After a four-year hiatus, Artistic Director Katie Taylor returned to OTO in 2015. She previously held the position from 2006 to 2011 and was the artistic visionary behind the development of the company’s novel approach to opera, which emphasizes radical accessibility and playful experimentation. In addition to originating the company’s Opera Cinema series, which pairs opera with silent cinema, Katie has written five original stage shows for the company, including Out of Eden (Werther, 2011); Baywatch/Das Rheingold (2010); Five-minute Faust (2007); Muscle-Max (The Elixir of Love, 2007); Will Kill for Vaudeville (2007) and The Impresario (2005). She also co-wrote, co-directed and co-produced two award-winning original opera film shorts, Game Night (2009) and Dick’s In Space (2010). Hercules vs. Vampires, an original OTO production conceptualized by Katie and Galen Huckins of Filmusik and composed for OTO by Patrick Morganelli was remounted by LA Opera in April 2015. Katie has guest directed for Astoria Music Festival, Portland Summerfest and Portland State University’s opera workshop. As a singer, she appeared in San Francisco and across the US as Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen with San Francisco Opera Center’s Merola Program and Western Opera Theater Tour, won Portland Opera’s prestigious Eleanor Lieber Award and placed in the top three at the Northwest Regional Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions twice.
Music Director Erica Melton has worked with Opera Theater Oregon since its founding in 2005. During her tenure with the organization, Opera Theater Oregon has earned a reputation for high musical standards and original programming. As Artistic Director from 2011 to 2014, Melton created genre-bending productions that interwove opera with film, dance, cuisine and fashion, including the company’s first outdoor production, The Cunning Little Vixen, performed at Wild Goose Farm on Sauvie Island. As Music Director, a role she also held from 2008-2011, Melton transformed the musical element of the company from cabaret-style performances with piano accompaniment to professional productions with 20-25 piece orchestra, including an original opera commissioned for the company in 2010. Her original arrangements of traditional operas have incorporated electric and popular instruments along with conventional symphonic elements. Melton is particularly interested in novel combinations of instruments that can serve the needs of small opera companies with varied missions and resources. Melton holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance from Portland State University and a Bachelor of Music from UC Berkeley. She has worked as a coach accompanist with Seattle Opera, Portland State University, the University of Portland and Northwest Children’s Theater. Performance credits include Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, Mark Morris Dance Group, Berkeley Lyric Opera, and Portland Symphonic Choir. An active piano teacher and vocal coach, Melton also maintains a private studio in Northeast Portland’s Alberta Arts district.
Jen Wechsler is a Canadian born filmmaker who grew up in the LA area. She graduated with a Bachelor in Media Arts from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design in 2004 where she produced and directed several experimental and narrative short films as well as co-produced a student film showcase, The Vanguard Film Festival. After moving to San Francisco and Philadelphia she found herself in Portland, OR in 2007 where she produced festival events for Living Room Theaters and later shifted her focus from programming to working in the local production industry. While freelancing in the industry and working as the Membership Assistant at Oregon Media Production Association she began to further immerse herself in Portland’s film community by volunteering for the Portland Oregon Woman’s Film Festival, becoming the Film Director at Opera Theater Oregon, as well as becoming a active member of WIF-PDX. After 3 years working at OMPA she accepted a position at Deep Green Films and in 2012 became the Managing Director of the Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival as well as producing her first 2 commercial projects. After working at Rex, freelancing for ADi, and producing several more commercial productions she recently accepted the position of Office Manager at Limbo Films and continues to volunteer for the non-profits Opera Theater Oregon, OMPA, and POWFest while developing a new business with partner Ian Probasco.
Celine helps to coordinate development for OTO, aiding in grant writing, fundraising and general administrative tasks. She is currently a DMA candidate in flute performance at the University of Oregon, where she also studies arts administration and non-profit management. She freelances regularly throughout the Willamette Valley and has an enthusiastic studio of young flutists. Celine is a graduate of New York University, where she studied experimental music. Her career as a flutist includes performances with the New York New Music Ensemble, Robert Dick Quartet, Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Memphis Symphony, Portland Columbia Symphony, Classical Revolution PDX, Filmusik, OTO and the Cascadia Composers. She has given masterclasses across the country in traditional/contemporary music as well as creative musicianship through improvisation, was an invited pedagogy presenter at the 2008 National Flute Association’s Annual Convention, and has recently had an article on improvisation and pedagogy published in Flute Talk Magazine. As an avid supporter of the PDX music scene, she also volunteers her time to help Classical Revolution PDX and the Greater Portland Flute Society.