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  • Friday, June 29, 2018
    John Adams's "Doctor Atomic" First Recording Out Now on Nonesuch

    The first recording of John Adams's 2005 opera, Doctor Atomic, is out now on Nonesuch Records. Longtime Adams collaborator Peter Sellars created the libretto, drawing from original sources. The composer leads the BBC Singers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in this recording, which features a cast led by Gerald Finley, who originated the role of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer. To pick up a copy of Doctor Atomic, head to your local music shop, iTunes, Amazon, and the Nonesuch Store, where CD orders include a download of the complete two-disc album at checkout. The album also may be streamed at Spotify and Apple Music.

    "A magnificent accomplishment that easily takes its place alongside the other Adams-Sellars triumphs," exclaimed the Los Angeles Times. "It contains music of unearthly splendor … gorgeous lushness and … rich expressivity." "Musically exhilarating," says the New York Times. "This is one of Mr. Adams’s most sophisticated scores, with some of his finest choral music." "Grippingly vivid," exclaims the Financial Times in a five-star review; "one of his most far-reaching scores." NPR Music includes it in its New Music Friday show of Albums You Should Hear Now.

    In addition to the San Francisco premiere, Finley has sung Oppenheimer in productions in New York, Amsterdam, Chicago, and London. He is joined on the album by Julia Bullock (Kitty Oppenheimer), Brindley Sherratt (Edward Teller), Samuel Sakker (Captain James Nolan), Andrew Staples (Robert Wilson), Jennifer Johnston (Pasqualita), and Aubrey Allicock (General Leslie Groves). This recording was made possible in part through generous support from New Music USA.

    Bullock will reprise the role of Kitty Oppenheimer in a production of Doctor Atomic at the Santa Fe Opera, directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Matthew Aucoin, starting July 14 and running through August 16. For details and tickets, visit santafeopera.org.

    "His most visionary and ambitious stage work to date," said the Guardian. "Adams's conducting, second to none in his own music, had tremendous conviction and unique authority, with every facet of the score's terrible beauty laid bare … thrilling playing and choral singing … Gerald Finley conveyed Oppenheimer's moral agony with singing of great refinement and subtlety."

    Doctor Atomic concerns the final hours leading up to the first atomic bomb explosion at the Alamagordo test site in New Mexico in July 1945. The focal characters are the physicist and Manhattan Project director, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer; his wife Kitty; Edward Teller; and General Leslie Groves, US Army commander of the project.

    Sellars's libretto draws on original source material, including personal memoirs, recorded interviews, technical manuals of nuclear physics, declassified government documents, and the poetry of Muriel Rukeyser, an American poet and contemporary of Oppenheimer.

    John Adams's works, spanning more than four decades, have entered the repertoire and are among the most performed of all contemporary classical music, among them Harmonielehre, Shaker Loops, Chamber Symphony, Doctor Atomic Symphony, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, and his Violin Concerto. His stage works, all in collaboration with director Peter Sellars, include Nixon in China (1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (1991), El Niño (2000), Doctor Atomic (2005), A Flowering Tree (2006), and the Passion oratorio The Gospel According to the Other Mary (2012). In November 2017, Adams's new opera Girls of the Golden West, set during the 1850s California Gold Rush, received its world premiere at San Francisco Opera. The opera's libretto, assembled by Sellars, includes original Gold Rush song lyrics, letters, journal entries, and personal memoirs from the era. Doctor Atomic is Nonesuch's thirty-first recording of the works of John Adams, beginning with Harmonielehre in 1986; the label has released forty-seven first recordings of Adams pieces.

