Twenty Questions with Robert Orth

Posted by Vancouver Opera On 11:17 AM

Some artists are just born to sing certain roles. Baritone Robert Orth has become the definitive Richard Nixon in John Adams' Nixon in China. Robert has played Nixon for St. Louis Opera, Opera Colorado, Chicago Opera, Portland Opera and Vancouver Opera. He will go on to reprise the role for the Canadian Opera Company in 2011.


As Robert is the world's leading interpreter of Richard Nixon, it came as no surprise that he was chosen to sing the role in a new recording of the Nixon in China CD. (2009)

We spent a few minutes with Robert Orth to ask him our "20 Questions."

Guilty musical pleasure?
I’m pretty guilt-free about music. Should I feel guilty about liking Michael Buble?

Where do you love to sing?
On stage.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Being with our family and friends in our garden, in perfect weather, having a great conversation and a fantastic meal.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Sloth. Is doing Sudoku a fault?

Who are your favourite heroes/heroines of fiction?
Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird

Who are your favourite characters in history?
Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Harvey Milk

Who are your favourite heroes/heroines in real life?
Barak Obama, Muhammad Yunus (inventer of Micro-credit), Greg Mortenson (builds schools in Central Asia), Michael Moore

Who is your favourite author?
John Irving, Ann Lamott

Your favourite musician?
Don’t make me choose.

Your favourite composer?
Ravel, Vivaldi, Bach, Bernstein, Rossini, and too many living composers to mention.

What quality do you most admire in a person?
Indiscriminate kindness

Your favourite virtue?
Love.

Your favourite occupation?
Singing Actor

What did you want to be as a child?
A missionary or a “child star”

Your most marked characteristic?
Ambivalence

What do you most value in your friends?
Generosity of spirit and a great sense of humor

For what would you like to be remembered?
Being kind and generous more often than not, and funny

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
Dance.

What is your motto?
The secret to happiness is not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you got.

What non-opera song do you rock?
The Green-Eyed Dragon with the Thirteen Tails

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