standards

on public art.”

Hill was ambitious and bright, and knew that he would

have to placate the Whiggish critics arrayed against him.

To those objecting to Italian opera on ideological grounds,

Hill fought fire with fire, undermining objections by creating

a story sure to appeal to those fearful of “foreign foppery.”

Hill used for the basis of Rinaldo, Torquato Tasso’s

poem, Gerusalem liberata, which had already received

treatment for the English theater by playwright John Dennis,

a notable loather of opera, which he characterized as

a “mere sensual Pleasure, which says nothing either to

enlighten our Understanding or convert the Will.” By

manipulating Tasso’s plot and adding his own details, Hill

attempted to circumvent the objections of Dennis and

his ilk. His opera was sufficiently martial, Christian and

democratic to please Whigs without offending Tories.

Handel’s music ensured popular success.

Handel is credited with writing Rinaldo in two weeks.

Rossi complained that he could barely keep up with the

lightning-quick genius of Handel. Handel’s speed was

a product of pragmatism. He didn’t have much time in

England before he must return to take up his duties in

Hanover, and he prosaically borrowed much of the lush

and tuneful score from himself, liberally lacing it with

arias from his other works. This worked somewhat to

his detriment in the minds of some critics, particularly

when the arias he selected don’t seem to entirely match

the situation at hand— one glaring example is Argante’s

continued …

26


entrance aria in Act I, when the great king, accompanied

by all martial pomp, sings of the “hissing snakes and

howls of Scylla.” Winton Dean and John Knapp, coauthors

of Handel’s Operas (1704-1726), estimate that

as much as two thirds of the opera was recycled and

adapted from his other works. No matter. The opera

opened on February 24, 1711 to instant popular success.

It was performed 47 times before it was retired in 1716,

only to rematerialize in 1731. Many of these performances

saw the score tinkered with by the composer for the

convenience of a given cast. Rinaldo secured a very

cordial relationship in the Haymarket for Handel, who for

a number of years wrote an opera every nine months for

the Queen’s (or King’s, depending upon who graced the

throne) Theatre.

Rinaldo was not universally pleasing, however. Champions

of English opera Joseph Addison (who had attempted an

English libretto) and Richard Steele tried to ridicule the

opera to its death in their publication, The Spectator,

objecting particularly to its splashy special effects and

castrato singers. They created a tempest in a teapot, but

did not affect the economic triumph of Rinaldo or the

position of Handel as the “Orpheus of his Age.”

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

Eleven short days after Rinaldo’s opening, Aaron Hill

was ousted as impresario at the Queen’s Theatre. The

spectacular effects and costumes had proved an excessive

burden for the theater’s receipts, and Hill found himself

on the hook for payment. He was soon embroiled in a

nasty legal battle with various London craftsmen, but he

did accomplish a rather remarkable feat. He introduced

England to the “great and good” Mr. Handel, and the

English embraced him utterly. The feeling seems to have

been mutual, as Handel returned to England in 1712 and

would end his days there.

How to explain the success of German composer in a

fiercely patriotic England? Perhaps The Musical Times of

1893 offers the best explanation when it said:

“Handel had the adaptability which often is a precious

companion of genius… No alien musician ever more

quickly saw what the people of this country required

or so promptly qualified himself to supply it. A German

among Germans, and an Italian among the Italians,

Handel was an Englishman among the English and, if

anything, bettered his model.”

— Alexis Hamilton

27


Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

Libretto by Arrigo Boito after Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor (1600–01) and Henry IV, parts 1 and 2

PorTlanD oPera PreMiere

May 1978

WorlD PreMiere

Teatro alla Scala, Milan: February 9, 1893

suggesTeD recorDings

VERDI: FALSTAFF

Tito Gobbi, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,

Nan Merriman, Anna Moffo, Rolando Panerai,

Fedora Barbieri, Tomaso Spataro

Herbert von Karajan (Conductor), EMI

Musical highlights available at portlandopera.org

for your aDDeD enJoyMenT

Destination Opera: From Music to Psyche

A unique partnership with the Oregon

Psychoanalytic Center, Destination Opera

explores the hidden subtexts of select operas

this season. David Tuoner, MD, joins

Alexis Hamilton, Manager of Education and

Outreach, to debate and discuss Falstaff.

May 17, 2013 | 7:00pm

Sherman Clay Pianos | 131 NW 13th Ave | Free

Previews

Christopher Mattaliano hosts a preview of Verdi’s

Falstaff. Tune in for musical excerpts and Chris’

The casT

naneTTa

SUSANNAH

BILLER*

alice forD

PAMELA

ARMSTRONG

DaMe Quickly

ANGELA

NIEDERLOH

Meg Page

CAITLIN

MATHES

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

fenTon

NICHOLAS

PHAN

barDolfo

MARCUS

SHELTON*

interesting perspective on this opera.

November 17, 2012, 1:00pm | All Classical FM

“Saturday Matinee” www.allclassical.org

Tune in for an in-depth preview of the show:

May 2, 2013, 6:00pm | All Classical 89.9 FM

“Northwest Previews” www.allclassical.org

Enjoy a lively, 50-minute sneak peek of Falstaff:

May 4, 2013, 2:00pm at Vancouver Library | Free

May 5, 2013, 2:00pm at Multnomah County

Central Library, Collins Gallery | Free

Opera Insights

Informative music and history talks with musicologist

Bob Kingston one hour prior to each performance.

First Balcony | Free

Back Talk

After each performance, join General Director

Christopher Mattaliano for a Q&A session about

the performance. Guests include performers,

conductors and directors.

Orchestra Level | Free

ProDucTion sPonsor

Dr. caius

CARL

HALVORSON

forD

WESTON

HURT

falsTaff

EDUARDO

CHAMA

PisTola

NICHOLAS

NELSON

sTage DirecTor

CHRISTOPHER

MATTALIANO

conDucTor

GEORGE

MANAHAN

*Portland Opera debut

28


The PloT

act i — At the Garter Inn, the bulky but irrepressible

John Falstaff, a knight fallen upon hard times, seals two

letters, both declaring his love: for Mrs. Alice Ford and for

Mrs. Margaret (Meg) Page. After an altercation with Dr.

Caius, who complains that Falstaff’s henchmen Bardolfo

and Pistola have robbed him during a drinking bout,

Falstaff gives the letters to the henchmen to deliver. They

refuse. Falstaff hands the letters to a page, then preaches

to the other pair an ironic sermon on the subject of honor,

after which he drives them out of the inn.

