PORTopera presents: A Night at the Opera


Friday, May 6, 2016 at 6PM

The Westin Portland Harborview Hotel

157 High Street, Portland, ME

Cocktails at 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner in the Eastland Grand Ballroom

Live Auction

Performance by former PORTopera Young Artists:
Heather Johnson, Lucas Levy, & Josh Quinn
Timothy Steele, accompanist

$130 per person
In support of this year's production of Georges Bizet's CARMEN

Black Tie

Kindly respond by April 25

Thank you to our Patron Committee

Elizabeth Astor Robert & Margaret Macdonald
Peter & Connie Bingham Mike & Nancy Marino
Ann Elderkin & James Bucknam Richard & Carolyn McGoldrick
Jonathan Carr & Todd Greenquist Aaron Morris
Linda Cronkhite Leonard & Merle Nelson
Tracy Davis Sarah Newick
Jackie Dennis Jean Kishida Nishiyama
Carol Fritz Anne & Vince Oliviero
John Hatcher & Dan Kennedy Peter & Pam Plumb
Donald L. Head & Caron Zand J. Ronald Poulin
Thomas L. Hinkle & Gary E. Duford Dr. Carla Rigby
William & Jean Holt Jane & Harrison H. Sawyer
Thomas B. Johnson Warren & Melody Schubert
Jane & Phillip Johnston Arlene & Wilmont Schwind
Thomas G. Jordan & Carl V. Gatto John & Elizabeth Serrage
Peter & Judie Kelly Ruth T. Story
Jana Lapoint Robin & Fred Webber
Mrs. Arthur R. LeBlanc Jr. Jane Costello Wellehan
Candice Lee Margaret & Skip Wilkis
Peter and Kathleen Leslie Diane York
Robert & Cynthia Macdonald  


Dona D. Vaughn, John Bottero/Thomaston Place Auction Galleries,
Carl & Pat Bredenberg, Russ Burleigh, Candice Lee,
Dan Kennedy/Harmon's & Barton's Florists,
Arlene Schwind, Portland Seadogs, Starbird Music & Piano Gallery,
Union Restaurant, Anna Paschal & The Westin Portland Harborview Hotel


Elizabeth Astor, Tracy Davis, Caroline Koelker, Robert Macdonald,
Arlene Schwind, Margaret Wilkis, April Ylvisaker, Diane York

Please contact us to buy tickets by email

or by phone at 207-879-7678

First Friday Art Walk results in road closures in the Arts District of Portland, please plan your travel time accordingly and check back for more details.”


1. Washington National Opera Weekend. Three nights in a one bedroom apartment near excellent restaurants within walking distance of the Kennedy Center. A pair of tickets to your choice of a WNO performance, plus a tour of the Kennedy Center, a tour of the Monroe House at the Washington Arts Club and a meal at the University Club of Washington D.C.
Courtesy of Ann Elderkin & James Bucknam, Robin & Fred Webber

2. Walk-on role in the 2016 production of Carmen, July 27 and 29. Have that yearning to be on stage? Here's your chance. Artistic Director Dona D. Vaughn will design a role just for you, with your own costume. It will be a role never done before. You will make operatic history! Will you have to sing? Not unless you think you can (and Dona agrees). You'll have to attend rehearsals, of course, and that's another fantastic experience all its own. Priceless!!!

3. Gourmet Dinner for 8 by Candice Lee. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, four courses with wine pairings . A 2007 graduate of the French Culinary Institute of NYC, Candice will offer you a choice of three different menus. Served in the lovely ambiance of her West End home.

4. Aida at Tanglewood. Two excellenttickets to Aida (concert version), August 20, 2016, with soprano Kristine Opolais and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. A tour of The Mount, the beautiful historic house museum and gardens where Edith Wharton lived.
Courtesy of Alyson Bristol

5. Metropolitan Opera Getaway. A two-night stay within walking distance of Lincoln Center includes best seats to the Met production of Rusalka between March 2 and April 2, 2017, with Megan Marino singing. Also receive a DVD of the opera, a backstage tour, and a $150 gift certificate for dining at Lincoln Center's elegant Grand Tier Restaurant!
Courtesy of John & Liz Serrage, Megan Marino, Jackie Dennis, Jack & Bonnie Riddle.

