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PORTopera Production of "La Boheme" Highlights USM Community Connection

More than 52 USM students, faculty, and alumni affiliated with the university’s School of Music and Department of Theatre took part in the PORTopera’s performances of “La Boheme” last month. Here is a list of students, some with solo parts, who participated. 

Emily Waller, Auburn, assistant props master and carpenter,

Jesse Wakeman, Belfast, sang the part of Parpignol,

Clare Mckelway, Belgrade Lakes, wardrobe crew,

Dalton Kimball, Benton, actor and light-board operator,

Tom Campbell, Cape Elizabeth, carpenter,

Earl Vogel, Eliot, chorus,

Angelica Pendleton, Gorham, scenic painter,

Josh Miller, Lamoine, sang the part of Customs House Official,

Cathryn Mathews, North Berwick, chorus,

Joshua Witham, Norway, chorus,

Eileen Hanley, Peaks Island, chorus,

Christopher Climo, Portland, sang the part of Sergeant,

Derek Herzer, Portland, chorus rehearsal pianist,

Sable Strout, Richmond, chorus,

James Brown, Scarborough, chorus,

Aaren Rivard, South China, sang the part of A Hawker,

Matthew LaBerge, South Portland, chorus,

James Futter, Brookfield, Conn., assistant technical director,

Sarah Mawn, Lakeville, Mass., supertile operator 

PORTopera’s annual production gives USM students an exceptional training experience, according to USM officials. All of the performers had to audition for the chorus and roles and received a small stipend for their work 

“Since PORTopera’s inception 20 years ago, USM faculty, staff and students have played a vital role in the company’s success,” said Dona D. Vaughn, PORTopera’s artistic director, who received an honorary doctorate from USM in 2011. “We have counted on their professionalism in the pit, their high artistic standards on stage and their skills as production craftsmen and designers behind the scenes. We are grateful for this association and look forward to its continuation.”

“The USM involvement with PORTopera's production of “La Boheme” is an excellent example of why USM is such a great place to study music and such a great resource to the cultural community of Maine,” said Alan Kaschub, USM School of Music director, who also played trumpet in the opera’s orchestra.

Ellen Chickering, USM professor of voice and long-time PORTopera advisory board member, agreed, noting that the USM participants get a unique experience through such a quality organization. “We’re educating and training our students to be professionals,” she said. “Through PORTopera, our students get to be with professionals on stage. They get to watch them and learn from them. They get to perform with and get to know artists personally. They get to know what it’s really like to be a professional.”

Visit USM’s School of Music and Department of Theatre to learn more of what they offer students interested in the performing arts.