In the next scene, Alice and Meg meet, with Nanetta

(Alice’s daughter) and Mistress Quickly. The two wooed

ladies compare their love letters from Falstaff. Amused

and indignant, they decide to punish him. Ford, warned

by Bardolfo and Pistola of Falstaff’s wooing, has come

to the same decision independently. Nanetta, Ford and

young Fenton, in the midst of the confusion, repeat their

vows of love. Finally, the ladies send Mistress Quickly off

to the Garter Inn to deliver an invitation to Falstaff to visit

Mrs. Ford’s house, where a trap will be set for him.

act i i — Bardolfo and Pistola return to Falstaff, pretending

to be penitent. Then Mistress Quickly arrives with

messages of love both from Alice and Meg. Falstaff takes

both messages at face value and replies that he will

visit Alice, as she suggests, between two and three that

afternoon. When Quickly has left, Bardolfo and Pistola introduce

Ford under an assumed name. Offering Falstaff a

demijohn of Cyprus wine and a sum of money, Ford asks

the fat knight to grant him a favor—to seduce a lady who

has spurned his, Ford’s, advances. Her name is Alice. If

Falstaff succeeds, then perhaps a second lover can hope.

Falstaff accepts the presents and the assignment, assuring

the visitor that that project is already well under way. The

knight is to visit Alice very soon. In fact, he leaves Ford

alone in order to prepare for the appointment. In a monologue,

Ford gives full vent to his searing jealousy. When

Falstaff returns, they go out together, after some polite

skirmishing.

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

christopher mattaliano

general director

In Ford’s house, Alice, Meg and Quickly set the trap

for Falstaff. Nanetta is at first sad because she knows her

father wants her to marry the despicable Dr. Caius. But

when the others reassure her, she joins them in the fun.

Falstaff arrives, starts to pay court to Alice, but is soon

interrupted by Ford’s arrival. Falstaff hides first behind a

screen, then—with some squeezing—in a laundry hamper.

Nanetta and Fenton exploit the confusion to sing of their

love. Ford’s search, with the help of Bardolfo, Pistola, and

others, is intense but fruitless. In the end, the laundry

hamper containing Falstaff is emptied into the Thames,

beneath the window. Ford, seeing the knight’s discomfiture,

joins the others in hearty laughter.

Outside the Garter Inn, warming himself in the sunshine

after his dunking, Falstaff drinks some hot wine and

reflects on the sad state of the world. Mistress Quickly

comes in and is at first received with suspicion. But she

delivers Alice’s apologies for the mishap and an invitation

for the two of them to meet at midnight beneath the Oak

of Herne in Windsor Park. Quickly and Falstaff go into

the Inn to discuss the tryst further. The others, outside,

observe the success of their developing plan for revenge

on the fat knight. Finally, Ford promises Nanetta’s hand

to Caius, but the promise is overheard by Quickly, who is

determined to foil this match.

At midnight, in the moonlit park, Fenton and Nanetta

have a brief moment in which to express again their love.

Then Falstaff arrives, and after a short exchange with

Alice, is frightened and taunted by strange spirits (his

enemies and some local children, all in disguise). When

he discovers the identity of his tormenters, he turns on

them cleverly, insisting that it is his own wit that makes

them witty. Finally, Ford blesses two masked couples. To

his amazement, he discovers that he has paired Dr. Caius

with the masked Bardolfo, and Nanetta with the unwanted

Fenton. Ford good-naturedly accepts the previously

rejected son-in-law, and the scene ends with general

merriment as Falstaff, followed by the others, declares

that everything in the world is jest.

29


MeeT The coMPoser: giusePPe verDi (1813-1901)

“That’s it! That’s the one! To work at once!”

A kind of romantic mythology surrounds Giuseppe Verdi.

His appellations “The Bear of Busseto,” “The Grand Old

Man of Italian Opera,” and “Signor Maestro” suggest

a larger than life construct. The stories of Verdi’s humble

beginnings, his rise to leading Italian composer, parliamentarian,

voice of the people and revolutionary

propagandist are exciting and inspirational—if embellished

a bit by a man whose achievements needed no

gilding. For that reason, and his distaste for biographers,

there are perceptions about Verdi and his life that are not

entirely true.

Verdi celebrated his birthday on October 9 th . Two

different sources cite October 10th. We know that the

year was 1813, though some of Verdi’s letters claim that

he thought the year was 1814. The place was the village

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

— Verdi, on the feeling of fi nding the right libretto

Giuseppe Verdi by Giovanni Boldini, 1886/ Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

christopher mattaliano

general director

of Roncole near his later home, Busseto. In later life, the

composer liked to style himself as a self-taught peasant.

This is not strictly true. While not fabulously wealthy,

Verdi’s family was solidly middle class. His father, Carlo,

inherited his father’s tavern and he married another

taverner’s daughter. Despite their prosaic living, they

nevertheless could spot talent when they saw it and the

three-year-old “Peppino” tutored under the town’s

schoolmaster and organist, Pietro Baistrocchi, who adored

the child. A tavern being the town’s gathering place,

Peppino knew and was known by everyone. Men familiar

with him describe “a boy who kept apart from happy,

loud gangs of companions, preferring rather to stay near

his mother or alone in the house. There lingered about

him an air of authority…even when he was a boy.”

Music seemed to fi re him, though, his desire so strong

that his parents obtained for him an old spinet, which,

true to form, he later described as “miserable.” His

actions belied his words, however. That miserable spinet

accompanied him all the rest of his long days and bore

the inscription of the tuner who repaired it for free, “in

view of the young Giuseppe Verdi’s eagerness to learn to

play this instrument.”

After Baistrocchi’s death in 1822, Peppino took on

some of his old tutor’s responsibilities, earning himself

the title of maestrino (little maestro/teacher). In 1824,

his father sent him off to school in Busseto, where Verdi

received a solidly humanist liberal arts education. Music

was not ignored however, and he continued to study

composition and counterpoint with the director of the

town’s music school and cathedral organist, Provesi.

While not self-taught, Verdi also did not receive the

fi nest musical education available. After residing in

Busseto for several years, he went to study in Milan, but

the Milan Conservatory rejected his application, citing a

lack of piano technique and “contrapuntal discipline.”

Still they recognized him as a gifted composer.

