9 thoughts on “Washington Park, 1962

  1. Nice setting for this opera with the costumes, microphones suspended overhead, the women in heavy makeup. Many of those on stage (men) are wearing “Zories” (aka “Jandal”) an early rubberized type of flip-flops that originated in 1957 modeled after Japanese footwear.

    Background: Aida. Set in Ancient Egypt, “Aida is a timeless story of love and betrayal against the backdrop of war.” The story is a roller coaster of emotions told through Verdi’s powerful music. Aida is an Ethiopian princess held captive in Egypt, in love with a General, Radames, and he with her.
    The plot is based on a true story found in Papyrus and re-written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette.
    Buried alive in a tomb beneath the temple, Radames’ last thoughts are about Aida, when suddenly she appears in the grave, having slipped in earlier to share his fate.

  2. Wonderful, free, family entertainment night after night in August in the Rose Garden outdoor theater. My first exposure to opera was in that beautiful setting. I agree, Susan, what a treasure!

  3. Children involved in the summer programs with Portland Parks and Recreation in the 50’s staged plays at Washington Park. One was Hansel and Gretel and another had girls dressed in pretty, long dark blue gowns…I just don’t remember what that play was.
    And yes, the setting was spectacular and made quite a lasting impression on my cousin and I.

  4. One of those plays Judy is referring to was “Aladdin,” probably about 1957-58. Children from different parks and rec centers would play the different roles in these pageants. The girls and boys in our group (10 – 12 yrs. old) played beggars; we had colorful home-made costumes and did a little dance. Moms were kept busy sewing costumes. The lead roles in “Aladdin” were played by older kids. Children from all over Portland came together for the rehearsals a day or so before the performance. Somehow it all came together. Hundreds of children took part in these pageants and they were lots of fun!

  5. I saw many a Japanese plays in the Rose Test Garden Amphitheater in mid 60,s rode the Rose City buses, Mother and brothers and me, picnic basket too.

  6. I used to attend the free opera in Washington Park every summer during the late ’70s, early ’80s. My only real complaint was they performed all of them in English.

  7. I was looking for photos of a play I was in that was put on by Portland Oregon’s Parks & Recreation back in the early 1960’s. I was about 10 and a group of us learned our part at Brooklyn Park. My grandmother made my costume and I thought I was a tree..not sure though. I have a picture of my posing in it in my own yard. I remember some details of the outdoor amphitheater, but not much of the actual play, I think it was Wizard of Oz but not sure. It was a magical evening, the space seemed immense, with perfect green carpet of grass, tall hedges and the terraced seating. I’d love to see photos from that particular evening.

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