Portland, Oregon – August 11, 2022 – Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) announced today this year’s Creative Heights award for Opera Theater Oregon’s Nu Nah-Hup: Sacajawea’s Story. “Many of this year’s Creative Heights grantees are elevating cultural voices, shining a light on little known history and launching significant new structures for artists to thrive” (OCF Press Release) Nu Nah-Hup was among the featured projects in this year’s release!
Sacajawea’s story will be told with some of the most amazing music in the world…To be able to share her voice and the stories of her people through opera, ‘Oose’ from the bottom of our hearts.
~ Rose Ann Abrahamson, great-great-grandniece of Sacajawea
We are deeply honored to receive a Creative Heights grant from Oregon Community Foundation to commission and produce Nu Nah-Hup: Sacajawea’s Story…We are so fortunate to be guided by Sacajawea’s descendent, Rose Ann Abrahamson. Working together to share Sacajawea’s story through opera will help preserve her Agai-Dika / Lemhi Shoshone language as well as celebrate her Indigenous perspective and contributions.
~ Lisa Lipton, Executive Director, Opera Theater Oregon.
OPERA THEATER OREGON NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS AWARD
Portland, Oregon — Opera Theater Oregon has been approved for a $25,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support Nu Nah-Hup: Sacajawea’s Story. Opera Theater Oregon’s project is among 46 opera grants totaling more than $1.1 million, and among 1,125 projects across America totaling more than $26.6 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2022 funding. This is OTO’s first NEA Award!!!
“We are telling Sacajawea’s story, her story, from an Aqai Dika perspective from her female familial descendants and people, a woman’s story from women. This story will share the tradition, history and culture of Sacajawea from the viewpoint and oral history of the women of her people. The songs will express these aspects, and most importantly her language will be preserved through operatic songs.”
~ Rose Ann Abrahamson, great-great-grandniece of Sacajawea.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including Opera Theater Oregon, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”
“Opera Theater Oregon is thrilled to receive our first award from the National Endowment for the Arts for this historic and important project. We are so excited to share it with you.”
~Lisa Lipton, Executive Director
DREAM WITHIN A DREAM STREAMING TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW!
OTO ANNOUNCES NEW PROJECT AND COLLABORATION!
NOVEMBER 4, 2021 – OPERA THEATER OREGON is excited to announce a new intercultural collaboration with Aqai-Dika/Lemhi-Shoshone culture bearer and descendant of Sacajawea, Rose Ann Abrahamson. Nu Nah-Hup: Sacajawea’s Story will reimagine the extraordinary Shoshone woman who was a crucial member of the historic 1804-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition, from her Aqai-Dika Indigenous perspective in a new opera-theater work.
“Given this name as a child, according to Aqai Dika naming traditions, ‘Sacatzaweya’ (pronounced Saca-ja-we-ya) means ‘That is her burden’…We are telling Sacajawea’s story, her story, from an Aqai Dika perspective from her female familial descendants and people, a woman’s story from women. This story will share tradition, history and culture of Sacajawea from the viewpoint and oral history of the women of her people. The songs will express these aspects, and most importantly her language will be preserved through operatic songs.”
~Rose Ann Abrahamson
On November 4, 1804 Sacajawea is first mentioned by William Clark as one of “wives” of Toussaint Charbonneau, stating “we engau him to go on with us and take one of his wives to interpet the Snake language.” (‘Snake’ being another name for the Shoshone). Little did Lewis and Clark know just how crucial Sacajawea and her people would be to the expedition’s success or that she would endure as one the most famous members of the expedition. She remains one of the most famous women in American history, yet few have told her story from her Aqai-Dika perspective. Last month our nation celebrated our first official Indigenous People’s Day and this month we honor November as Native American Heritage Month. This project aims to honor, through opera, the remarkable contributions and unique experience of Indigenous peoples, past, present, and future.
OTO IS BACK LIVE AND IN PERSON!
“DREAM WITHIN A DREAM is an original twelve-part series of weird, short, experimental “opera scenas” based upon the pandemic dreams of Lisa Lipton, realized by multiple composers, and filmed at Portland’s historic Polaris Hall as well as other environs…”
Episodes 1-3 features new music by composers Nicholas Emerson, Lisa Neher, and Justin Ralls with many more composers and collaborators yet to be announced! Featuring performances by Camille Sherman (soprano), Sequoia (piano), Lisa Lipton (Clarinet), C. Richard Moore (Ondes Martenot) and more to be announced.
DREAM WITHIN A DREAM PRODUCTION GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY THE JAMES F. AND MARION L. MILLER FOUNDATION
DAMIEN GETER WORLD PREMIERE
VOTE! Get out, get active!
ABOVE: OTO ART / ACTIVISM, Featuring composer Michael Lanci’s response to the 2016 election, setting 19th Century protest song texts. “Stolen Crown” from “Songs for Joe Hill,” as part of OTO’s 2019 production This Land Sings at the Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland, Oregon.
OPERA THEATER OREGON presents
Invisible: A Virtual Songspiel
THANK YOU ALL FOR OUR FIRST SUCCESSFUL LIVE STREAM PERFORMANCE AND SUCCESSFUL COMMISSION AND PREMIERE OF DAMIEN GETER’S NEW WORK, INVISIBLE!
October 31, 2020 / 7:30 p.m. live stream from Polaris Hall
Join OTO for a program featuring the world premiere of Damien Geter’s Invisible, adapted from the prologue of Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man, which lyrically interrogates themes of racism and identity for African Americans.
This unique “virtual songspiel” at Portland’s intimate Polaris Hall begins with Franz Schubert’s “Shepherd on the Rock,” journeys through time and space with some of the first and last songs of Amy Beach and Stephen Foster, and closes with the premiere performance of Invisible by special guest, Portland’s own Onry. Program will also feature a special performance of Onry’s original song, Living in the Light.
Look forward to performances by Jocelyn Claire Thomas, Camille Sherman, Adrian Rosales-Casilas, Lisa Lipton, Logan Thane Brown, with Sequoia accompanying on piano and arrangements by Artistic Director, Justin Ralls. With guest appearance by jazz pianist George Colligan.
“Imagine if Franz Schubert, Stephen Foster, Amy Beach, Damien Geter and Onry all found themselves in Havisham’s parlor from Great Expectations, presenting their music in a Twilight Zone-esque salon of music, poetry, and a dreamlike reflection of past, present, and future on what will surely be the most surreal Hallows’ Eve in recent memory. We hope to give an intimate, cathartic experience – interrogating nostalgia and promoting innovation – and asserting that music has a place in times of upheaval.”
– Justin Ralls, Artistic Director
We are excited to announce a forthcoming collaboration with stage direction by Kate Bergstrom and experimental lighting collaboration with Open Show in the creation of a music video Invisible , featuring Damien Geter and Onry.
October 31, 2020
7:30 p.m. live stream from Polaris Hall
Tickets: CLICK HERE
Sliding scale donation: $10-20
Duration: ca. 50 min.
We acknowledge the ancestral land of Indigenous people: “The Portland Metro area rests on traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Molalla, and many other tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River creating communities and summer encampments to harvest and use the plentiful natural resources of the area.” (Portland Indian Leaders Roundtable, 2018). We also acknowledge that our organization passively benefits from the displacement, genocide, and exploitation of Indigenous peoples. Yet, as Summer Wilkie critiques, “Until action is taken to identify and empower Indigenous people, accurate history is taught, and land-based justice is carried out, a land acknowledgement statement feels mostly empty and alienating.” OTO pledges to listen and learn from our Indigenous community and explore how our mission and organization may serve and empower their voices and goals.