Not long ago we spoke to Alan Woodrow, our Mao Tse-tung in the upcoming production of Nixon in China. Mr. Woodrow filled us in about his beginnings in the opera world and how he would convince you to attend an opera. Read the interview below to learn about this talented tenor who has defined the role of Mao in Nixon in China.
How did your initial interest in the art form of opera begin?
Mr. Woodrow – I come from a musical family but more in a choral music tradition. I was always encouraged to sing and by age 18 I realized it was the only thing I was any good at so decided to make my living at it. After an audition for The Earl of Harewood I was offered a principal contract at English National Opera and have been an opera singer ever since.
Where did you grow up?
Mr. Woodrow – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Do you have a significant other? Children? Pets?
Mr. Woodrow – My wife, soprano Vivian Tierney, three children, three dogs, three cats and eight chickens.
What is an average day like for you? Do you have a set routine?
Mr. Woodrow – I do not have a set routine- every day is different but in the winter it starts in the country where I live now by getting the wood stove going and checking for eggs from my chickens. Then all the other animals have to be seen to and my day begins.
Then at some part during the day I go to my music room and do some singing and study for my next role.
What is your favorite opera to watch/experience?
Mr. Woodrow – Any Wagnerian Opera
Have you performed your role in Nixon in China before? If so, do you have any interesting anecdotes you can share about the experience?
Mr. Woodrow - I have performed it in this production in Vancouver. The interesting thing for me it that it is the first opera based on actual historical events where I actually remember the events when they happened. Just a sign of old age I guess!!!!
What language(s) do you speak fluently?
Mr. Woodrow – English although I have sung in Russian, German, French, Italian, Czech, and Hebrew
What facts about you would our audiences be surprised to learn?
Mr. Woodrow – I rarely attend or even listen to opera if I’m not in it myself.
The opera role you haven’t performed, but would like to perform the most in your career?
Mr. Woodrow – I think I’ve sung pretty much every role I ever dreamed of doing.
If you bumped into me at a coffee shop and learned that I had never been to an opera before, what would you say to entice me to give it a try?
Mr. Woodrow – This is a truly wonderful experience usually performed without electrical enhancement – a true three dimensional adventure. And each and every performance is unique. In no other art form do you get this combination of live music and theatre and the sound of a full symphony orchestra will blow you away!