Vancouver Opera is showcasing Asian-Canadian singers in their “Voice of the Pacific Rim”

Opera has led to many cross-cultural musical fusions… name an opera set in Asia…

Here I am playing accordion, with soprano Jessica Cheung.  We are performing the “Farewell Song” used in the Naomi's Road opera, accompanied by Mats on guitar and Harry Aoki on bass.  Jessica is one of my favorite sopranos!  This photo is from the first open house event at Historic Joy Kogawa House. – photo Deb Martin

Some of my favorite opera arias are set in Asian.  The famous tenor aria Nessun Dorma, is from Puccini's “Turandot”, set in ancient Peking.  Puccini's beautiful “Un Bel Dei” is from Madame Butterfly, set in Japan.  I like playing both of them on my accordion.

And the “Flower Duet” from Lakme, composed by Delibes, is set in India.  You will recognize this from many television commercials.  It is always so exciting to hear it performed live.  Here's a beautiful version on youtube with Sumi Jo & Ah-Kyung Lee.  And then there is also Bizet's “The Pearl Fishers” set in Ceylon.

It's a wonder that in a Pan-Asian city such as Vancouver, there isn't a real push to feature more Asian performers.  Music has always been a prime mover in breaking down racial barriers.

The Vancouver Opera is featuring their 2nd annual “Voices of the Pacific Rim” recital.
Sunday, Feb 8th, 7:30pm.

This show features young Asian-Canadian artists.  I got to know Jessica Cheung, Gina Oh and Sam Chung, when they did the Vancouver Opera Touring production of “Naomi's Road,”  which debuted in September 2005.  I saw the show many times in many venues.  The opera was based on the children's novel “Naomi's Road” which was based on the adult novel “Obasan” by Joy Kogawa.

The presence of the opera, really helped to build awareness for the “Save Kogawa House” campaign, as well as 2005's One Book One Vancouver, by the Vancouver Public Library, which featured the novel “Obasan.”

Voices of the Pacific Rim

February 8, 2009

Vancouver Playhouse, Hamilton & Dunsmuir
Tickets:  $20, including GST
To purchase call 604-683-0222

Vancouver Opera brings Asian and western cultures together in Voices of
the Pacific Rim, a recital of popular opera selections combined with
traditional Asian songs, performed by rising Asian Canadian opera
singers and celebrating and honouring the Chinese, Korean and Japanese

Featuring Jessica Cheung, Lucy Hyeon Kyung Choi, Sam Chung, Joyce Ho,

Brian Lee, Michael Mori, Stephanie Nakagawa, Gina Oh, Asako Tamura, Szu-Wen Wang 

Music Director:  Kinza Tyrrell

Artistic Curator:  Gina Oh

Artwork:  Marco Tulio, courtesy of Artspace

Community Partners:

Powell Street Festival Society

Canadian Society for Asian Arts

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