Angela Allen

Let us love: The ‘Sun Comes Out’ at Portland Opera

Queer-themed Canadian opera makes U.S. premiere at Hampton Opera Center.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch February 2022

When the Sun Comes Out opened in 2013 in Canada, commissioned by the Vancouver Queer Arts Festival. Now, a long eight years later, the new-music opera by Japanese-Canadian Leslie Uyeda with a gorgeous libretto by Canadian poet Rachel Rose, finally premieres in the United States. Read More

Other worlds beyond Earth: Seattle Opera’s ‘Orpheus’

A stunning staging with top-notch design and choreography brings Gluck's 1762 music into a thoroughly contemporary Underworld.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch January 2022

Since the 1600s, countless Orpheus and Eurydice operas have been staged. Today, several have been making the rounds, including Matthew Aucoin’s (with playwright Sarah Ruhl’s libretto) Eurydice, written from Eurydice’s point of view. Read More

It always works out: A joyful journey with David Krakauer and Portland Chamber Orchestra

Rock star clarinetist and PCO celebrate Hanukkah with klezmer improvisations and a Wlad Marhulets concerto

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch December 2021

Hanukkah, klezmer music, and David Krakauer united in Portland Chamber Orchestra’s “Joyful Journey” Dec. 4 at northwest Portland’s Trinity Episcopal Church. The exuberant musical trip through celebratory and revived Eastern European Jewish (Ashkenazi) music lived up to its billing. Read More

Contrasts and comparisons: Brentano String Quartet’s concert of Stravinsky miniatures

CMNW artists-in-residence perform the composer’s chamber works with complementary music by Cage, Machaut, Gesualdo, Verdi, and Beethoven

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch December 2021

The Brentano String Quartet’s “A Tribute to Stravinsky” Dec. 3 at Portland State University’s Lincoln Recital Hall invited the audience on a thought-provoking journey. But you had to listen up — and read up — and keep your mind wide open, because there was a lot to understand. Read More

Taming the French horn: Radovan Vlatkovic at Chamber Music Northwest

Vlatkovic, performing with CMNW co-directors Gloria Chien and Soovin Kim, gets a five-minute standing ovation.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch November 2021

French horns don’t get a lot of attention.

That is, unless one is tamed by Yugoslavian-born (now Croatian) Radovan Vlatkovic. He is embraced by horn musicians internationally, so no surprise that the entire Oregon Symphony’s horn section showed up to hear him Nov. 18 at Chamber Music Northwest’s sold-out Old Church concert in downtown Portland. Read More

‘Tosca’ review: Gorgeous singing, warhorse tale at Portland Opera

The singing's terrific and the crowd shouted "Bravo!" But the story in Puccini's 1900 hit can't keep up with 21st century times.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch November 2021

Portland Opera’s Tosca, which opened Oct. 29 in the Keller Auditorium with many of its 3,000 seats empty, possesses the makings of grand opera, including a stellar cast and creative team, many of whom were making their PO debuts. Added to that are opulent sets and costumes, moody lighting, and of course, Giacomo Puccini’s irresistibly sweeping melodic music.  Read More

Diving into the moment of creation: Priti Gandhi and Damien Geter lead Portland Opera out of Covid and into a new season

The opera opens with a new artistic director, a new interim music director, a fresh slate of forward-looking priorities – and an old standby in "Tosca."

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch October 2021

A newly shaped inclusive mission, a new artistic director and newer music director, and a familiar 1900 Giacomo Puccini opera will open Portland Opera’s 2021-22 season on Oct. 29. Read More

Review: Center Stage’s fine fit of Fridamania

Vanessa Severo's virtuoso turn onstage joins a rush of Kahlo from the opera to a coming museum show.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch October 2021

In Portland’s tsunami of Fridamania, Frida … A Self Portrait is on a path to stirring up waves. 

In June, Portland Opera staged Frida, a 95-minute production to sold-out audiences at the Jordan Schnitzer open-air stage. The Portland Art Museum’s exhibit Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism will run Feb. 19-June 5 next year. Read More

Staging ‘Blue’: Contemporary opera at Michigan Opera Theatre

New work by Tazewell Thompson and Jeanine Tesori reflects Black experience in America

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch September 2021

When a new opera is performed in an amphitheater, big ideas are in store. Such a space signals a spectacle. It reaches out to ordinary people — a lot of them. That’s what the Romans intended in 29 B.C. when they built their first amphitheater.

That is partly what Detroit’s Michigan Opera Theatre creatives had in mind by staging Blue—named the  Best New Opera of 2020 by the Music Critics Association of North America—on Sept. 11 and 12 in Detroit’s 6,000-seat Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre.  Read More

Man of Many Octaves

Not Bass, Not Baritone, Davóne Tines Revels In A Register All His Own

Originally Published in Classical Voice North America August 2021

PROFILE – Davóne Tines was a freshman at Fauquier High School in Warrenton, Va., when his grandfather, a retired Navy captain and choir director, was joking around with him, exaggerating opera-like syllables. Tines responded in operatic style, and his granddad said, as Tines remembers it, “Well, I think you have a voice.” Read More