Academy Award-winning English composer Rachel Portman’s magical opera comes to life in the Fall of 2018 with Opera Theater Oregon’s original production. Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s beloved classic of a young prince who falls from space into the Sahara desert is a philosophical, yet heart warming story for the whole family. OTO’s production will bring this contemporary popular opera to Portland audiences for the very first time! Look forward to original sets, costumes, artwork and a varied cast of fantastical characters, created and presented by our talented, locally-based production team.
Sung in English
Duration: 1 HR 30 MIN
Friday, November 30, at 7:30pm
Saturday, December 1, at 7:30pm
Sunday, December 2, at 3:00pm
Dolores Winningstad Theatre: 1111 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205
The Little Prince: Catherine Olson
The Pilot: Anton Belov
The Fox: Hannah Penn
The Rose: Ivy Zhou
The Water: Kari Burgess
The Snake: Madeline Ross
The Lamplighter/ Vain Man: Brendan Tuohy
The King: Damien Geter
The Businessman: Ian Timmons
The Drunkard: Weston Roth
Music Director: Justin Ralls
Stage Director: Nicholas Meyer
Costume Design: Lisa Lipton
Set Design: Butch Bylianz
Associate Director: Melory Mirashrafi
The Pilot explains that, when he was six years old, he saw a picture of a wild beast being eaten by a boa constrictor. This inspired him to draw a picture of his own, showing the snake digesting its prey. But the grownups he showed it to discouraged him from drawing and told him to concentrate on conventional subjects. Now he is a pilot, flying far above the earth among the stars.
The stars sing to each other, and a group of stars above the Sahara sees a sandstorm forcing the Pilot’s airplane to the ground. The Pilot is reflecting on the danger he is in, when a curious little boy—the Little Prince—appears. He asks the Pilot to draw him a sheep. Intrigued, the Pilot tries to learn more about him.
Gradually, the Little Prince tells his story. He explains that he comes from a tiny planet, Asteroid B-612, which is in danger of being taken over by enormous baobab trees. That is why he wanted a sheep in the first place: he hopes it will eat the baobab sprouts. He is worried, however, that the sheep will also eat flowers, as there is a special flower—a Rose—that the Little Prince wants very much to protect. The Pilot promises to draw a muzzle for the sheep so that it can’t eat the flower.
The Pilot describes the Little Prince nurturing his Rose and waiting for her to come into bloom. When he learns that her greatest fear is of catching a chill, he hastens to find a dome. She rebukes him sharply: placing her under a glass is not the way to please her. She urges him to seek wisdom in the worlds around him, and then return to her.
A flock of birds takes the Little Prince on his journey. He visits the planets of a King, a Vain Man, a Drunkard, a Businessman, and a Lamplighter. The Little Prince is bewildered by the behavior of all these grownups, except the Lamplighter, whom he respects—by tending his lamp, he is doing something useful. The Little Prince thinks anxiously about his beloved flower, whom he has left alone and defenseless. Determined to continue his travels, however, he flies on to the Planet Earth.
The Little Prince arrives on Earth and meets a Snake, who cryptically claims that with one touch, he can send him back to the place from which he came. “I’ll help you find your way back home,” the Snake promises.
The Little Prince continues exploring Earth and finds a rose garden. He is distressed to see so many beautiful flowers, because he thought his Rose was the only one of her kind. Fox hunters appear with their guns. Once they have gone, their quarry comes out of hiding. The Little Prince asks the Fox to play with him. But the Fox refuses, saying, “I’ve not been tamed.” The Little Prince learns what “taming” means. “Tamers care for what they’ve tamed. You’ll always be responsible for your Rose,” the Fox explains. The Prince realizes that his Rose is, after all, unique, because of his love for her.
He has finished recounting his adventures, and the Pilot reminds him that it’s been eight days since his plane crash and they are running out of water. They set off in search of a well, and are refreshed and saved by the water they find. But the Little Prince’s visit to Earth is coming to an end. He tells the Pilot to go back to his plane and return the next night. Filled with dread, the Pilot leaves.
When he comes back, he finds the Little Prince making an agreement with the Snake. The Prince tells the Pilot that it is time for him to return to his planet. He reassures him that he is not about to die, and that his body is just a shell: “Anything essential is invisible to the eye.” The Snake strikes and the Little Prince disappears, leaving the Pilot alone in the desert. The Pilot addresses the audience: “Wait a while beneath a star, and if a child arrives with golden hair, who laughs and disappears, make sure you tell me he’s returned.”