6. Two best tickets to Carmen with dinner for two at the Press Hotel and special invitation to Garden Party. PORTopera stars will shine and you'll be seated in the first class section! Enjoy dinner before the show at the Press Hotel's Union Restaurant. But wait there's more...Meet the cast and artistic team at an oceanfront garden party in beautiful Cape Elizabeth on Thursday, July 28.

7. Authentic Classically Structured 8-course Italian Dinner for 6 prepared by Anthony Fratianne. Anthony was chef apprentice at "Vetri" in Philadelphia, recently named the finest Italian restaurant in America. Anthony's cooking is also heavily influenced by his numerous culinary experiences in Rome and the Val d'Orcia region of Tuscany during the past decade. This spectacular dinner at Granite Ridge in Norway, Me. includes an overnight stay for 6, homemade limoncello, fresh truffles imported by Urbani Truffles (as featured on 60 Minutes) homemade gelato, fine vintage Italian wines, an authentic Italian breakfast, and a few surprises.

8. A Custom Oil Painting by Jack Riddle. Representational/Impressionist style up to 36" wide. Perhaps your home? A favorite Maine scene? Your boat?
Work with Jack to come up with the painting you've always wanted.
Check out his work on www.fineartamerica.com. Search for artists/JackRiddle

9. Two Night Golf Get-away for Four. Two couples with golf privileges and carts for two days at Boothbay Harbor Country Club. No expense was spared to create an unrivaled golfing experience at the newly expanded and renovated Boothbay Harbor Country Club. PLUS two nights at a 4 bedroom villa on the course.
Courtesy of Paul Coulombe

10. Signed Historic photo of Mickey Mantle & Four Tickets to a Seadogs Game.
Take in a ballgame on July 16 and hear PORTopera singers perform the National Anthem. Tickets may be used at any game throughout the 2016 season.
Courtesy of William Page Asbury and the Portland Seadogs

11. Opera in Pensacola, Florida and two nights in a beachside hotel. Escape the cold of Maine in January 2017 and see Aida performed in Florida by Pensacola Opera and enjoy special reception at the opera.

Thank You to Our Sponsors!


PORTopera is thankful for the support of the following foundations.
Anne Randolph Henry Charitable Foundation
The Davis Family Foundation Jensen Foundation
The Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust
ART WORKS | The National Endowment for the Arts
Opera Volunteers International

The production for our 2016 Season is…

Georges Bizet's Carmen

PORTopera has selected Bizet's famous tale of lust, revenge and murder as its mainstage production on July 27 and 29, 2016, the company’s 22nd year. The opera will be fully staged and costumed with PORTopera's Orchestra conducted by Maestro Stephen Lord in the pit. The production will also include the PORTopera Chorus and Children's Chorus. Casting is taking place now and Artistic and Stage Director Dona D. Vaughn promises an all-star collection of singers and our most memorable production yet. Tickets on Sale now!

PORTopera Chorus Auditions

PORTopera’s mainstage production of Carmen is excited to feature our community of singers young and old alongside some of the finest singers, director, and conductor in the country. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this year’s dynamic cast!

Musical rehearsals will take place in June for the Adult Chorus and in May and June for the Children’s Chorus. The performance will be fully staged. Staging rehearsals will begin no earlier than July 6. Dona D. Vaughn, artistic director, will work with the chorus on Tuesdays and Thursdays (likely evenings) and Saturdays and Sundays (anytime day/evening).

Adult and Teen Chorus Auditions

By appointment by contacting portoperachorus@gmail.com

April 30, 2016 at Williston-Immanuel Church, 156 High Street, Portland. 10:00 am to noon.

Children’s Chorus Auditions

Friday, March 11, 2016, from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Saturday, March 12, 2016, from 9:00 am - 12:00 noon

Location: West Falmouth Baptist Church, 18 Mountain Rd., Falmouth, Maine

Click here to schedule a children's audition.

For any questions or more information contact portoperachorus@gmail.com

PORTopera thanks all our patrons and supporters for their tremendous support of Tosca and making 2015 one of our most successful years ever.

Opera News Review for Tosca »

PORTopera Thanks Its Corporate
and Foundation Supporters. Bravo!