Determined, Verdi stayed in Milan to study privately with

continued …

30


Lavigna. In 1835, after writing endless “canons and

fugues, fugues and canons,” Verdi returned to Busseto

to serve as the maestro di musica. Normally, this post and

that of the maestro di cappella were filled by the same

musician, but the Church objected to Verdi, “a beardless

youth who learnt music in a populous city… attracted by

the scandalous goings on that swarm there.” Busseto

erupted into violence with proponents of the town’s

religious and secular interests coming to fisticuffs over the

appointments. Eventually the position was divided into

two and Verdi filled the secular one. This offered Verdi

some financial stability and he married his patron Barezzi’s

daughter in 1836. He and Margherita had two children.

In Busseto, Verdi chafed under the responsibilities laid on

him, and after receiving some hope of seeing his first

opera Oberto produced, he resigned. In 1839, Oberto

opened happily and Verdi proceeded to move his family

to Milan.

The young composer was well on his way. La Scala had

commissioned three more operas and he began work on

a comedy, Un giorno di regno. It was a resounding failure.

Verdi had lost his beloved wife during its composition and

later recalled that he had lost his children during that

period as well. Here again, his memories were somewhat

more dramatic than events. He had actually lost his

toddler daughter before he moved to Milan and his infant

son before Oberto opened. These facts do not lessen the

momentous grief the young man must have felt losing his

entire family within two years. The blackness of his

depression led him to vow he would compose no more.

Still, La Scala needed three more operas. Impresario

Mirelli refused to accept Verdi’s contract back. According

to Verdi, he said, “Listen, Verdi, I cannot force you to

compose! [But] my faith in you remains unshaken. Who

knows whether you may or may not decide some day to

begin to write again. Just let me know two months before

a season and I promise you your opera will be given.”

Verdi did indeed have another opera in him. It became

Nabucco, his first international success. Verdi was on the map.

Now Verdi’s natural inclinations become apparent. An

inexhaustible wealth of operatic melodies seemed to pour

from him, and his sense of the theater led him to produce

characters that were psychologically convincing and

musical effects that were always emotionally powerful.

Integrity and vigor, which continued undimmed throughout

his long life, characterized his working methods.

With each of his 30 operas, his powers of expression

broadened and deepened.

During the first phase of his career, Verdi created works

frequently, often at the rate of two or three per year.

Among the most respected of his early operas are Ernani

(1844), Macbeth (first performed in 1847, then revised

for the Paris Opera in 1865), and Luisa Miller (1849). His

techniques of this period are perfected with Rigoletto

(1851), Il Trovatore (1853) and La Traviata (1853), three of

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

his most famous operas. These operas represent a turning

point of sorts. All of them are definitely recognizable

older forms, and each point to the Verdi of later years.

Verdi was a great humanist and took an active interest

in Italian politics. Italy had strained under the yoke of

Austrian occupation throughout the composer’s youth,

and his early works are often thinly disguised protests

against foreign oppression. This musical revolutionary

propaganda complimented his frequent participation in

anti-Austrian demonstrations, and during the war for

Italian independence from Austria he served as a senator.

A commission for La forza del destino brought him back

to the theater after a seven-year hiatus. This opera marks

the beginning of what musicologists deem Verdi’s middle

period, which also included Simon Boccanegra (1857)

and Un ballo in maschera (1859). Verdi’s significant

struggles with censors left him disillusioned with Italian

opera companies and after Un ballo he rarely wrote for

an Italian company again.

Subsequently, his style began to expand and reflect

more elements of French grand opera. Don Carlos and

Les Vêspres Siciliennes were composed for the Paris

Opera. Verdi’s most famous opera, Aïda, is in the French

grand opera style, commissioned by the opera company

in Cairo, Egypt.

Verdi’s final two works, Otello (1887) and Falstaff

(1893), defy classification. They are the fruition of an

extensive and brilliant career. They are arguably the finest

examples of tragedy and comedy in Italian opera.

During the last years of his life, Verdi founded a home

for aging musicians, the Casa di Riposo in Milan, for his

second wife, singer Giuseppina Strepponi. He regarded

this home, which still exists today, as his greatest work, a

place for musical greats to spend their twilight years. He

said it was for “people who are less fortunate than I.”

(The 1984 movie Tosca’s Kiss is a wonderful film on this

fine institution). He died on January 27, 1901 in Milan.

His remains and those of his wife were moved shortly

after Verdi’s initial burial to the Casa di Riposo, per his

wishes.

For the early part of the 20 th century, “serious” musicians

did not consider Verdi’s operas worth studying. He

had been superseded by Wagner and those composers

experimenting with serialism and other atonal techniques.

His operas began to be reappraised in the 1920s and 30s

by the Germans. By the 1970s scholars had re-discovered

him and since then, Verdi’s operas have dominated opera

companies’ repertoires. It is hard to imagine opera today

without the deformed jester, Rigoletto, or the brittle beauty,

Violetta, not to mention the brute power of Otello or that

effusive rogue, Falstaff. The public has always embraced

Verdi, despite nay-saying critics, and it is a testament to

the emotional depth of his work that we continue to

embrace Verdi today.

— Alexis Hamilton

31


The Making of falsTaff

“You are working, I hope? The strangest thing of all is that I am working too! I am amusing

myself by writing fugues! Yes, sir: a fugue … !”

Verdi’s finale of his final opera is a rich, rowdy, elaborately

scintillating fugue. In youth, Verdi had loathed

writing fugues. “I was with Lavigna [a famous teacher of

counterpoint, who had studied with the immensely more

famous composer Pasiello, feted by Napoleon, Catherine

the Great and Emperor Joseph II of Austria] for three

years, during which time I did nothing but canons and

fugues, fugues and canons of every kind.” Fugues had

bedeviled the young Verdi. In his rejection letter from

the Milan Conservatory, the committee had urged him

to study counterpoint. How startled Lavigna and the

Conservatory would have been to hear the brilliance and

complexity of Verdi’s ten-voice fugue, written to please

no one but himself!

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

— Giuseppe Verdi to his librettist, Arrigo Boito, 1889

christopher mattaliano

general director

Falstaff, Verdi wrote for fun. Nearing 80, after having

written 29 operas, “the Bear of Busetto” had nothing

to prove. He could afford to please himself. And according

to his friend and collaborator, Boito, “Verdi enjoyed

himself. How he enjoyed himself!”

