Spotlight image for Thursdays @ Three: PSU Opera

PSU Opera

April 20, 2023: Host Christa Wessel welcomes the Portland State University Opera to the Roger O. Doyle performance studio. PSU Opera will preview their upcoming production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Baritone Dr. Harry Baechtel, Associate Professor of Voice at Portland State University, was originally scheduled to perform unpublished works by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel with pianist Chuck Dillard. Unfortunately, Dr. Baechtel was unable to perform. We look forward to featuring Dr. Baechtel and the works of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel soon on T@T.


In a mystical world of fantasy filled with terrifying dragons, mischievous fairies and charming forest animals, Tamino and his bird-catching sidekick Papageno embark on a life-changing challenge: to rescue the beautiful princess imprisoned by the evil sorcerer. Armed with little more than a magic flute and an unshakeable commitment to true love, the pair face grueling trials that test their resolve. Along the way, they discover that not all is as it appears in this mysterious realm.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute is a celebration of truth, courage, sacrifice and love as the true path to enlightenment. 

PSU's The Magic Flute
PSU Opera presents The Magic Flute

The nationally renowned Portland State University Opera was founded in 1977 and is one of the most well-established music ensembles within PSU’s School of Music and Theater program. Because of its overwhelming amount of support from the community (over 2500 people attend each year) and PSU’s focus on undergraduate performance experience, the program offers plenty of roles for talented undergrads.

The PSU Opera mounts two major productions per academic year. During fall term, the Chamber Opera production focuses on contemporary works, often from up-and-coming composers. Unique to our program, the Spring Opera is a fully staged production, with a history of positive critical reviews and sell-out crowds.

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Northern California native Dr. Harry Baechtel enjoys a wide-ranging career in the vocal arts. An advocate for new music, he created the role of Adam, a returned war veteran struggling with PTSD, in Ethan Gans-Morse’ contemporary opera/oratorio The Canticle of the Black Madonna. He also has extensive experience in the standard operatic and oratorio repertoire. Baechtel was praised for his “mellifluous” baritone, after his recent appearance with Eugene Opera as Belcore in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. His operatic roles include Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Il Conte (Le nozze di Figaro), Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte), Bob (The Old Maid and the Thief), Schaunard (La boheme), and Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette) with companies including Boston Lyric Opera, Berkshire Opera, Eugene Opera, Intermezzo Opera, and The New Opera.

Dr. Baechtel holds an M.M. in voice performance from Northwestern University, having worked with the esteemed baritones Sherrill Milnes and William Warfield, and a performer’s certificate from Boston University’s Opera Institute.  His doctoral research completed at the University of Oregon delves into a cultural analysis of the fascinating and complex relationship between Gustav Mahler, his musical settings in the German folk idiom, and the early nineteenth-century folk poetry collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn.  Dr. Baechtel is currently an associate professor of voice at Portland State University.

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