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.
PROGRAM NOTE for INVISIBLE
“Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is a commentary on the relationship Black Americans have with themselves and the world around them. As the title suggests, it is a world navigated through the lens of a narrator who although exists in a physical state, reminds the readers that he is invisible because, “people refuse to see [him] me.”
This is a setting of the first paragraph of the prologue. The brooding introduction invites the listener to sit in discomfort just before the baritone sings. The motive is reminiscent of a rather melancholic march and symbolizes the nomadic state of the narrator wandering throughout life. He is accompanied by a muted trumpet (or clarinet) as a tribute to Ellison’s love of jazz. An ectoplasmic world meets us in the first section of the aria as he affirms that he is not to be feared in terms of the supernatural, but that he is indeed an actual living being, who despite what others might think, is capable of his own thought processes.
The next sound world we enter is that of a circus. The Invisible Man compares his existence to that of being a part of a side show whose mirrors distort the view of himself, and those who seem to surround him.
The piece closes as it began with the same fretful chords and sad march.”
~Damien Geter, composer
October 31, 2020
7:30 p.m. live stream from Polaris Hall
Sliding scale donation: $10-20
Duration: ca. 50 min.
Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, “The Shepherd on the Rock”, D. 965 Franz Schubert, 1828
Hard Times Come Again No More Stephen Foster, 1855
The Voices that are Gone Stephen Foster, 1865*
Wouldn’t it be Queer Amy Beach, 1894
Ah May the Red Rose Live Alway! Stephen Foster, 1850*
I Shall Be Brave Amy Beach, 1932
Invisible (World Premiere) Damien Geter, 2020
Living in the Light Onry, 2020
*arr. by Justin Ralls
Tylor Neist, Video Production
D. Neil Blake, Audio Production
Kate Bergstrom, Stage Direction
Justin Ralls, Artistic Director / Producer
Lisa Lipton, Executive Director / Producer
ABOUT THE CAST
Onry is a singer, dancer, actor, and pianist based in Portland, Oregon.
He studied music in Ukraine and Moldova and has performed throughout the US and Europe. He’s toured with Lyle Lovett, been a soloist with The Maui Chamber Orchestra and Oregon Symphony, and performed with American Repertory Theater and Portland Opera Company.
Some of his notable performances include the Black Clown, Madame Butterfly, Sanctuaries, African American requiem, Show Boat, Carmen, Faust, The Big Night, La Traviata, Pirates of Penzance, and Hairspray.
Onry is a member of the artist collective Future Prairie and serves on the board of African American Requiem with the Oregon Symphony. He is also on the Arts and Music Board of Kings School in Seattle, Washington, and the board of Active Space, a creative studio for people of color in Portland, Oregon.
Outside of music, Onry enjoys community organizing work, philosophy, linguistics, traveling, tea, collecting vinyl records, and spending quality time with friends and family.
Composer and vocalist Damien Geter is a diverse artist whose credits include performances ranging from the operatic stage to the television screen. Damien’s 2019-2020 season includes appearances with the Metropolitan Opera (Undertaker in Porgy and Bess), Seattle Opera (Colonel in The Rising and the Falling), Eugene Opera (Angelotti in Tosca). Other appearances included roles with Seattle Opera in the role of the Undertaker, and covering the role of Jake in Porgy and Bess; with Vashon Opera in the role of Colline in La Boheme and Dr. Grenvil in Verdi’s La Traviata with Portland Opera. More roles include the Four Villains in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann; Colline in Puccini’s La Boheme; Alcindoro (La Boheme), Bass Slave (The Difficulty of Crossing a Field – David Lang), and Soloist (Little Match Girl Passion – David Lang) A highly sought after singer on the concert stage, Damien’s repertoire in that realm includes Elijah, Beethoven 9, Brahms’ Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem, and Mozart’s Requiem, to name a few. Damien made his TV debut in the role of John Sacks on NBC’s Grimm. He was also seen in Netflix’s Trinkets which aired in spring of 2019.
A native of Chesterfield County, VA, Damien is also a composer whose piece An African American Requiem is due to premiere with Resonance Ensemble and the Oregon Symphony in January, 2021.