Rossini famously said, “Though I greatly admire Verdi,

I believe him incapable of writing a comic opera.” Indeed,

before he amused himself with Falstaff, Verdi had attempted

only one other comedy, Un giorno di regno, a

failure on all counts. However, Rossini’s pronouncement

seems rather unfair based on this one attempt. Verdi

had lost his wife and two children within two years of

each other during the writing of Un giorno di regno.

Falstaff: ©Kent Miles

continued …

32


His subsequent successes “relentlessly massacre[ing] so

many heroes and heroines” as he himself put it, made his

publisher, Ricordi, reluctant to allow him to exercise his

musical wit. But with advanced age and accomplishment

and no need to work for money or reputation, who was

to stop him from “laughing a little at last?”

But what was he to write? Verdi had particular talents

and could afford to be choosy. He considered and

rejected many possibilities, turning them casually over in

his mind. While considering another opera, egged on by

his publisher and the public after the triumph of Otello,

Verdi was busy at home. Ever concerned with civic affairs,

he was deeply involved in funding and facilitating the

construction of a hospital, which still operates today. But,

with the fiftieth anniversary of his operatic debut rapidly

approaching, his audiences were clamoring to celebrate

him and to hear a new work. La Scala had suggested a

Don Quixote, but after careful consideration, Verdi simply

felt it not “thoroughly, completely, and in all respects suitable,”

and jettisoned the idea.

He spoke to Arrigo Boito. Boito was a gifted poet and

had first collaborated with Verdi on Otello. Verdi’s hunger

for a comedy suited to his talents intrigued Boito, and he

quietly set to work on a scenario based on Shakespeare’s

The Merry Wives of Windsor, convinced that the larger

than life complexity of John Falstaff would answer

Verdi’s needs very well.

“Boito has written for me a lyrical comedy that can

be compared to no other, and it causes me an

immense degree of pleasure to set it to music. Falstaff

does all sorts of naughty tricks, but in a humorous

way. And he is a type! Types are so rare! The opera is

absolutely and entirely comic.”

Verdi expressed unbridled enthusiasm for Boito’s

scenario, declaring it “excellent.” One can almost imagine

the stern Bear of Busetto giggling with glee over fat

Falstaff’s scrapes. But Verdi did express a reservation (albeit

a brief objection). He was concerned about embarking

on such a large and challenging project at his age.

But the lure of Shakespeare’s complicated, comic character

quickly squelched any real reticence, although Verdi

did insist on secrecy:

“Amen; so be it! So let’s do Falstaff! For now, let’s not

think of obstacles, of age, of illnesses! I also want to

keep the deepest secrecy: a word I underline three

times to tell you that no one must know anything

about it!”

Not even to Ricordi would Verdi divulged his secret.

Not until Boito toasted the health of “The Big Belly” at

a dinner party hosted by Verdi did Ricordi hear of it—

eighteen months after work began!

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

Verdi wrote Falstaff in a fairly relaxed manner over

two or three years, interrupted by the death of his dear

friend Emmanuelle Muzio, and an engagement in Milan.

By September 1892, the score was finished and the real

adventure began.

For fifty years, Verdi’s operas had suffered the indignities

of “improvements” by singers, directors and impresarios

throughout Italy. In 1862, at the height of fame and

influence, Verdi wrote of La Scala:

“ … Although retaining by a strange and harmful

contradiction great artistic and commercial influence,

[the Scala] has become one of the worst theaters in

Italy, availing itself of its one-time reputation to claim

the right to lay hands on our works to tear them to

pieces, to massacre them, to present them in an unbecoming

and ridiculous manner… I have been saying

the same thing now for ten years, because for ten or

twelve years now I have seen almost all of my operas

murdered in that theater…”

Of the San Carlo in Naples he wrote simply, “The San

Carlo is one of those institutions that are a menace.”

Verdi, consummate man of the theater, had throughout

his youth and middle years been subject to the Italian

opera aesthetic which had convinced audiences that

opera was simply a vehicle for singing, having nothing

to do with story-telling, coherence or theatricality. Verdi’s

rage could be towering, but it wasn’t until the end of

his stupendous career that he could command, bully,

threaten, cajole and berate all the other artists involved

in his production into bending to his will. With Falstaff,

Verdi would take no chances. It would be produced his

way, or it would be withdrawn. He wrote Ricordi, “…I’m

going to become the bear I once was and everyone will

profit by it.”

Verdi’s hands were on every aspect of production,

hand-picking singers, approving the set and costume

designs, attending 29 orchestral rehearsals, controlling a

total of 65 rehearsals, even “gently” proposing staging—all

the while demanding the utmost secrecy. Verdi

imposed an information blackout the likes of which had

never been seen for a highly anticipated new Verdi opera.

With his singers, he began early. His score was difficult,

and not all of his singers were the best musicians. Verdi

had extraordinarily specific ideas about the inflection of

his musical text— preferring rather to emphasize words

over melody, a fact which has led some critics to impugn

Falstaff for being tuneless, when in reality, it is dripping

with melodies which slither by so quickly that on a first

hearing the audience might miss them in the dazzle of action.

Verdi rehearsed his singers privately, first teaching

notes and rhythms, and then addressing the emphasis

continued …

33


of each word, then molding each singer’s characterization

and physicality. He was not universally pleased with

his artists, bellowing, “You tell me. Who knows how to

sing? Would I be satisfied this time if they knew how to

pronounce?”

A particular thorn in Verdi’s side in this regard was his

Falstaff, Victor Maurel, an artist who had created Iago

for him and an artist whom he deeply respected. Maurel

was a baritone of deep intelligence and talent, an aweinspiring

voice, combined with a fearsome acting ability.

Unfortunately, Verdi often found him self-indulgent,

referring to him as “Il Divo” and vehemently disagreeing

on matters of vocal technique, particularly the question

of vowel modification, which Maurel was practicing,

preaching and teaching. Vowel modification—upon

which subject Maurel had published a book—enabled

the famous baritone to optimize the vocal quality of

notes throughout his range and is widely practiced today.

Vowel modification also distorted the sound of the text

and to Verdi’s accurate ear, obscured it. Letters back and

forth ensued, satisfying neither.

Verdi worked like a demon, his days filled from 10:00

am to 10:00 pm with coachings, consultations and

rehearsals. He often demonstrated his meaning. In a

particularly charming story, Ricordi recalled that Verdi,

irritated by the diffidence with which the Nanetta and

Fenton were acting the love scenes, leapt to the stage

crying, “Why are we daydreaming here! Make these two

kisses real and there will be the naturalness that you are

seeking. Here, Nanetta, I’ll be Fenton for a moment: you

do it like this—and like this.”