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John Adams's "Doctor Atomic" First Recording Out Now on Nonesuch

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on June 29, 2018 - 9:00am
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Friday, June 29, 2018 - 09:00
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The first recording of John Adams's 2005 opera, Doctor Atomic, is out now. Peter Sellars created the libretto, drawing from original sources. The composer leads the BBC Singers, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and a cast led by Gerald Finley as Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer. "A magnificent accomplishment that easily takes its place alongside the other Adams-Sellars triumphs," exclaimed the Los Angeles Times. "It contains music of unearthly splendor." "Musically exhilarating," says the New York Times. "This is one of Mr. Adams’s most sophisticated scores, with some of his finest choral music." "Grippingly vivid," exclaims the Financial Times in a five-star review; "one of his most far-reaching scores."

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The first recording of John Adams's 2005 opera, Doctor Atomic, is out now on Nonesuch Records. Longtime Adams collaborator Peter Sellars created the libretto, drawing from original sources. The composer leads the BBC Singers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in this recording, which features a cast led by Gerald Finley, who originated the role of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer. To pick up a copy of Doctor Atomic, head to your local music shop, iTunes, Amazon, and the Nonesuch Store, where CD orders include a download of the complete two-disc album at checkout. The album also may be streamed at Spotify and Apple Music.

"A magnificent accomplishment that easily takes its place alongside the other Adams-Sellars triumphs," exclaimed the Los Angeles Times. "It contains music of unearthly splendor … gorgeous lushness and … rich expressivity." "Musically exhilarating," says the New York Times. "This is one of Mr. Adams’s most sophisticated scores, with some of his finest choral music." "Grippingly vivid," exclaims the Financial Times in a five-star review; "one of his most far-reaching scores." NPR Music includes it in its New Music Friday show of Albums You Should Hear Now.

In addition to the San Francisco premiere, Finley has sung Oppenheimer in productions in New York, Amsterdam, Chicago, and London. He is joined on the album by Julia Bullock (Kitty Oppenheimer), Brindley Sherratt (Edward Teller), Samuel Sakker (Captain James Nolan), Andrew Staples (Robert Wilson), Jennifer Johnston (Pasqualita), and Aubrey Allicock (General Leslie Groves). This recording was made possible in part through generous support from New Music USA.

Bullock will reprise the role of Kitty Oppenheimer in a production of Doctor Atomic at the Santa Fe Opera, directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Matthew Aucoin, starting July 14 and running through August 16. For details and tickets, visit santafeopera.org.

"His most visionary and ambitious stage work to date," said the Guardian. "Adams's conducting, second to none in his own music, had tremendous conviction and unique authority, with every facet of the score's terrible beauty laid bare … thrilling playing and choral singing … Gerald Finley conveyed Oppenheimer's moral agony with singing of great refinement and subtlety."

Doctor Atomic concerns the final hours leading up to the first atomic bomb explosion at the Alamagordo test site in New Mexico in July 1945. The focal characters are the physicist and Manhattan Project director, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer; his wife Kitty; Edward Teller; and General Leslie Groves, US Army commander of the project.

Sellars's libretto draws on original source material, including personal memoirs, recorded interviews, technical manuals of nuclear physics, declassified government documents, and the poetry of Muriel Rukeyser, an American poet and contemporary of Oppenheimer.

John Adams's works, spanning more than four decades, have entered the repertoire and are among the most performed of all contemporary classical music, among them Harmonielehre, Shaker Loops, Chamber Symphony, Doctor Atomic Symphony, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, and his Violin Concerto. His stage works, all in collaboration with director Peter Sellars, include Nixon in China (1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (1991), El Niño (2000), Doctor Atomic (2005), A Flowering Tree (2006), and the Passion oratorio The Gospel According to the Other Mary (2012). In November 2017, Adams's new opera Girls of the Golden West, set during the 1850s California Gold Rush, received its world premiere at San Francisco Opera. The opera's libretto, assembled by Sellars, includes original Gold Rush song lyrics, letters, journal entries, and personal memoirs from the era. Doctor Atomic is Nonesuch's thirty-first recording of the works of John Adams, beginning with Harmonielehre in 1986; the label has released forty-seven first recordings of Adams pieces.

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