Synopsis courtesy of Houston Grand Opera.
Catherine Olson is an actor, vocalist, director, teacher, and Northwest native who is thrilled to be returning to Opera Theater Oregon. Recent appearances range from Shakespeare’s Laertes in Penguin Productions’ Hamlet, Clara in Light in the Piazza with Mock’s Crest Opera, and a dancing dead lady in Addams Family at Broadway Rose Theater, as well as an operatic ingénue in the season four premiere of TNT’s The Librarians. Ever the adventurous type, Catherine enjoys rock climbing, teaching students of all ages to sing, and stepping in at the last minute to sing the Queen of the Night for Portland Opera To Go’s closing performance of Mozart’s Magic Flute. Catherine has performed new and early music with Vagabond Opera, Third Angle New Music, Musica Maestrale, and Cascadia Composers. Favorite roles: Schwartzy (Putnam County Spelling Bee, Broadway Rose), Meg (Brigadoon, Oregon Festival of American Music), and Cupid (Orpheus in the Underworld, Eugene Opera). Love and thanks to her amazing family, and to everyone out there who keeps new music and theater thriving.
Since winning the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 2002, Anton Belov has expanded his career to reach major opera houses and concert halls across the United States. His voice has been called rich and mellifluous by the New York Times, while the Florida Weekly compared his performance to casting a mystical spell over the audience. A native of Russia and a graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, he has appeared with numerous companies and orchestras throughout the United States and has earned critical acclaim for his portrayals of characters as diverse as Count di Luna (Il Trovatore), Don Giovanni, Escamillo (Carmen), Germont (La Traviata), Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Doctor Malatesta (Don Pasquale), and Eugene Onegin. Dr. Belov performed throughout the United States appearing with Boston Lyric Opera, Portland Opera, Opera Boston, Opera Delaware, Connecticut Grand Opera, Tacoma Opera, Opera New Jersey, Anchorage and Eugene Operas among others.
Hannah Penn enjoys a diverse career as a performer of opera, oratorio, and recital literature. Frequently praised for her musicality and the timbre of her voice, Ms. Penn has recently been called “…a major talent”, and “…an intelligent and wonderfully musical singer” by Portland’s Willamette Week, and was praised for having “…intriguing colors at both ends of her range” by The Oregonian. She has sung more than twenty operatic roles with Glimmerglass Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Portland Opera, Tacoma Opera, and other companies. As a past member of Portland Opera’s studio artist program, Ms. Penn sang the roles of Diana (La Calisto), Thisbe (La Cenerentola), Mercedes (Carmen), Flora (La Traviata), and Nancy (Albert Herring). She also sang her first Carmen with Portland Opera, which garnered critical acclaim and resulted in a chance to reprise the role following season with the Teatro National Sucre in Quito, Ecuador. Ms. Penn has since returned to Portland Opera many times as a guest artist, most notably as Julie in Show Boat and L’enfant in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges.
Ivy Zhou is an up-and-coming soprano, currently active in Portland, OR as an opera singer, church musician, and recitalist. Originally from the East coast, Ms. Zhou received her M.M. in 2016 from Westminster Choir College and has performed all over the Pacific Northwest with Portland Opera’s outreach tour, in New Jersey with the Princeton Festival’s Baroque ensemble and operas, and internationally on major stages in Suzhou and Nanjing, China. The 2017-2018 season saw her as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with Aquilon Music Festival, Mabel in Opera on Tap PDX’s Pirates of Penzance, Second Lady and Papagena (The Magic Flute) with Portland Opera To Go, Nella (Gianni Schicchi) with the iSING! International Young Artists Festival, and a chorus member in Portland Opera’s Big Night Gala and Faust. Ms. Zhou was honored to receive a Metropolitan National Council encouragement award in 2017 and to be a finalist in the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition in 2018. Ms. Zhou is a student of Daniel Mobbs.