After an astounding sixty-five rehearsals passionately

overseen by Verdi, the maestro deemed Falstaff ready.

La Scala need not have worried a bit. A new opera

from Verdi was highly anticipated. According to Verdi’s

wife, “admirers, bores, friends, enemies, genuine and

non-genuine musicians, critics good and bad are swarming

in from all over the world. The way people are clamoring

for seats, the opera house would need to be as big as

a public square!”

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

Carlo Gatti, author of Verdi: The Man and His Music

(1955) described the opening (which he attended as a

student) in a 1965 edition of Opera News thus:

“Early in the morning on the day of the premiere lines

began to form by the huge doors to the top galleries

of La Scala…Hour by hour the crowd in the piazza

grew larger until it became impossible to pass, and the

street had to be closed.”

In describing the show, Gatti recounts a curtain call

after the second act in which all of the artists appear.

“The public could not get enough of hailing Verdi with

deafening shouts and applause. He came out two,

three times. Boito, too, was called, causing a fresh indescribably

noisy demonstration.” After the performance

seven curtain calls were demanded and given.

Verdi had achieved what he had set out to do, creating

a work which perfectly blended music and poetry, creating

Wagner’s gesamtkunstwerk without his ponderous

heaviness, neither influenced nor intimidated by the

German master, instead presenting the brilliant culmination

of a legendary career that evolved parallel to his

northern rival.

Falstaff has had many admirers and even detractors. It

is complex and mercurial, and perhaps for the neophyte,

it does not divulge its genius on the first hearing. But it is

a work of enormous joy, wit and indulgence, as expansive

and capacious as Falstaff himself.

— Alexis Hamilton

34


DirecTions To keller auDiToriuM

222 SW CLAY ST, PORTLAND, OR 97201

All performances (except for Rinaldo, which will be held at the Newmark Theatre) are held at Keller Auditorium,

located between SW 2nd & 3rd avenues and Clay & Market streets. Patron entrances are located on SW 3rd Avenue

between Clay & Market streets.

froM i-5 souTh | VANCOUVER

Follow I-5 to the “City Center/Oregon City” exit.

Follow the signs toward “City Center.” After crossing

the Morrison Bridge, follow SW Washington to SW

3rd Avenue; turn left. Go 10 blocks to Clay Street.

Keller Auditorium is on the left.

froM i-5 norTh | SALEM

Follow I-5 to the “Naito Pkwy” exit. Follow signs

toward Naito Pkwy. At the end of the ramp, cross

Naito Pkwy and continue west on Clay Street. Keller

Auditorium is on your left, two blocks west of Naito Pkwy.

keller auDiToriuM

DirecTions To neWMark TheaTre

1111 SW BROADWAY, PORTLAND, OR 97205

(Rinaldo only. Located inside Antoinette

Hatfield Hall)

froM i-5 norTh or i-84 easT

Follow I-5 to the “City Center/Oregon City” exit.

Follow the signs toward City Center. After crossing

the Morrison Bridge, follow SW Washington 5 blocks

to Broadway. Turn left. Go 6 blocks to Main Street.

froM i-5 souTh | VANCOUVER

Follow I-5 to I-405. Go west on I-405 to Salmon

Street exit. After exiting, turn right on SW Salmon

Street. Continue east 7 blocks to SW Park Avenue

froM highWay 26 WesT | SUNSET

Before going through the Vista Ridge Tunnel, get in

the center lane. Take the “Market Street/City Center”

exit. Continue on SW Market to 6th Avenue. Turn left.

Continue to Taylor Street. Turn left. Turn left again at

Broadway. Go 2 blocks to Main Street.

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

froM hWy 26 easT | SUNSET

Before the Vista Ridge Tunnel, get in the center lane.

Take the “Market Street/City Center” exit. Continue on SW

Market Street to 3rd Avenue. Keller Auditorium is on the left.

froM hWy 26 WesT | ROSS ISLAND BRIDGE

After coming off the Ross Island Bridge, follow signs

to “Highway 26/FNaito Pkwy” Turn right onto Naito Pkwy.

Continue going north on Naito Pkwy. Just south of the

Marriott, turn left onto Clay Street. Continue on Clay for

two blocks. Keller Auditorium is on the left, two blocks

west of Naito Pkwy.

neWMark TheaTre

keller auDiToriuM

froM highWay 26 easT | ROSS ISLAND BRIDGE

OR highWay 99 easT (MCLOUGHLIN)

After coming off the Ross Island Bridge, follow signs to

“Highway 26/Front Avenue.” Turn right onto Naito Pkwy at the

stop signal. Continue for 6 blocks to SW Taylor Street. Turn left.

Follow Taylor 7 blocks to Broadway. Turn left on Broadway. Go

2 blocks to Main Street.

ParDon our Mess!

The Hampton Opera Center, home of our Studio Theater and administrative

and ticket offices, is currently surrounded by construction for

the City’s new Portland/Milwaukie light rail and bridge project. As a

result, we expect traffic delays and detours for the next few years.

We strongly recommend that you allow ample time when traveling to

The Hampton Opera Center or get in touch by phone when possible.

We’re set up to handle anything you might need—from tickets to

information—with a quick and easy phone call.

Box Office: 503-241-1802

Toll-free: 866-739-6737

Administration: 503-241-1407

35


PorTlanD oPera: so Much More Than oPera!

Portland Opera is best known for its mainstage performances at Keller Auditorium—and now its chamber opera

at the Newmark Theatre—that reach up to 40,000 individuals every season. But did you know we also reach an

additional 400,000 adults and young people through our US Bank Broadway Across America Portland season,

and extensive education and outreach programs serving every corner of our state?

bringing The besT of broaDWay To PorTlanD

Portland Opera also presents the US Bank Broadway

Across America Portland series, bringing incredible

Broadway productions to more than 250,000 people.

