Vancouver Opera produced a wonderful concert last Sunday evening at the Playhouse Theatre: Voices of the Pacific Rim.
This concert is unique in our city. Combining eastern and western vocal traditions in a concert setting is the sort of adventurous engagement of our diverse communities that excites all of us at Vancouver Opera.
In all likelihood not a single person in Sunday night’s audience was familiar with every selection – I certainly was not. And I am even more certain that no one had ever heard them performed together on the same program by such youthful, engaging talent. Sunday evening’s Voices of the Pacific Rim cross-cultural meeting was respectful, engrossing and rewarding, and serves as an example of what is possible in the arts and essential to our lives.
The evening was a success because of the incredibly hard work and enthusiasm – and vision – of a special group of volunteers headed by our board member Stephanie Chung with lots of strong support from her fellow directors Yoshiko Karasawa and Julia Kim, and a host of other staff and volunteers – and of course the wonderful artists who performed.
To give an idea of the selections on the concert, here are a few: "Pace, Pace Mio Dio" from La Forza del Destino; "Je Veux Vivre" from Romeo et Juliette; “The Song of the Cherry Shell” (traditional Japanese song); "Glitter and be Gay" from Candide, "O Soave Fanciulla" from La Boheme; “The Never-setting Sun Rises Over the Prairie” by Jiang Dawei; The Queen of the Night’s aria from The Magic Flute, and “In the Memory of the Mountain” by Young Sub Choi. What a diverse repertoire!
The wonderful Canadian artists performing were Tina Chang, Evanna Chiew, Jihwan Cho, Caroline Yoonkyoung Jang, Teiya Kasahara, Brian Kwangmin Lee, Rose-Ellen Nichols, and Xiao Dong Zhang. Our special guest soprano from Korea was Young Mi Kim. Kinza Tyrrell was the music director and Gina Oh curated the program.
I left the theatre being very proud of our Canadian talent, grateful for our dedicated volunteers, and happy to be associated with Vancouver Opera.
- James W. Wright, General Director, Vancouver Opera