When Portland Opera, like many other American opera companies, moved to a summer season this year, we expected an operatic effusion — but this week, it’s turned into a veritable eruption, with a handful of opera/operettas onstage around Oregon this week, including the world premiere of an original Oregon opera, and a pair of song concerts starring opera singers. Non operatic sounds also abound, and feel free to alert readers to more in the comments section below.
The Bad Plus
Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Avenue, Portland
The Oregon return of one of jazz’s most popular piano trios, whose audience extends way beyond the jazz heads, thanks in part to their insistence on performing jazzy arrangements of contemporary pop and even classical tunes along with occasional jazz classics.
Mock’s Crest Productions, Mago Hunt Center, University of Portland, 5000 N Willamette Blvd. Portland
Another, less macabre tale of an exile who returns home and commits crimes, this Gilbert and Sullivan operetta takes a happier turn than Sondheim’s.
Refuge: A Concert for Syrians in Exile
Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate Ave. Portland
Oregon Repertory Singers soprano Laurel Alyn-Forest joins composer/pianist composer Grisha Krivchenia to perform his new song cycle based on the words of Syrian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, as well as refugee/exile-related music by Schubert and Allan Louis Smith. Ten percent of the proceeds go to Syrian refugee assistance organizations.
Organic Nation Listening Club
Artists Repertory Theater, Portland
Portland jazz keyboardist and storyteller David Ornette Cherry brings back another incarnation of his mix of reminiscence, jazz, funk, and stories, co-starring other Portland music legends and their memories. Read my ArtsWatch review of last year’s version.
OperaBend, Tower Theatre, Bend
Based on the verse novel Vía Láctea: A Woman of a Certain Age Walks the Camino, by one of Oregon’s finest essayists/memoirists, Ellen Waterston, the world premiere of this new opera in English features music by Bend-based composer Rebecca Oswald. Central Oregon Symphony music director Michael Gesme conducts, with state direction by Nancy Engebretson and choreography by Michelle Mejaski. Oregon Public Broadcasting’s State of Wonder did a nice preview.
June 11 & 12
Marylhurst Opera, St. Anne’s Chapel, Marylhurst University
Alistair Donkin, the veteran British actor who’s presented Gilbert & Sullivan operettas at Marylhurst for the last three years, returns to Portland to direct a new production of Leonard Bernstein’s musically magnificent (if sometimes dramatically deficient) opera based on Voltaire’s scathing satire.
Oregon Mozart Players
United Lutheran Church, 2230 Washington, Eugene
Tenor David Gustafson joins an OMP piano trio in hymns by Vaughan Williams, Mozart’s “Kegelstatt” trio (with violin apparently replacing clarinet), and more.
Fred Hersch & Anat Cohen
The Old Church, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of the duo recital featuring a pair of lyrical, award winning jazz masters — then get tix PDQ as the show is nearly sold out.
Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave.
Accompanied by pianist Nicholas Fox, the Portland Opera resident artist (also onstage in Sweeney Todd this week) sings songs by Schubert, Faure, Beethoven, Mahler and Vaughan Williams.