PORTopera is proud to be a member of the

Corporate Supporters











Foundation Supporters



PORTopera appoints Caroline Koelker managing director

PORTopera recently announced the appointment of Caroline Koelker as managing director. In this role she is responsible for managing all aspects of the opera company’s productions, outreach and fundraising.

Click here for more information on Caroline in a recent press release »

PORTopera Goes to Mount Desert Island

The Claremont Hotel, 1884, Southwest Harbor, Maine

On Thursday, August 27, 2015, PORTopera presented a program at the legendary Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor, Maine. Gorgeously sited on Somes Sound, the Claremont hosts lectures and concerts in its Clark Point Room during the summer season. These programs attract not only the hotel’s guests but also residents and visitors from all over Mount Desert Island. Claremont owner William McCue had attended PORTopera’s January performance of “When Bel Canto was New: A Celebration of the First Italian Operas in America, 1825-1835,” and he was so enthralled that he invited organizer Arlene Palmer Schwind to reprise it at the Hotel.

Pianist Robert Peterson, organizer and PORTopera trustee Arlene Palmer Schwind, tenor Chris Lucier, mezzo-soprano Jessica Harika, and baritone Robert Mellon.
Pianist Robert Peterson, organizer and PORTopera trustee Arlene Palmer Schwind, tenor Chris Lucier, mezzo-soprano Jessica Harika, and baritone Robert Mellon.

PORTopera has never had exposure on Mount Desert before so was thrilled to be invited. The same four talented artists who performed in Portland in January traveled up from New York and delighted over seventy audience members with beautiful arias from early Rossini and Bellini operas. Arlene Schwind provided amusing historical commentary about how Americans in the 1825-1835 decade reacted to the new phenomenon that was Italian opera. The evening ended with the memorable trio from Il barbiere di Siviglia, the very first Italian opera heard in this country. As in 1825, the trio was “encored rapturously” and the artists received a standing ovation. It was the first time the Claremont had hosted an operatic program, but its resounding success suggests that it will not be the last!

PORTopera Stars Making News

The October 2015 issue of Opera News, the industry "bible," contains news of several of PORTopera's favorites.

Internationally, Kate Aldrich, singing opposite Jonas Kaufmann at France's Choregies d'Orange, was described as "in many ways a perfect Carmen - her singing was well-phrased, sexy and unexaggerated and her French is good." (!) Kate was our perfect Carmen in 2005.

Soloman Howard, The Bonze in our 2012 Madama Butterfly and Sparafucile in our 2014 Rigoletto was "a sonorous Banquo" in Verdi's MacBeth and Sarastro in The Magic Flute at this summer's Glimmerglass Festival.

Michael Mayes, Mercutio in our Romeo and Juliette (2008), sang Lawrence in The Wreckers at The Bard Summerscape. Opera News had earlier hailed his star-turn performance in Central City, Colorado's Dead Man Walking.

Singing Jessie in Opera Saratoga's The Long Walk, "Heather Johnson, her handsome mezzo rich, her treatment of words full of nuance, generated much sympathy. She sang Jessie's affecting top-of-Act II aria beautifully." Heather sang here as Hansel (2010) and Suzuki in our 2012 Butterfly.

Central City, Colorado's La Traviata starred Ellie Dehn, Dona Elvira in our 2006 Don Giovanni. "She lit up the main character, Violetta, with her sparkling stage presence, affecting acting and charismatic brio. With a radiant, dazzlingly agile voice that could hardly be better suited to this music, she handled every facet of the role with confidence and aplomb from its most challenging coloratura to its most tender moments. In short, this was a star-worthy performance in every way."

Alexandra LoBianco, spectacular as PORTopera's 2015 Tosca, sang Minnie in Des Moines Metro Opera's la Fanciulla del West. "...what truly distinguished the performance was her dramatic intelligence and exceptional level of dynamic control. This is a wonderful voice that should be heard in major houses."

Also in Des Moines, Ashley Emerson, our Daughter of the Regiment in 2011, "created an adorable Blonde (in Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail) whose sparkling coloratura remained gleaming and rounded right up to a rock-solid top E."

And speaking of Ashley, Opera News' special feature article, "Rising Stars," included her Daughter co-star, Andrew Bidlack, who will be remembered for accurately (and fearlessly) hitting all nine high Cs in our Merrill production.

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