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Portland Opera's Postcard from Morocco opens this weekend at Newmark Theater. Photo: © Cory Weaver

Portland Opera’s Postcard from Morocco opens this weekend at Newmark Theater. Photo: © Cory Weaver

by ANGELA ALLEN

Love and death are opera’s go-to themes, but erase those traditional expectations when Postcard from Morocco opens Friday for a four-performance premier run at Portland’s Newmark Theater. Expect a brew of Beckett-like suspense flavored with quirky characters with such names as Woman with a Hatbox and Man with a Shoe Sample Kit. Instead of a conventional orchestra, eight instruments – guitar, alto saxophone and trombone included – will accompany the seven singers.

Instead of a love story, Portland Opera’s seven-character chamber piece is about a journey, a trip that goes nowhere, a waiting game, an existential dilemma. Yes, there is one poster of Morocco in a generic waiting room but … (use your imagination). Originally set in a 1920s railroad station, this PO production imagines it in some time when Polaroid cameras were in vogue and cell phones weren’t ubiquitous. Every character has baggage – literally and figuratively. Finding out what’s in it keeps us on our toes.

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