Madeline Ross (Soprano) / THE SNAKE
Madeline Ross is a native of Portland who studied at Willamette University and the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. She has performed La Fée in an immersive production of Massenet’s Cendrillon (Promenade Opera Project), Alice in Rossini’s Les Comte Ory (Lowell House Opera), Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (Miami Music Festival), Susanna in Nozze (Portland Summer Opera Workshop and Willamette University), Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Longy), and Servilia in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito (Promenade Opera Project). Madeline was named a winner of Longy’s 2018 Honors Competition and serves as the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Promenade Opera Project, who aim to reinvigorate opera by producing immersive adaptations of classic works. She is an avid performer of opera, jazz, musical theater, and choral works and is excited to be assisting Sing Portland as they prepare to perform at Carnegie Hall this Spring.
Kari Burgess is a lyric soprano from Portland, OR and she is ecstatic about her debut with Opera Theater Oregon. She recently was an apprentice artist with Astoria Music Festival in le nozze di Figaro where she played the role of Countess Almaviva. Her recent roles include Mimì from La bohème with Opera Bend, Micaëla from Carmen with the Central Oregon Symphony, Countess Almaviva from Le nozze di Figaro with Ping and Woof Opera, and both Rosalinda from Die Fledermaus as well as Pamina from Die Zauberflöte with Opera Bend. She has appeared as a soloist in orchestral concerts for Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Beethoven’s Fantasie. She also performed Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass this November with Eugene Concert Choir and will be performing the title role of Sandra in next fall’s premiere of Tango of the White Gardenia written by Ethan Gans-Morse. She holds a Bachelors of Music from the University of Oregon and a Masters of Music degree from California State University Northridge.
American tenor Brendan Tuohy has been praised by The Cincinnati Post for his “big, bold tenor edged with silver” and he continues to move audiences both in the states and overseas. Brendan most recently had a very busy fall performing in several of his favorite places in the Pacific Northwest. He started by singing Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with City Opera Bellevue. He then performed two role debuts. First, he sang the Chevalier in Poulenc’s tragic Dialogues des Carmélites with Vashon Opera. He then sang Bénédict in Berlioz’s hilarious adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much ado about nothing, Béatrice et Bénédict. Tuohy spent the majority of last summer in Berlin performing Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with the Berlin Opera Academy. Tuohy is a former member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio program and completed his academic training at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM) with a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance. In 2008, he had the honor of singing and competing in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Semi Finals in New York.
Damien is a diverse artist whose credits include performances ranging from the operatic stage to the television screen. Damien’s 2018-2019 season began with several concert appearances including: the Resonance Ensemble (Portland) in their SOULS concert which explores mysticism in the religions on Islam, Judaism, and Christianity; Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem; a concert version of La Boheme in the role of Colline, as well as Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with the Bremerton Symphony Orchestra; the Schubert Mass in Ab with the Oregon Chorale; and an appearance with the NW Sinfonietta as the baritone soloist in Fauré’s Requiem. Operatic appearances included a Seattle Opera debut in the role of the Undertaker, and covering the role of Jake in Porgy and Bess; and a debut with Vashon Opera in the role of Colline in La Boheme. Other recent performances include The Tales of Hoffmann as the Villains with the Pacific Northwest Opera, and Alcindoro in La Boheme with Portland Opera. Damien returned to Portland Opera in the fall of 2018 in the role of Dr. Grenville in Verdi’s La Traviata. Damien currently serves on the music faculty of The Catlin Gabel School in Portland, OR and is an adjunct instructor of voice at Portland State University. The book he co-authored, Music in Context: An Examination of Western European Music Through a Sociopolitical Lens is available on Amazon, or directly from the publisher, Kendall Hunt. www.damiengeter.com
Ian Timmons is an artist performer born and raised in Portland Or. A graduate of Portland State with a B.M in Performance and an alumni of the international award winning Portland State Chamber Choir, his recent work includes roles and chorus with the Oregon Symphony, Soloist Beethoven Choral Fantasy. Opera Theater Oregon- Old Maid and The Thief. Astoria Music Festival/Portland Summerfest Tosca. Portland State, Falke Die Fledermaus and soloist Barber’ The Lovers. The Eugene Concert Symphony, C.P.D Bach Magnificat/ PDQ Bach Blue Grass. He has worked with performers and directors from around the world including Bill Fabris,Tito Capobianco, Paul Phoenix, Richard Zellar, and Frederica von Stade. Ian is the music director at Kairos Milwaukie UCC and in addition to performing directs, writes, and arranges. Ian is thrilled to once again be joining forces with the fabulous OTO.
