Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Opera Wednesday

A few years ago during one of our roundtable discussions I mentioned how I didn't think John Adams' Nixon in China was a very good opera. I made this comment, of course, without having seen the opera fully staged from start to finish. However, I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong, and I will admit that I was wrong about Nixon. (The opera, at least.) Having seen last year's production at the Met, I found Nixon in China to be strangely affecting, quite unlike what I might have expected. I still wouldn't say that it takes the place of Wagner or Puccini for me - for one thing, Nixon is a very visual opera. The music alone, without seeing the action, can be static, lacking movement, and that is what I based my original comment on. In its fully staged version, however, done by a company like the Met, it is a completely different experience.

Here's a clip of the moving final scene from its original production at Houston Grand Opera, with James Maddalena, originator of the role, as Nixon (he also played it at the Met last year), Carolann Page as Pat Nixon, and Sanford Slvan as Chou En-lai.

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