A one-night-only performance of 'Angel of the Amazon' is set for Feb. 27 at St. Matthew.

Heather JonesAn opera depicting the life of an American nun assassinated in Brazil will have its Oregon premiere in Hillsboro later this month, to mark the 13th anniversary of her death.

A production of "Angel of the Amazon," an opera about Sister Dorothy Stang, is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Hillsboro. Admission to the play is free.

The opera depicts the life of Stang, an American-born Catholic nun who spent much of her life working with the poor in Brazil.

Stang was killed Feb. 12, 2005, by two gunmen while walking to a community meeting about protecting the Amazon rainforest.

During her life, Stang was an outspoken advocate for the poor and the environment. She received death threats from loggers and land owners in Brazil, and worked with the country's rural poor from the 1960s until her death.

Stang, 73, reportedly read passages from the Bible to her killers seconds before her death, according to the play's organizers. She was shot six times.

Stang is seen as a martyr and is being considered for canonization by the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

"The opera's mission is to connect people to Sister Dorothy's story on an emotional level," said the play's composer, Evan Mack. "My hopes are that through the power of storytelling and music, audiences will make a greater bond to Dorothy's story and life work helping the poor."

The opera stars mezzo soprano Heather Jones as Stang, as well as Portland native José Rubio and will feature Ivy Zhou, Beth Medsen Bradford, Brendan Tuchy and Damien Geter.

The off-Broadway play opened in New York City in 2011. Since 2015, the play has toured across the United States, including performances in California, Ohio and Tennessee.

The Hillsboro performance is part of a five-performance, Portland-area tour, with private performances planned at the University of Portland, Portland State University, Lewis and Clark College, and St. Mary's Academy.

St. Matthew Catholic Church is located at 475 S.E. Third Ave., in Hillsboro.

By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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