The 2012/13 Season will include two of Broadway’s

biggest current hits THE BOOK OF MORMON and WAR

HORSE. Also on the season is MEMPHIS, FLASHDANCE,

ROCK OF AGES and THE ADDAMS FAMILY.

reaching young PeoPle

portland opera to go: During the 2012/13 school

year, Portland Opera To Go will present a 50-minute,

English language adaptation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute

in schools and communities throughout the entire state

of Oregon. Beyond the show, Portland Opera To Go also

features curriculum for teachers and pre-performance

activities led by the artists, both of which tie opera to

what is being taught in the classroom. Portland Opera

will open its doors at The Hampton Opera Center on

March 22 and 23 for three performances of The Magic

Flute. We are booking now! For more information contact

Alexis Hamilton at: ahamilton@portlandopera.org.

student rush tickets: Through our Rush Ticket program,

students can purchase a mainstage opera ticket an

hour before curtain for just $10. We guarantee a block of

tickets even for our many performances that are technically

“sold out.”

student dress rehearsals: 2,500 students, chaperones,

and educators from more than 25 schools—from

as far away as Rogue Valley—will attend a final dress

rehearsal this season that is reserved exclusively for them.

Each audience member receives a study guide including

a synopsis of the production, biography of the composer,

glossary of opera and classical music terms, and suggestions

for educators on how to use the production as an

opportunity to meet Oregon benchmarks.

serving everyone in our coMMuniTy

portland opera resident artists recitals:

The Portland Opera Resident Artists program, now in its

eighth season, provides a nine-month, full-time profes-

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

sional residency for four conservatory level graduates,

ages 21 to 35. Through a series of four recitals, each

singer will be showcased in the intimate setting of

Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium. Recital

dates: 9/25/12, 1/15/13, 4/9/13 and 5/14/13

opera previews: Four Sunday afternoons are set aside

this season for hour-long previews of each opera at the

Multnomah County Central Library. New this year is a

Don Giovanni preview in Hillsboro and a Falstaff preview

in Vancouver.

destination opera: In partnership with the Oregon

Psychoanalytic Institute, the Opera presents Destination

Opera: From Music to Psyche at Sherman Clay Pianos.

These discussions explore the “scenic route” of opera as

light is shed on wide-ranging topics suggested by each

production.

on the air: The Opera’s radio broadcast audience

continues to grow through partnership with All

Classical 89.9FM to air recordings of all of Portland

Opera’s 2011/12 productions and, hosted by Christopher

Mattaliano, excerpts from commercial recordings of the

upcoming 2012/13 Season in a new program called

“Saturday Matinee”; Mattaliano also hosts “Backstage

at the Opera” on the first Saturday of the month prior

to the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. More information

about these programs, including dates and times, can

be found at www.allclassical.org.

adult education class: This summer Portland Opera

offered a unique adult education class: Putting it Together:

How an Opera Gets on its Feet. This comprehensive, seven-week

class gave participants a hands-on understanding

of how an opera company brings an opera to the stage.

Sign up for the OPERABuzz e-newsletter to learn about

future opera education opportunities.

visiT PorTlanDoPera.org

Subscribe to the OPERABuzz e-newsletter to stay apprised

of event dates and locations.

To learn how you or your business can support the Opera’s

education and community programs, please contact the

Development Office at 503-295-3507.

36


PorTlanD oPera WebsiTe & PaTron inforMaTion

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Enter your Account ID or email and password into

the box provided and then choose “Continue.”

From your Account Screen, choose the “View/ Edit

Settings” from the menu on the left to update

your personal settings, including your email subscription

preferences.

Don’t have an account? Choose “Create Account,”

then simply enter the email address that you

would like OPERAbuzz to be delivered to in the

box provided and follow the prompts to sign up.

Not sure if you have an account? Enter your email

address in the login box providedand click on the

“Forgot Your Password” link. If you do have an

account,you will receive your password in your

email inbox.

if you are also a season subscriber having an

account will provide the following benefits:

Manage your TickeTs - Conveniently track ticket

usage and manage your guest lists online.

forWarD your TickeTs - Now you can email

your tickets to friends, family or clients—even at

the last minute.

DonaTe TickeTs - If you have tickets that you can't

use and would like to donate them back to

Portland Opera, you can now do so easily online.

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

your accounT is noW cusToMiZable!

Manage My

accounT

sign uP for

oPerabuZZ!

Make DonaTions - Make donations simply and

easily to Portland Opera.

eDiT your Profile - This feature makes it easier

than ever to keep your account info updated.

Make PayMenTs - View statements, make payments,

even renew your subscriptions online.

also at the Portland opera Website…click

on the individual shows and you will find

overvieW - learn about the production

PloT - so you’ll know the story before you get

to the theater

abouT - an in-depth article about the opera

coMPoser - a bio for the composer of the opera

casT - bios for the cast, conductor and director

iMages - photos from dress rehearsals and video

clips featuring interviews with singers, conductors

and directors give you a peek at our upcoming

productions

viDeos - musical excerpts from the opera

you’ll also find...

uPcoMing evenTs anD neWs - concerts, recitals,

lectures, previews, press releases and more

PDxoPerabeaT | a coMPany blog - primarily

written by Portland Opera music librarian Jess

Crawford. Her fresh and entertaining blog will also

feature a variety of guest contributors who will

provide insider tidbits on all we do to celebrate

the beauty and breadth of opera.

37


sPreaDing The Joy of oPera

You can play a dramatic role in producing great opera and

bringing education programs to your entire community by

supporting Portland Opera with a charitable donation.

When you make a tax-deductible gift to Portland Opera, you:

• Support the creation of great works for the opera stage

• Spread the beauty of opera throughout the state, sharing

this powerful, all-encompassing art form with more than

400,000 people throughout our region

• Help launch the careers of immensely talented

emerging artists

Your donation allows us to make a significant impact on

both our current and future audiences. Your gift touches

Recognition as a sponsor of a production, principal artist or Portland Opera Resident Artist

Recognition as an Honorary Advisory member of the Portland Opera Board of Directors

Invitation to artists’ “Meet and Greet” for every production

Invitation to an exclusive event with Christopher Mattaliano

Invitation to a run-through rehearsal at The Hampton Opera Center as Christopher Mattaliano’s guest

Invitation to the Opening Night Cast Party of each production

Invitation to the Camerata Lounge during intermission(s)

Invitation to the exclusive Camerata Appreciation Dinner

Free parking at the 200 Market Building garage for your day/evening at the opera

Receive all the benefits of the Artist’s Circle by stepping up your giving over three seasons

Experience the full benefits of Artist’s Circle Membership for one opera per season

Access to VIP ticket service for all of your Opera and Broadway Across America needs

Invitations to all Piano Dress Rehearsals at Keller Auditorium throughout the season