Jocelyn Claire Thomas, a versatile soprano praised for her haunting sound and musical intelligence, is a frequent performer in opera, concert, and recital. Notable roles include “Susanna” in Le nozze di Figaro, “Donna Elvira” in Don Giovanni, “Musetta” in La Bohème, “Nedda” in Pagliacci, “Micaëla” in La Tragédie de Carmen, “Rosina” in Il barbiere di Siviglia, “Pamina” and “First Lady” in Die Zauberflöte, “Morgana” in Alcina, “Gretel” in Hansel and Gretel, “Adele” in Die Fledermaus, “Despina” in Così fan tutte, “Dorinda” in Orlando, ”Servilia” in La clemenza di Tito, ”Marzelline” in Fidelio, “Le Feu” and “La Princesse” in L’enfant et les Sortilèges, “Amy March” in Little Women, “Mother” in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and “Josephine” in H.M.S. Pinafore.
Jocelyn has appeared with Tacoma Opera, Eugene Opera, OperaBend, Brava Opera Theatre, Cascadia Chamber Opera, Opera Theater Oregon, Portland Concert Opera, Ping & Woof Opera, The Astoria Music Festival, Bravo Northwest, The Bach Cantata Choir, The Bremerton Symphony, The Central Oregon Symphony, The Beaverton Symphony, 45th Parallel, Classical Revolution PDX, Necessity Arts Collective, Cult of Orpheus, and Portland SummerFest.
Concert appearances include “Soprano Soloist” in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s Magnificat, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai,Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio, Schütz’ Weihnachtshistorie, Faure’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Schubert’s Mass in G, Bach’s Cantata 140,Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer,Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate, Handel’s Gloria,Dvorak’s Biblical Songs, and Handel’s Messiah.
Ms. Thomas holds a B.M. from the Oberlin Conservatory, a M.M. from the Peabody Conservatory, and a G.P.D., from the Peabody Conservatory. Discography includes the title role in Viva’s Holiday, and Soprano Soloist on Sacred Works I: The Emerald Tablet, both by Christopher Corbell, and “Anna” in Maelstrom – The Zombie Opera by Benjamin Emory Larson and Reed Reimer.
Jocelyn is based in Portland, Oregon where she maintains a private studio in voice, piano, and flute.
Mezzo-soprano Camille Sherman hails from the California North Bay Area. In the 2019-2020 season, Ms. Sherman looks forward to returning to the Portland Opera Resident Artist Program, where she will be seen on their mainstage as Kate Pinkerton, as well as covering Suzuki, in Madama Butterfly, Sally in A Hand of Bridge, Announcer in Gallantry, and Asteria in the American professional premiere of Vivaldi’s Bajazet. Previous credits with Portland Opera include Flora Bervoix in La Traviata and Ramiro in La Finta Giardiniera, as well as covering roles Hannah After in As One and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Ms. Sherman also returned to Pensacola Opera in 2019 to make her role debut as Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette.
During the 2017-18 season, Ms. Sherman joined Pensacola Opera as an Artist in Residence, performing the role of María in María de Buenos Aires and the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha, in addition to covering roles Aldonza in Man of La Mancha and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. Ms. Sherman’s recent seasons include role debuts as the Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos (Berlin Opera Academy, 2017) and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Janiec Opera Company, 2016). In addition to her stage career, Ms. Sherman has also appeared in concert with Nashville Opera and the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, and will debut with Naples Philharmonic as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah this winter.
Over the last few years, Ms. Sherman has garnered acclaim in several competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions where she was recently named a National Semi-Finalist after having won the Northwest Region, and where she won an Encouragement Award in the competition’s Middle/East Tennessee District the previous year. She was a finalist in the Tier 1 of the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition (2019) and the Brava! Opera Theater Competition (2016). She is a two-time winner of the Kalvelage Memorial Award in the Henry and Maria Holt Competition (2016-17) and secured the Jorge Estebanez Scholarship from The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (2016).
During her vocal training, Ms. Sherman was in residence at the Janiec Opera Company and at OperaWorks. Ms. Sherman holds degrees in vocal performance from some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions, including a master’s degree from The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Catherine Cook, and a bachelor’s degree from The Boston Conservatory. In addition to her work as a singer, Ms. Sherman is an experienced pianist, flautist, and musical arranger.
Adrian Rosales-Casillas is a lyric baritone from Portland, Oregon and received his Master’s Degree in Vocal Arts/Opera from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California; having studied with world-renowned baritone Rod Gilfry.
