Portland Opera

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. Vision: Portland Opera will be known for its commitment to the highest artistic standards, its boldness of spirit, and its willingness to take risks. It will produce work of such distinction and beauty that the lives of our audiences will be transformed by what they experience on our stage.
May 30, 2014

2014 is wrapped up

Mimi and Rudolpho
Mimi and Rudolpho

Another season has come to a close. The sets are put away, the truck returned and our intrepid cast have returned to thier lives.  What did we accomplish? 

POGO presented 59 performances of "La Bohème" and Opera Improv featuring five singers, an accompanist, and an adaptable set. Performances took place in 48 schools and venues. In addition to the school-wide performances, our artists also spent time in classrooms at each school, sharing their experience as a professional artist with smaller groups of students. We also held 6 performances open to the public in community centers and theaters. Reaching our goals was a bit of a mixed result. We did reach higher than hoped levels of access. The students we performed to were right at the 50% free and reduced lunch, and we exceeded our 60% of the schools as Title I by 5%! In addition, we were able to offer 17% of our performances to schools who were unable to afford our performance, even at the $1.25 level. We did hope to charge an average of no more than $1.25 per child in attendance, and we achieved an average of just $1.08 per child attending at a school, exceeding our goals.

Our 100+ page teacher's guide, which included 9 lesson plans and 4 worksheets all included in Spanish. Those materials integrate opera into literary arts, social sciences, health, mathematics, and science for grades 6-12 for the La Bohème guide. For the Opera Improv, there are 8 lesson plans, 3 worksheets, and all are included in Spanish!

It was a busy few months, but we got it done! Portland Opera To Go has covered the state one more time. 

Stay tuned! Next report will announce our New Touring Production with an added suprise!

Mar 5, 2014

POGO is on the road again!

"Mimi" and "Rodolfo". (c) Portland Opera/Pat Moran
"Mimi" and "Rodolfo". (c) Portland Opera/Pat Moran

Please enjoy this blog posting from our Soprano: Andrea Flores


What a week! In addition to a final dress rehearsal and two performances of La Bohème, we managed to squeeze in Opera Improv rehearsals (yes, a very busy week, but fun nonetheless).

Our first performance took place at Tualitin High School, which, by the way, has an amazing auditorium that made me wish I could've gone to school there. The students were very sweet and, to my surprise, absolutely moved by our performance. In fact, after the show, a number of them came to our dressing room (teary-eyed, I might add) to express how much they loved our story. I love how our art form can tap into human emotions at any age.

Our second performance, which took place at the Mountain Park Recreation Center, was, perhaps, the highlight of my week (not because of the performance, but because of what happened afterward). Again, we were blessed with a very nice performance space, and an enthusiastic audience. I had to keep myself from laughing during my aria because I noticed that all the children in the front row covered their ears after I sang the first high note! I enjoyed hearing the laughter in the opening scene, the hooting and hollering during Rodolfo and Mimì's first kiss, and the silence during the final scene. My favorite moment of this particular night, however, was after the show when we were loading the set back into the truck. Kevin (Bertin) and I happened to be standing next to each other when a young African-American woman and her 12-year old daughter approached us. She expressed how we'd taken them both on an emotional journey and how exciting it was to see people of color on that stage (Kevin is African-American and I am Mexican-American) because "it really makes a difference." Her comment made me realize the importance of diversity; when minority children see performers who look like them on stage, they feel more connected to the story.

Other non-opera related highlights from last week include: discovering the vintage shops on Hawthorne Boulevard, the Produce Row Cafe, and Zumba at the LA Fitness Signature Club on Weidler Street. I'm excited for Opera Improv and looking forward to see what this week has in store for us.

— Andrea Flores

Dec 19, 2013

Rehearsals are Right Around the Corner!

With the New Year coming, that means we will have singers in the building shortly. The set has been assembled and is getting the final brush up for La Boheme before rehearsals start and the show goes on the road.

There is a great deal of energy that happens prior to the show even entering rehearsal. I thought this might be a good time for an educational moment!

For one of our Portland Opera To Go productions is ready for rehearsal, there is a great deal that happens. Sure, we have to cast the show, contract directors and a pianist and the things you would expect. However, our Director of Education spends literally months preparing the information we send to the schools. Each production comes with a teacher's guide that contains hand outs as well as information as to how a teacher can integrate the production into their daily lessons. For example, how music is divided into fractions of notes. So, math can be taught using music. 

Once have those materials created, and we have done the posters, programs, and all that, we have to prepare the show. Portland Opera To Go is actually 2 shows! We have the main production: La Boheme in this case, and our Opera Improv that creates a new show with the input from our audience. We have to prepare all the sets, costumes, props, etc. for both of those. They go out in the van together. 

The sets need to be touched up and repaired. For example, La Boheme has been in our warehouse for about 4 years since it last saw the light of day. It always surprises me how much can happen from "just sitting there". For those who don't know, I was formerly the Technical Director for Portland Opera. So, I have been there first hand to see how the resurrection happens. 

Once we pull out the show, it is pretty much down hill from there. The show's sets, props, costumes, and all are prepared for rehearsals and the tour. 

There is your educational moment for La Boheme. We look forward to seeing you at the show!

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