Discover a behind the scenes look at the Opera through a private backstage tour

Invitation to the annual season unveiling

Complimentary coat check at Keller Auditorium for your day or evening at the opera

Invitation to two Piano Dress Rehearsals at Keller Auditorium to see the director, cast and crew in action

Invitation to one Piano Dress Rehearsal at Keller Auditorium to see the director, cast and crew in action

Recognition as a donor in all Portland Opera performance programs for one year

Annual report on the impact of your gift

Save 10% on regular, non-subscription tickets to opera performances during the 2012/13 Season

share your Passion for oPera—Join The

caMeraTa circle

If you are passionate about opera and believe in supporting

great programming for current and future generations,

you can join the Camerata Circle with gifts totaling $2,500

or more over the course of a single fiscal year. You will

become a part of a vibrant and vital group of opera lovers

who enjoy special member benefits including:

• Invitations to exclusive events, including the Season

Preview, cast parties and Camerata Dinner

• Opportunities to meet the creative team behind

productions including cast members, directors and

conductors

• Admission to the exclusive Camerata Lounge during

intermissions

• Personalized ticketing service

• Free performance parking at 200 Market building

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

every corner of Oregon and our region by inspiring young

students with their first opera performances, reaching elderly

patrons in their communities, and exposing the world

of opera with free performances, discussions and lectures.

To thank you for becoming a friend of the Opera, we’ll

provide you with an array of benefits—from backstage

tours to dress rehearsals—to enhance your opera experience.

Gold Circle

$25,000 +

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

caMeraTa circle

Silver Circle

$10,000

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Director’s

Circle

$5,000

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Artists’ Circle

$2,500

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Apprentice Circle

$1,500-$2,000-

$2,500

Portland Opera’s Camerata Circle is named for the Florentine

Camerata, a group of artists and patrons who 400 years

ago created opera. As a Camerata Circle member you will

continue the tradition of supporting the creation and preservation

of opera, both on the stage and in our community.

To learn more about the Camerata Circle, please contact Senior

Giving Manager, Joe Peacock at 503-417-0572 (direct) or

jpeacock@portlandopera.org.

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

To make a gift, or for more information, contact the

Development office at 503-417-0601 or visit portlandopera.org/contribute

to make your gift online. You may also

wish to inquire about memorial and tribute gifts, convenient

pledge options, stock transfers and /or legacy gifts.

caMeraTa lounge sPonsor

Benefactor

$1,000

Friends oF the opera

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Enthusiast

$500

x

x

x

x

x

x

Sustainer

$250

x

x

x

x

Supporter

$100

x

x

38


PorTlanD oPera Picks

To enhance your opera experience, the following restaurants, hotels and retailers have designed exclusive discount

offers for Portland Opera subscribers. Looking for a delicious meal before or after a performance? Simply pick one of

these highly regarded restaurants and present a Restaurant Picks coupon (located in your ticket package) to your server

to redeem the special dining offer. Spending the night in downtown Portland? Then book a room with one of our hotel

partners, and please use the appropriate promotional code to receive your Portland Opera Subscriber room rate. All

offers valid through the opera season: Sept. 2012 – May 2013. *

resTauranTs

Please join our Featured Restaurant Partner:

nel centro

503-484-1099 | 1408 SW 6th Ave.

(adjacent to Hotel Modera)

www.nelcentro.com

$10 off food when two or more

enjoy dinner in the dining room

before or after a performance.

Reservations recommended.

Limit one discount per table.

Please join our restaurant picks before or

after your evening at the opera:

Jake’s grill

503-220-1850 | 611 SW 10th Avenue

www.jakesgrill.com

Mccormick & schmick’s

harborside restaurant

503-220-1865 | 0309 SW Montgomery

www.mccormickandschmicks.com

southpark seafood grill & Wine bar

503-326-1300 | 901 SW Salmon Street

www.southparkseafood.com

$10 off food when two or more enjoy dinner

in the dining room before or after a performance.

Reservations recommended. Limit one discount

per table.

aquariva italian kitchen

(503) 802-5850 | 0470 SW Hamilton Ct.

(near Avalon Hotel & Spa)

www.aquarivaportland.com

Enjoy a complimentary regular entrée item of

equal or lesser value when two or more enjoy

dinner in the restaurant before or after a

performance. Reservations recommended.

nostrana

503-234-2427 | 1401 SE Morrison

www.nostrana.com

One complimentary antipasti with purchase of

a secondo (entrée) before or after a performance.

Discount one per table.

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

higgins restaurant & bar

503-222-9070 | 1239 SW Broadway (at Jefferson)

www.higginsportland.com

The heathman restaurant & bar

503-790-7752 | 1001 SW Broadway (at Salmon)

www.heathmanrestaurantandbar.com

Pazzo ristorante

503-228-1515 | 627 SW Washington (at Broadway)

www.pazzo.com

20% off food in the restaurant or bar on the day

of a performance for up to four people. Not valid

on purchase of alcohol; entrée purchase required.

Limit one discount per table. Excludes Happy Hour.

Piazza italia

503-478-0619 | 1129 NW Johnson

www.piazzaportland.com

Complimentary antipasto or gelato

with dinner.

red star Tavern & roast house

503-222-0005 | 503 SW Alder

www.redstartavern.com

20% off food in the restaurant any day for up

to four people. Not valid on purchase of alcohol.

Excludes Happy Hour and holidays. Limit one

discount per table.

ringside fish house

503-227-3900 | 838 SW Park Ave. (at Fox Tower)

www.ringsidefishhouse.com

$20 off food when two or more enjoy dinner in

the dining room. Not valid on alcohol or gratuity.

Limit one per table. Not valid with any other offer.

.

39


hoTels

benson hotel

503-228-2000 | 309 Southwest Broadway | www.bensonhotel.com

Celebrating 100 years of legendary experiences, the AAA Four-Diamond Benson Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Portland. Awardwinning

service and amenities, timeless beauty, historic elegance - some thing never go out of style. Portland Opera subscribers are eligible for

15% off our Best Available Rate and room upgrade, subject to availability. Make your reservation online at bensonhotel.com with the promotional

code PORTOPER. In addition, Portland Opera subscribers are eligible for 10% off all food and beverage in The Palm Court. Mention this offer to

your server at time of order.

hotel Modera

503-484-1084 | 515 SW Clay | www.hotelmodera.com

Hotel Modera is downtown Portland’s newest and most inspiring boutique hotel. Located just blocks from Keller Auditorium, Hotel Modera

features a unique ‘Living Wall,’ a tranquil courtyard with glowing glass-filled firepits, Nel Centro restaurant, and works of art by local artists.

