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!
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.
Assuming the role of artistic co-director in 2017, 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.
In addition to assuming the title of artistic co-director of OTO in 2017, baritone Nicholas Meyer made his debut performance with the company, creating the role of John Muir in its world premiere production of Two Yosemites. Nicholas was praised by Oregon ArtsWatch for his “whiskey-smooth baritone” and that he “interpreted [Muir] to perfection”. NW Reverb wrote he “superbly captured Muir’s dignity and vision for the great outdoors…Meyer’s beautiful mellow baritone was at its best in the upper range”. Other previous credits include Tarquinius (The Rape of Lucretia), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), The Stranger (Martin’s Lie), Indiana Elliot’s Brother (The Mother of Us All) and covering the principal role of Beaumarchais in Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles. An avid recitalist, Nicholas has performed numerous recitals and his ever-growing repertoire encompasses over 350 art songs. He has produced and performed three unique art song recitals through successful Kickstarter campaigns, often collaborating with composer Justin Ralls and pianist Robert Ainsley (formerly of Portland Opera). During the summer of 2013 Nicholas received a scholarship to participate in the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden bei Wien, Austria. Nicholas has a great interest in contemporary music and frequently collaborates with long-time friend and colleague Justin Ralls. He also premiered a song cycle by Italian composer Paolo Marchettini for baritone, cello solo and orchestra in 2012 and again in 2016 in New York City. Nicholas holds a Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from Lawrence University. He currently studies with renowned voice teacher David Jones in New York City.
Anne Polyakov, Administrative Director
Assuming the role of Administrative Director in April 2017, Anne Polyakov is a pianist and composer with interests that lie in the intersection of the arts, ecology and activism. Anne graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biophysics from Harvard University, where she managed the Harvard Composers Association. She then received a Master’s Degree in Music Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. While in San Francisco, Anne worked at the Center for Biological Diversity as events coordinator, creating and participating in workshops, rallies and other events across San Francisco as well as volunteering for the environmental non-profit Restore Hetch-Hetchy. Anne has attended both the Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School for piano performance and music composition, and has been composing since she was 11 years old. Her pieces have been performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Oregon Bach Festival, and in Nashville, San Francisco, New York and beyond. Her music is frequently inspired by nature and the environment. Anne worked with the NGO Pacific Environment in organizing an international environmental exchange in San Francisco and Portland, connecting Russian indigenous groups and environmental organizations with the largest environmental NGOs in the United States, such as Sierra Club, Earthjustice and Greenpeace. She was program coordinator for the cultural exchange between the Siletz Tribe of Oregon and the Itelmen Tribe from Kamchatka in the Russian Far East. For the past few years, Anne has been working for U.C. Berkeley Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management publishing manuscripts on the ecology and population dynamics, as well as co-authoring a book chapter on the natural history of the central California coast. In fall 2017, she will be pursuing her doctoral degree with the Quantitative Ecology and Research Management, an interdisciplinary program at the University of Washington.
Board of Directors
Scott Meyer – Board President
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!