In October of 2013, Rosales played Tarquinius in Opera Brittenica’s inaugural production of Benjamin Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia”, garnering praise from both the Boston Classical Review and The Boston Musical Intelligencer for his “…vibrant voice and keen acting…”. Adrian Rosales played Voltaire/Dr. Pangloss in the Aspen Music Festival’s production of Bernstein’s comic-operetta Candide. In previous seasons in Aspen, Rosales had also played Chino in Bernstein’s West Side Story. As a participant of Oberlin in Italy and Opera Theater Pittsburgh’s Summerfest, Adrian appeared as Morales in Carmen-The Gypsy, an adaptation of Bizet’s masterpiece, Belcore in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore.
As a Resident Artist with the Shreveport Opera in Louisiana for the 2012-2013 season, Rosales performed the roles of Fiorello and the Officer, while covering Figaro, in Rossini’s popular comedy Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Silvio in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci. Rosales also appeared as Marullo in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Shreveport Opera.
An enthusiast of contemporary English and American works, Adrian Rosales recently presented John Adams’ baritone and chamber orchestra piece, The Wound-Dresser, in a recital. He also covered the roles of Owen Wingrave and Spencer Coyle in Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave at USC and sang in Michael Gordon’s meditative rock opera Van Gogh about the legendary painter with the ‘What’s Next ? – Music Ensemble’ in Los Angeles, California.
Originally from the Isle of White, Sequoia has collaborated with many of the leading artists in opera today, working at Royal Opera House, Covant Garden and throughout Europe. Since relocating to Portland, Oregon he frequently collaborates with Portland Opera, Opera Theater Oregon, Third Angle Ensemble, as well as privately coaching for hundreds of regional vocalists.
George Colligan is a New York based pianist, organist,drummer, trumpeter, teacher, and bandleader, who is one of the most original and compelling jazz artists of his generation. An award-winning composer (Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation grant recipient, RACC Grant Winner) and player (winner, Jazzconnect.com Jazz Competition, DownBeat Critics Poll Winner), Colligan is highly in demand as a sideman, having worked with players like Jack DeJohnette, John Scofield, Cassandra Wilson, Ravi Coltrane, and many others, both on the bandstand and in recording sessions (appearing on over 150 CDs). He has released 31 recordings full of his intelligent writing and impressive technique. His latest CD on the Ubuntu Label is called”Live in Arklow” and features Darren Beckett and Dave Redmond. Colligan’s musical style incorporates everything from showtunes to funk, from free improvisation to 20th century classical music. His performances include dazzling technique as well as mature restraint. Colligan was on the faculty of the Juilliard School for two years and is currently an Assistant Professor at Portland State University. He is currently a member of Jack DeJohnette’s New Quintet.Recently, Colligan started playing the Hammond 44 Melodion(melodica). He also started a popular blog called jazztruth(jazztruth.blogspot.com).
Micah Hummel is a sought-after drummer, composer, and music educator based out of Portland, Oregon. After relocating from the Sonoran Desert in 2013, Micah has already established himself as an essential part of the creative music scene in the Pacific Northwest. Honing his craft throughout the last decade, Micah is known for his specialty in cross-genre sounds and contemporary music. Micah has performed around the globe in countries such as Germany, Austria, Canda, France, Switzerland, China, and Morocco. Micah always enjoys getting to share music with people and the opportunity to connect with other cultures through his instrument.
Logan Thane Brown has been a freelance trumpeter in the Portland area since moving from Wisconsin in 2010. Mr. Brown is a regular section player with the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver WA Symphony Orchestra, and the principal trumpet of the Eugene Concert Orchestra. He has performed with Broadway Rose Theater, as well as a featured ensemble member and soloist in Opera Theater Oregon’s 2019 This Land Sings.
Tylor Neist earned his masters of music from Manhattan School of Music and his bachelors of music from Boston University. He studied violin with Midori; Mitchell Stern, a former first violinist for the American Quartet; and Bayla Keyes, a founding member of the Muir Quartet. He was also fortunate to study chamber music with members of the Muir, Juilliard, Emerson, and American String Quartets.
Tylor has played with the Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Eugene Symphony, Spokane Symphony, NW New Music, Filmusik, and Opera Theater Oregon. He is a member of the piano trio ThreePlay and the artistic director of Bridgetown Orchestra.
As a composer, his most recent projects include commissions for the theater scores Lear (a violin looping score) and Kabuki Titus (a kabuki adaptation of Titus Andronicus). He was also the 2014 winner of Fear No Music’s Locally Sourced Sounds for his piece Unfolding (for string quartet and looping pedals). Overview Effect, an immersive musical and theatrical journey through the cosmos, premiered at the Armory in Portland in April 2016.
You can check out his site here.
Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC)
Oregon Community Foundation