Book the Portland Arts special: 15% off the Best Available Rate, also includes complimentary overnight valet parking and a bottle of sparkling

wine.Visit hotelmodera.com and use promotional code PRO.

Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront hotel

800-546-9513 | 1401 SW Naito Parkway | www.marriott.com

The Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront Hotel is best known for our

award winning service and our amazingly memorable cuisine. This hotel is Green Seal Certified and has earned the ENERGY STAR label. Portland

Opera subscribers can experience the ultimate downtown experience with a special discounted rate of $129.00 per night plus applicable taxes.

Enter special promotional code H0Z MUSIC.

*Only one coupon may be redeemed at a time. Offers available on performance nights/days only unless indicated otherwise.

Not valid with any other discount offers. Some hotel blackout dates may apply.

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

40


PorTlanD oPera hisTory by coMPoser

John Adams

Nixon in China, 2006

Ludwig van Beethoven

Fidelio, 1971, 1980, 2008

Vincenzo Bellini

Norma, 1978, 2007

Leonard Bernstein

Candide, 2002, 2012

Trouble in Tahiti, 2010

George Bizet

Carmen, 1968, 1972,1977,

1984, 1993, 2000, 2007

The Pearl Fishers, 1988, 2001

William Bolcom

A View from the Bridge, 2003

Benjamin Britten

Albert Herring, 2008

The Rape of Lucretia, 2005

The Turn of the Screw, 2009

Francesco Cavalli

La Calisto, 2009

Gaetano Donizetti

Don Pasquale,1974, 1981,

1990, 1998

The Elixir of Love, 1975,

1992, 2002

La Favorita, 1991

Lucia di Lammermoor,

1970,1984, 1993, 2004

The Daughter of the Regiment,

1979, 1992

Christopher Drobny

Lucy's Lapses, 1990

George Gershwin

Porgy and Bess, 1987, 1995

Arthur Sullivan

The Mikado, 2000

Umberto Giordano

Andrea Chenier, 1988

Philip Glass

Galileo Galilei, 2012

Orphée, 2009

Charles Gounod

Faust, 1966, 1979, 1989,

1999, 2006

Roméo and Juliet, 1987, 1997

Reynaldo Hahn

The Merchant of Venice, 1996

George Frideric Handel

Julius Caesar, 1999

Rinaldo, 2013

Rodelinda, 2008

Bernard Herrmann

Wuthering Heights, 1982

Engelbert Humperdink

Hansel and Gretel, 1972,

1992, 2010

Johann Strauss

Die Fledermaus, 1964, 1976,

1983, 1994

Leoš Janácek

Jenufa, 1996

The Cunning Little Vixen,

1999, 2000

Jerome Kern

Show Boat, 1990

Ernst Krenek

Life of Orestes, 1975

Franz Lehár

The Merry Widow, 1989

Mitch Leigh

Man of La Mancha, 1994

Ruggero Leoncavallo

Pagliacci, 1970, 1985,

1997, 2000, 2010

Frederick Loewe

My Fair Lady, 1992

Pietro Mascagni

Cavalleria Rusticana, 1970

Jules Massenet

Manon, 1969, 1991

Werther, 1976, 1999

Gian Carlo Menotti

The Consul, 1976, 2002

The Medium, 1976

portlandopera.org | your source for all things opera

Claudio Monteverdi

Il Ballo delle Ingrate, 2010

Il Combattimento di Tancredi

e Clorinda, 2010

The Return of Ulysses, 2006

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Così fan tutte, 1973, 1983,

1993, 2002, 2010

Don Giovanni, 1971, 1980,

1989, 1997, 2006, 2012

The Abduction from the Seraglio,

1982, 2005

The Magic Flute, 1970, 1978,

1988, 1997, 2007

The Marriage of Figaro, 1972,

1977, 1986, 1996, 2003, 2011

Jacques Offenbach

La Belle Hélène, 2001

The Tales of Hoffman, 1973,

1985, 1995, 2003

Carl Orff

Carmina Burana, 1997, 2000,

2010

Francis Poulenc

Dialogues of the Carmelites,

2001

Sergei Prokofiev

The Love for Three Oranges,

1998

Giacomo Puccini

Gianni Schicchi, 1985

La Bohème, 1967, 1973,

1979, 1986, 1994, 2001, 2009

La Fanciulla del West, 1983

La Rondine, 1971

Madame Butterfly, 1967, 1972,

1979, 1987, 1996, 2005, 2012

Manon Lescaut, 1982

Tosca, 1967, 1972, 1980, 1988,

1998, 2005, 2012

Turandot, 1986, 1995, 2003, 2011

Richard Strauss

Ariadne auf Naxos, 1974

Der Rosenkavalier, 1972

1986, 1995

Elektra, 1977

Salome, 1975, 1990

Maurice Ravel

L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, 2011

L'Heure Espagnole, 2011

Richard Rogers

Carousel, 1991

Sigmund Romberg

The Student Prince, 1998

Gioachino Rossini

Cinderella, 1977, 2007

The Barber of Seville,

1965,1970, 1976, 1984,

1995, 2004, 2010

The Journey to Reims, 2004

Camille Saint-Saëns

Samson et Dalila, 1991

Bedrich Smetana

The Bartered Bride, 1984

Stephen Sondheim

Sweeney Todd, 1995

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Eugene Onegin, 1981, 1992

Giuseppe Verdi

Aida, 1969, 1989, 1999, 2008

Don Carlo, 1994

Falstaff, 1978, 1991, 2013

Il trovatore, 1969, 1980, 2002

La Traviata, 1968, 1975, 1982,

1993, 2001, 2008

Macbeth, 1987, 2006

Otello, 1968, 2000

Rigoletto, 1974, 1981, 1990,

1998, 2009

Un Ballo in Maschera,

1971,1985

Friedrich von Flotow

Martha, 1985

Carl Maria von Weber

Der Freischutz, 1974

Richard Wagner

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,

1977

Die Walküre, 1981

Lohengrin, 1983

The Flying Dutchman 1969,

1978, 1994, 2007

Tristan und Isolde, 1973

Kurt Weill

Street Scene, 2005

41

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