Day 19 of the George Enescu Festival: Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg | 19/09/2021 by Sewb Smallshaw
“This was also a Zwerg in which the titular dwarf was sung by a singer of color (the rest of the cast was white), and hearing the Infanta’s retinue sing ‘monster!’ and ‘how grim’ as a black man first entered the stage was impossible to watch without thinking of last year’s Central Park bird-watching incident. At the same time, tenor Rodrick Dixon is no stranger to the opera (his performance in the LA Opera’s production is available on DVD) and he clearly loves to inhabit the vocally demanding role of the Dwarf, which he performs to mesmerizing effect. His ‘song of the blood orange’ was sung with heartfelt sincerity and his declaration of love for the Infanta with intense infatuation, while the way he formed a mirror with his hand and recoiled in horror at his dwarfish appearance was as agonized as the scream and anguished monologue that followed. What’s more, his brightly lyrical voice didn’t come under strain even as the tessitura crept ever higher. The rest of the cast made worthy efforts to act out their roles, but Dixon’s performance was the most in character, and the best sung.
Der Zwerg – Bucharest
By André Peyrègne | Tue 21 September 2021 |
“On the vocal side it is, if we can say, the dwarf that dominated the cast — in this case the American tenor Rodrick Dixon: full-bodied voice, warm inflections along the entire length of the range, beautiful conduct of singing.”


Der Zwerg, o premiera nationala exceptionala September 17, 2021

“Dixon was gorgeous, in a difficult role, but he conquered it with the simplicity of a lyrical voice, with a vibrato that released the emotion of the character and a luminous vocal emission. The experience of the shows in Los Angeles (under the direction of James Conlon) was seen, his musical performance was even better than then.”


The Philadelphia Inquirer – The Philadelphia Orchestra world premiere “Healing Tones” conducted by Yannick Nezet-Sequin, composed by Hannibal Lokumbe. “Tenor Rodrick Dixon caught the pain and triumph of the Shaman’s.” Peter Dobrin March 29, 2019


The St. Louis Symphony closes its season with a blockbuster ‘Flying Dutchman’ Chuck Lavazzi May 8, 2017

“Tenor Rodrick Dixon showed real passion as Senta’s unfairly scorned lover, Erik, and did it with a Clarion-clear voice. His cavatina “Willst jenes Tags du nicht dich mehr entsinnen” (Won’t you remember the day you called me to you?) in the third act was a thing of beauty.”


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sarah Bryan Miller  May 13,2017

“Rodrick Dixon made a powerful impression as Erik, the hunter who loves Senta. Dixon has a big, rich voice and turned a character who can seem unsympathetic into much more than a dramatic plot device”.


Hannibal Lokumbe’s ‘Crucifixion Resurrection Nine Souls a-Traveling’ Broad Street Review  Margaret Darby June 19, 2017

“An Absolute riveting tenor aria was sung by Rodrick Dixon to a Jazzy violin-and-piano duet…..The finale was a foot-stomping duet between the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale and Dixon.”


The New Yorker- Alex Ross- Climate Change The final edition of Spring for Music, at Carnegie Hall. May 26, 2014

“tenor Rodrick Dixon…conveyed the moment with precision and fervor”.


The Enquirer-Janelle Gelfand-Cincy in NY at Carnegie Hall May 11,2014

“And no one who was in the hall will ever forget Rodrick Dixon’s ringing tenor in the role of Moses, as he cried out his powerful invocation to God, “Why should I lead the children of Israel?”


Superconductor-Paul J. Pelkonen- The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus at Spring for Music. May 10,2014

“Roderick Dixon was a potent Moses, using his high tenor to slice into the work’s punishing tessitura”.


The Cincinnati Enquire-Janelle Gelfand- May Festival resumes with inspiring performances. May 18,2014

“…in Beethoven’s Symphonie No.9…Tenor Rodrick Dixon,….sang powerfully in his great tenor solo and ensembles.”

