Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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As a Portland native and opera lover, I could choose to mourn this newest chapter of the Portland Opera that comes a decade too late. I, however, cannot contain my excitement at the silver lining.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Major changes, including new leadership and new austerity, are underway at the Portland Opera.

The house that John Hampton built for the Portland Opera is crumbling (See "Dramatic Turn," Portland Tribune, Tuesday, Aug. 6).

After working tirelessly for decades, Hampton provided the Portland Opera with a stable legacy, only to now have the organization struggle in its fifth decade.

Kudos to the Portland Opera Board of Directors for finally removing Director Christopher Mattaliano, as reported by the Portland Tribune, after 16 years of great stage directing, but also 16 years of mediocre, ineffective and destructive business leadership.

As a Portland native and opera lover, I could choose to mourn this newest chapter of the Portland Opera that comes a decade too late. I, however, cannot contain my excitement at the silver lining.

With the removal of Mattaliano, the Portland Opera has a chance to become more relevant to our community and take the lead in supporting other local operatic efforts. The new "summer" schedule the Portland Opera adopted three years ago has already set the stage for a half-dozen small opera entities to bring offerings that do not have to compete with Portland Opera dates.

Opera is being produced in venues that are more accessible, making tickets more affordable or, in some cases, free.

Portland Opera has great educational programming already in place, which thankfully remains intact. This will continue to introduce our youth to this wonderfully unique art form.

Now, the board needs to win back supporters and subscribers. Transparency goes a long way, and that has been lacking for years at Portland Opera. (I should know, I used to work there.)

I sincerely wish the best for the Portland Opera and hope that the board of directors will continue to work toward rebuilding, making John Hampton's efforts not in vain.

Laura Newton is a former Portland Opera employee and a former Portland Opera Guild board member. She lives in Portland.


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