Weston is excited to be performing again with Opera Theater Oregon. His prior roles with OTO include Polydeuces in Giasone and The Argonauts (2014), and chorus in The Cunning Little Vixen (2013). He has also sung with the Intel Singers chorus and the Community Music Center Madrigal Singers. Weston has been studying voice with Nancy Olson Chatalas since 2012, during which time he has performed opera arias and lieder in recital and master classes with her studio. In 2016 Weston took 1st place at the NATS Cascade Chapter Classical festival in the adult recreational division. A talented singer and guitarist, Weston also performs with the Alternative Liturgy program at Trinity Episcopal Church and plays electric guitar for the local Portland band, Mostly Stones.
CREATIVE TEAM BIOS
Assuming the role of artistic co-director in 2017, award-winning composer and conductor Justin Ralls has conducted his works around the globe, including the Hydansaal in Eisenstadt, Austria, the Lucca International Youth Orchestra Festival in Albano Terme, Italy, as well as other venues throughout Europe and the US. Ralls served as Associate Conductor of Riverside Chamber Symphony (2017) and conducted the world premiere of his chamber opera, Two Yosemites: An Environmental Opera, with Opera Theater Oregon (2017). Recent projects include a commission from pianist Hunter Noack for his 2018 In a Landscape series of outdoor solo piano concerts in wild spaces and public lands throughout the NW. Ralls’ award-winning orchestral work Tree Ride was featured on Albany Symphony’s 2017 American Music Festival, conducted by David Alan Miller. Upcoming projects include a new opera for OTO, Song of the Most Beautiful Bird of the Forest (2019/20) and a song cycle for tenor, William Goforth.
Baritone Nicholas Meyer makes his directorial debut with The Little Prince and has been artistic co-director of OTO since 2017. In addition to assuming the title of artistic co-director, 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.” Other previous credits include Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Tarquinius (The Rape of Lucretia), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), 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. Nicholas holds a Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from Lawrence University.
Lisa Lipton assumed the role of Executive Director in April, 2017. She studied at Portland State University for her undergrad as well as The Central Chinese Conservatory of music in Beijing. As one of the founders of Contemporary Portland Orchestra Project, longtime collaborator of Filmusik, and other new music collectives in PDX, she is an avid performer and advocate of new music. As a performer she is extremely versatile having performed with numerous symphonies in the region and festivals such as Decibel festival, TBA festival, PDX Pop Now!, Music FestNW, Astoria Music Festival, and many others. She aspires to continue the dialogue of sharing new ideas and relevant art with the Portland community and is excited to continue this work through Opera Theater Oregon into the future.
Butch Bylianz is a designer, collector, and window dresser with wildly diverse projects to his name. Additionally, he is the longtime amanuensis to the obscure conceptual artist Zachary Becker. His eye-catching window designs are broadly embraced and, as he likes to say, “just as broadly scorned” for boutique windows across New York’s iconic shopping district, Soho. Late at night, it is these same streets and windows which Butch stalks—the curious purview of the flâneur —prowling with eyes on the garbage. Recent “trash finds” include: botany illustrations from a perfumer, a curvaceous dresser made by Heywood Wakefield, and a two-hundred-pound steel flower à la Takashi Murakami. Much of the set for The Little Prince shares this salvaged origin; Opera Theater Oregon’s commitment to sustainability added a welcomed constraint to the design process. A graduate of the New York Correspondence School, Butch returns to his alma mater this winter to exhibit a series of handbags made from the studio refuse of acclaimed American artist Tom Sachs.
Melory Mirashrafi is a fourth year student of theatre arts and music at Linfield College. Recent directing work of Melory’s includes Joseph Wilde’s Cuddles and Lori Allen Ohm’s stage adaptation of Night of the Living Dead at Linfield; onstage Melory has appeared in Lauren Gunderson’s Ada and the Engine as Ada Byron-Lovelace and Jeffrey Hatcher’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as Dr. Lanyon/Hyde 4; professional work of Melory’s includes a directing apprenticeship for Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Lully/Le Grand’s La Chûte de Phaëton at the Aquilon Music Festival, and assistant directing the world premier adaptation of Shakespeare/Nizami’s Romeo&Juliet (Layla&Majnun) with Bag&Baggage Productions.