Our Mission…

The mission of Opera Theater Oregon is to refresh the opera experience with powerful productions that are affordable and socially relevant. We present opera in alternative venues and engage the community, creating vibrant and sustainable opera in the 21st Century. With an emphasis on contemporary music, we inspire new and younger audiences to experience opera in diverse ways, respecting tradition and innovation, and creating enjoyable performances of high artistic integrity. We invite you to join us!

Our Team…

Lisa Lipton

Lisa Lipton, Executive Director

Lisa is the Executive Director of Opera Theater Oregon, a founder of Contemporary Portland Orchestra Project, longtime collaborator of Filmusik, and Principal Clarinet for the Salem Orchestra. Having produced operas and song cycles such as The Little Prince by Rachel Portman and Nicholas Wright, Two Yosemites by Justin Ralls, Songs for Joe Hill by Michael Lanci, and This Land Sings: Songs of Wandering, Love and Protest Inspired by the Life and Times of Woody Guthrie by Michael Daugherty, Lipton often promotes and premieres new works on the West Coast. She worked at Ethos Music Center for four years as their roaming band director visiting over eight schools a week, and serving as summer camp director, strengthening her skills in community building and educational outreach. Of her chamber music performance for the March Music Moderne festival, Sam Reising wrote for I CARE IF YOU LISTEN: “Lipton…played clarinet in the piece, showcasing a wonderful sense of delicacy and awareness of the sound in time.”

Lipton studied Performance at Portland State University and attended the Central Chinese Conservatory. She is the recipient of awards and grants from New Music USA, The Regional Arts and Culture Council, The Templeton Foundation, and Portland State University.


Justin Ralls, Artistic Director

Justin Ralls, composer, conductor, writer, and educator hails from the Pacific Northwest and is inspired by the beauty of the natural world and elemental forms of creativity. An award winning composer, Ralls has conducted his works at the Lucca International Youth Orchestra Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, Britt Festival at Crater Lake National Park, the Newman Scoring Stage in Los Angeles, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, as well as other venues in Salzburg, Rome, Portland, Boston, San Francisco and beyond. His music is featured on the Sierra Club and National Parks websites and NPR. SF Examiner remarked of Ralls’ recent orchestral work, Tree Ride, as “a whirlwind of thick orchestral textures…definitely establishing his own voice…” John Adams spoke of Tree Ride as “impressive…showing a mastery of orchestral technique,” also stating “your analogy to natural forces was done very well, your thunderstorm basically better than the Pastoral.” He has been described by artslandia.com as “a gifted melodist…[his music] a beautiful blend of natural and human-made music.” Ralls’ works have been performed by a variety of soloists and ensembles including Albany Symphony (NY), Third Angle Ensemble, Roomful of Teeth, Fear No Music, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Jarring Sounds, International Orange Chorale, Opera Theater Oregon, San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, Esteli Gomez, Molly Barth and more. As a composer he explores an eclecticism encompassing many styles including natural soundscapes, improvisation, electronics, vocal, chamber, film, jazz, folk and orchestral forces. Ralls is an Artist-in-Residence at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, an Old Growth forest research site. His education includes The Boston and San Francisco Conservatories and is currently pursuing his Ph.D at the University of Oregon.

William Goforth, Creative Director

American tenor William Goforth shares his “noble, colorful and iridescent vocal sound” (Magazin Klassik) in powerful and heartfelt performances. “Goforth, with his virile voice, does not hold back,” (The New York Times) offering vivid character portraits sung with the utmost commitment and finesse. Winner of the 2019 Oregon District Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and the 2019 National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards regional competition, Goforth is a distinctive vocalist, representing the best of next generation operatic talent. 

A member of the International Opera Studio of Oper Köln for the 2018/19 season, William sang Il Conte di Bandiera in Salieri’s La Scuola dei Gelosi in the Kammeroper, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte für Kinder and 3rd Jew in Salome on the main stage. Of these performances, The German Stage noted that William was “stunningly charming,” the General-Anzeiger wrote that his “tenor projects clearly… (and his) piano passages reveal lyric qualities as well,” and Opern Magazin stated that he “rose to the highest form.”

Other recently acclaimed roles include performances with the Aquilon Festival as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Don Basilio in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and Le Musicien in Lully’s La chûte de Phaëton. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Oregon and Seattle Symphonies, Opera Theater Oregon, the Portland Chamber Orchestra, in live radio broadcast on All Classical Portland, and in concert with Pink Martini. Goforth sang in the World Premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s celebrated new opera Crossing, as part of a small ensemble cast directed by Diane Paulus, with performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and American Repertory Theatre.

A graduate of the Juilliard School and St. Olaf College, Goforth also participated in master courses at Franz Schubert Institut, Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, Heidelberger Frühling Liedakademie, Georg Solti Accademia, and masterclasses sponsored by the Richard Tucker Foundation. He is an Instructor of Voice at Clark College, has taught at the Aquilon Music Festival, and serves on the board of Opera Theater Oregon where he is actively involved in producing new operatic work.

Board of Directors

William Goforth – Treasurer/Secretary
Chelsea Janzen
Lisa Lipton – Chair
Anne Polyakov
Justin Ralls – Co-Chair
Christine A. Richardson 

OTO is a 501c(3) tax exempt non-profit organization. The company was founded in 2005 by Angela Niederloh and Amy Russell. We rely on donations to continue to present alternative opera in Oregon, proudly featuring local talent and nurturing the careers of emerging artists. Find out more about making a tax deductible donation to OTO today!