Project Description

The new name better reflects its mission and clears up confusion with the other Portland.

Edward Parks plays Escamillo in PORTopera's production of

Edward Parks plays Escamillo in PORTopera’s production of “Carmen” at Merrill Auditorium in July 2016. Staff photo by John Ewing

PORTopera, the Portland-based professional opera company, is changing its name to Opera Maine to better reflect its statewide mission, the arts organization announced Monday.

“This has been in discussion a long time, and now is the time to do this,” said Caroline Koelker, the company’s managing director. “We’re doing so much more around the state year-round.”

The opera company mailed its 2017 season brochure to members on Monday morning with the new name. In the mailing, Artistic Director Dona D. Vaughn said new the name also will help alleviate confusion about where the company is located. With the former name, many people mistakenly thought the opera company was in Oregon, she said.

“We realized we needed a name that made it clear that we are located in the beautiful state of Maine,” Vaughn wrote. “Although 2017 marks our 23rd year of producing professional opera, there are still residents of the state, as well as opera lovers across the nation, who are surprised when they hear there is a professional opera company in Maine. We hope our new name … will alter this perception, expand awareness of the company and help us achieve our mission of spreading enthusiasm for this remarkable art form.”

The company presents a mainstage opera each summer at Merill Auditorium in Portland, a series of house concerts called Serenades, a Studio Artist Production that tours cities and towns in Maine and smaller concerts throughout the year. This summer’s mainstage production is “La Traviata,” July 26 and July 28 at Merrill. The Studio Artist Production will be “An American Dream,” a new opera commissioned by Seattle Opera that premiered in 2015. It will be presented four times, including twice at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland (July 12 and July 14), Deertrees Theater in Harrison (July 13) and The Temple at Ocean Park in Old Orchard Beach (July 16).

The company’s inaugural production was “Carmen” in 1995 at the State Theatre in Portland. It was known then as the Portland Opera Repertory Theater and was founded by former Portland Symphony Orchestra conductor and music director Bruce Hangen.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

bkeyes@pressherald.com

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