Angela Allen

A game of reflections

Gaming-themed opera commissioned and staged by Portland State University places women's voices centerstage

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch December 2019

Mirror Game, a new opera commissioned by Portland State University’s Opera program, made its world premiere in PSU’s Lincoln Hall Studio Theater. The opera is an intriguing effort to bring women into the limelight in a male-dominated tech world. Read More

The warhorse dilemma

Portland Opera's Puccini production provides good performances but few surprises

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch November 2019

Portland Opera has staged the beloved Madama Butterfly seven times since 1967. I have seen the opera seven times since 1962 – not all at PO. This latest PO Butterfly opened Oct. 25 and wound up a four-performance run Nov. 2 at the Keller Auditorium. Why do I keep going back? Read More

Meaning and quality on a shoestring

Opera Theater Oregon's tribute to Guthrie and Hill features expressive performances and timely message

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch August 2019

We all know a bit about Woody Guthrie, the 20th-century American social-justice troubadour. Apostles and adopters like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash embraced and copied his music ad infinitum. During these 21st-century trying times, when social justice is taking a far back seat to greed and power-grabbing, why not celebrate Guthrie again? Read More

Refreshing and overwhelming

An interview with composer-violinist Jessie Montgomery, performed and performing this weekend at Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch August 2019

Rising-star—or risen constellation—composer Jessie Montgomery will light up Sokol Blosser Winery’s Dundee tasting room for two concerts Aug. 17 and 18, final weekend of this year’s Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival. Read More

A cello sits in the foreground of a vinyard

Music in the wineries: a fine pairing

Old world and new meet and match in a rare and heady balance as the Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival uncorks its fourth vintage

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch August 2019

Good wine is a natural companion to great music, perhaps better than strawberries and cream in Oregon’s midsummer. In pairing the two, the old world meets the new, and each enhances the other, says Leo Eguchi, co-founder of August’s Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival. Read More

Punk Papageno in Wine Country

Aquilon Music Festival reinvents Mozart’s eternal opera

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch July 2019

It was, until recently, an unfamiliar word to the Oregon arts scene. “Aquilon” roughly translates as “god of the northern wind,” and has a sensory connection to Alexander Pushkin’s 19th-century poem, “My Sister’s Vineyard.” The verse finishes with “as soon as the Aquilon blows, it brings with it” [rough translation] “the aromas of spices and exotic perfumes”—a heady thought. Read More

‘La Finta Giardiniera’: early blossoms

The young Mozart's relatively obscure comic opera, staged this year by both Portland State University and Portland Opera, showcases emerging singers

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch April 2019

Did Portland’s opera directors have the same dream at the same time?

Or is it the irresistible W.A. Mozart? The composer was 18 — younger than many of these student performers— when he wrote the opera, which premiered in 1775 in Munich. Read More

‘Il Trovatore’: clarity amid complexity

Soprano Angela Meade stars in Seattle Opera's vivid production of Verdi's violent tragedy

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch Jan. 2019

Il Trovatore (The Troubadour) at Seattle Opera’s McCaw Hall Hall through Jan. 26, is a death-soaked, secret-infused and passion-obsessed opera. Giuseppe Verdi’s gory tale of revenge and jealousy is one juicy piece — when it doesn’t stumble like a lame warhorse. Read More

Autumn Leaves: PDX Jazz’s fall season

Presenting organization brings internationally renowned jazz daddies and a mama to Oregon

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch Sept. 2018

It’s no surprise that the piano-driven Tord Gustavsen Trio’s Sept. 30 concert sold out weeks ago. But you still have more chances to catch cutting-edge jazz in Portland this fall, courtesy of PDX Jazz. Read More