Photo Journal: Tan Dun's Tea in Its North American Premiere

Classic Arts News   Photo Journal: Tan Dun's Tea in Its North American Premiere
When Tan Dun's third opera, The First Emperor, had its world premiere this past winter with Plšcido Domingo in the title role, thousands of people saw it live in its sold-out run at the Metropolitan Opera House, and many thousands more enjoyed it in movie theaters via high-definition simulcast and later on PBS television.

Fewer people (so far) have seen the composer's second opera — Tea: A Mirror of the Soul, which recounts the tale of a monk who drinks "the tea of emptiness," poured from an empty pot into an empty bowl ...

The work's 2002 world premiere production, at Tokyo's Suntory Hall, has been released on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon; Tea has since been staged in the Netherlands, Germany, France and New Zealand. Last weekend, on July 21, Santa Fe Opera presented the opera's North American premiere, of which we offer photos below.

Baritone Haijing Fu stars as the monk Seikyo, a role he created. Soprano Kelly Kaduce plays his beloved Princess Lan, with tenor Roger Honeywell as her jealous brother, the Prince, bass-baritone Christian Van Horn as their father, the Emperor of China, and contralto Nancy Maultsby as both the Court Ritualist and Lu, daughter of the great tea sage Luyu. Lawrence Renes conducts, and the production is staged by Amon Miyamoto.

Tea has four more performances at Santa Fe Opera, on August 3, 9, 15 and 23. Information and tickets are available at

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All photos by Ken Howard.

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