We have assembled a veteran cast of seasoned “Nixonians” for Vancouver’s production of Nixon in China. Our Nixon, Chou En-Lai, Madame Mao and Henry Kissinger have all performed the role several times and bring a seasoned sense of their characters and of the work as a whole to our new production. Canadian soprano Sally Dibblee will be performing Pat Nixon for the first time and Canadian Alan Woodrow is performing his second Mao.
Here’s the rundown:
Richard Nixon - Robert Orth
Robert is a leading baritone with major opera companies including New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, D.C., Houston, Seattle, and Los Angeles. He was named “Artist of the Year” by both New York City Opera and Seattle Opera. New York City Opera also gave him the Christopher Keene Award for new and unusual repertoire. He is, in my opinion, the world’s leading interpreter of Richard Nixon.
Chou En-Lai – Chen Ye Yuan
Baritone Chen-Ye Yuan’s clear, supple voice and his ability to portray vastly different characters have earned him international acclaim. He was a winner of the 1998 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and won the gold medal in the 1994 International Tchaikovsky Competition. During his recent recital tour in Asia, the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing honoured him with the title Visiting Professor.
Madame Mao - Tracy Dahl
Canadian coloratura soprano Tracy Dahl has established herself as an important artist on the international concert and opera stages. Her flair as an actress, as well as her outstanding vocal abilities, have received high praise. Described as “a bright bird of her species” by the Vancouver Sun, “her extreme high notes,” according to the Boston Globe, “are both easy and spectacular.” Tracy recently sang in VO’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Der Rosenkavalier.
Mao Tse-tung - Alan Woodrow
One of the most sought-after heldentenors in the world today, Canadian Alan Woodrow has become a noted exponent of the roles of Wagner in the opera houses of Madrid, Seattle, Barcelona, Liege, Manaus and Toulouse; and Richard Strauss in Naples, Munich, Berlin, and London. Further appearances include Aeghist (Elektra) for the Washington National Opera and the Canadian Opera Company.
Pat Nixon - Sally Dibblee
Soprano Sally Dibblee continues to enjoy success on stages and concert halls throughout North America. Her recent engagements have included Violetta in La traviata in New Brunswick, Nedda in I pagliacci for Vancouver Opera, her role début as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly for Pacific Opera Victoria, Donna Elvira in Calgary, and Mimi in La bohème with the Toronto Symphony.
Henry Kissinger - Thomas Hammons
Basso buffo Thomas Hammons joined The Metropolitan Opera in 1996 in Tosca and has appeared there annually in Le nozze di Figaro, Billy Budd, Die Meistersinger, La bohème, and Werther. His acclaimed portrayal of Henry Kissinger in Nixon in China originated with Houston Grand Opera in 1987 and he has since taken the role to Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and Los Angeles.
Nancy T’ang - Zheng Cao
Zheng Cao is a regular with leading companies in North America and abroad. A personal favourite of Seiji Ozawa, she has appeared with him in a concert presentation of La Damnation de Faust at the Saito Kinen Festival, as a soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony for the Winter Olympic Games in Japan, and as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly for her début with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Recent engagements include appearances with Houston Grand Opera as Varvara in Katya Kabanova.
News! News! News!
Naxos has just released a new 3-CD recording of Nixon in China! It features many of the singers from our production: Robert Orth, Tracy Dahl, Thomas Hammons, and Chen-Ye Yuan. The set was recorded live in Denver, Colorado in June 2008, and is conducted by Marin Alsop with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. It’s a terrific recording and takes its place beside the 1987 recording (Thomas Hammons as Kissinger is on both recordings!). Either recording is available from your favourite store or online.
I hope you’ll agree we’ve assembled a stellar cast and artistic team to bring to Vancouver and British Columbia an exceptional new Nixon in China.
~ James W. Wright, General Director