Fanfare: Winter 2009
Author: Kathryn Kirkland; photos by Steve Dipaola
Posted: January 20, 2009

student in opera orchestraTaking on Verdi

UNIVERSITIES RARELY perform Verdi operas with their demanding voice and instrumental scores. But PSU is doing just that with a student orchestra and an almost all-student cast.

Giuseppe Verdi's Falstaff plays April 13, 15, 17, and 19 under renowned stage director Tito Capobianco (below right). Local professional Richard Zeller plays Falstaff. With Lincoln Hall under construction, the performances will be at St. Mary's Academy, 1615 SW Fifth Ave., at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. The opera will be sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Tito CapobiancoThe lyric comedy opera is based on Shakespeare's larger-than-life character, Falstaff, as he comically attempts to woo two wealthy married women using identical love letters.

Capobianco returns to PSU for his fourth year as a Jeannine B. Cowles Distinguished Professor. Under his direction, PSU's spring 2007 production of Così fan tutte won the second place award in category I in the National Opera Association's opera production competition, a major step up for the University, which previously competed in category II.

Artists share a way of life

FOR ARTISTS speaking at the free, highly acclaimed MFA Monday Night Lecture Series, their work isn't just something to hang on a wall—it's a way of life.

Artist, curator, and editor Julie Ault is founder of a New York-based artists' collaborative that explores the political and public possibilities of art. Fashion and installation artist J. Morgan Puett joined forces with other artists to transform a crumbling Pennsylvania farm into a historical museum that hosts art installations.

Ault and Puett are just two of the nine artists chosen by Portland State Master of Fine Arts students to speak about their work during winter term on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. in Shattuck Hall, southwest Broadway and Hall. Ault speaks Feb. 9 and Puett on March 9. Other artists scheduled include Edgar Arceneaux, Feb. 2; Mark Beasley, Feb. 16; Althea Thauberger, Feb. 23; and Modou Dieng, March 2.

The lecture series is the brainchild of Harrell Fletcher, professor of art and an internationally recognized artist. For more information, visit

One woman's struggle

by Betty Roberts '58 with Gail Wells, Oregon State University Press, 2008

Born in Depression-era Texas to a father crippled by bootleg whiskey and a mother who took in laundry to make ends meet, it is a wonder that Betty Roberts became a teacher, lawyer, state legislator, candidate for governor, and Oregon's first woman Supreme Court Justice.

In her memoir, With Grit and By Grace, Roberts holds nothing back as she recounts her deeply personal story, which also reflects the struggles and stereotypes women have historically faced. She returned to college as a 32-year-old wife and mother despite being told that she should be happy being a housewife. She went on to earn a law degree from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College.

During her 13 years as a legislator, Roberts was instrumental in the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, the Oregon Bottle Bill, and laws decriminalizing abortion and banning workplace discrimination. In 1982, she was appointed the first woman judge in the 124-year history of the Oregon Supreme Court and came to enjoy "professional collegiality" with her male fellow justices.

Roberts, now 85, made international headlines in 2004, when she performed Oregon's first same-sex marriage ceremonies.

New Works

How cities won the West: Four centuries of urban change in western North America
By Carl Abbott (urban studies and planning faculty), University of New Mexico Press, 2008

Portland's Woodlawn neighborhood
By Anjala Ehelebe '78, Arcadia Publishing, 2008

Breaking the ashes: The culture of illicit liquor in Sri Lanka
By Michele Gamburd (anthropology faculty), Cornell University Press, 2008

The alchemy of air: A Jewish genious, a doomed tycoon, and the scientific discovery that fed the world but fueled the rise of Hitler
By Thomas Hager '75, Harmony Books, 2008

Over coffee: We shared our secrets
By Julie Surface Johnson '67, WinePress Publishing, 2008

Swedish Oregon
Edited by Lars Nordstrom '81, Swedish Roots In Oregon, 2008

Food fray: Inside the controversy over genetically modified food
By Lisa Weasel (biology faculty), Amacom, 2008

Lincoln's daughter
By Tony Wolk (English faculty), PSU's Ooligan Press, 2009

The Alchemhy of Air
Over Coffee

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