“In Mahler’s vast Symphony No.8,….Dixon…sang with operatic flair, even as he navigated difficult high ranges in the role of Doctor Marianus”.


Cleveland Classical-Guytano Parks- Review:Cleveland Orchestra: Porgy and Bess and Franklin Cohen at Blossom. July 21, 2013

“tenor Rodrick Dixon, as Sportin’Life, entered the scene with a bad boy swagger preaching “It ain’t necessarily So” with his sentiments echoed by the chorus. Dixon was dynamic, amusingly remaining in character as he sanctimoniously sat back down before singing “There’s a boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon for New York.”


A perfect Summer evening: Cleveland Orchestra’s All-American program with Feddeck and Cohen. Timothy Robson, 23 July 2013

“Mr. Dixon was especially appealing in Sportin’ Life’s “It Ain’t Necessarily So”, interpolating several unwritten high notes and a strong theatrical sense.”


Janelle Gelfand-May Festival’s Oedipus’ marries powerful drama and moving oratorio. May 18, 2013

“Tenor Rodrick Dixon delivered a riveting performance as Oedipus the king doomed to discover that he has killed his father and married his mother, He inhabited the role artfully and without a score, effortlessly navigating the music’s high range and expressing Oedipus’ growing horror’.

Alburqurque Journal- D.S.Crafts- Opera Southwest triumphs with ‘Otello’. Nov. 2, 2012

“..Rodrick Dixon in the title role succeeds brilliantly. One could hardly ask for a more convincing Otello. While arias are scarce, the work is replete with duets. his second-act scenes and ensembles especially are stunning, his recitatives (declamations) perhaps even more viscerally emotional than the melodic portions”.


Opera News- Simon Williams-Los Angeles Opera’s Recovered Voices project. May 2008

“To judge from his riveting interpretation of the Dwarf, Rodrick Dixon has a promising future ahead of him. His clear, sharply etched tenor allowed him to hit the hysterical heights of the role without shrillness, while its flexibility enabled him to shape the contours of this ecitable figure with great exactitude. The moment when the Dwarf’s ugliness was revealed to him was shattering.”


Philadelphia Inquirer-David Patrick-Parade couldn’t dwarf orchestra’s fine ‘Dwarf’. November 2008

“Dixon (the dwarf) sang with all the right extremes of lyricism and tragedy, while stooping slightly to suggest the dwarf’s off-kilter body”.


(DVD) review:

Zemlinsky, A,:Zwerg (Der)/ Ullmann,V,: Der zerbrochene Krug (Los Angeles Opera, 2008)

American Record Guide-Charles H. Parsons. November 2011

“Dixon strives well with the ghastly vocal demands of Der Zwerg. And Dixon’s acting is so intense, so sympathetic one can not help but love the poor creature”.

Superconductor-Paul Pelkonen-February 2011

“Roderick Dixon handles the high tessitura with skill and a golden tone,…His acting brings forth the naivete and pathetique characteristics, which undermines the noble core of the nameless dwarf. This a major performance”.

Parterre Box-Manrico. January 2011

“Dixon brings a supple voice that is able to carry over the dense orchestration, this is someone to watch out for. He creates the visual illusion of the deformed body, but more importantly, he conveys the universal insecurity of seeing our faults magnified”.

Opera Today-Daniel Albright-21 Feb 2011

“As the dwarf, Rodrick Dixon was superb, a figure of energy and a sort of supple pathos, ready to accommondate himself to the shifting viciosnenesses around him”.

Washington Post. Joe Banno May 6, 2000

“Rodrick Dixon is a near-ideal Sportin’ Life thanks to the balance he finds between vaudevillian panache and accurate tenorizing.”

  • Oedipus Rex, Title Role, Sydney Festival, 2010

    Der Zwerg, Title Role, LA Opera, 2008, Photographer Robert Millard

    La Fille du Regiment, Tonio, Detroit Opera, 2005