Tuesday, April 10, 2012
New Production of John Adams's "Nixon in China" Premieres at Théâtre du Châtelet in ParisA new production of John Adams's groundbreaking first opera Nixon in China (1987), led by director Chen Shi-Zheng, receives its premiere performance at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris tonight. Musical director Alexander Briger leads the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, the Châtelet choir, and a cast featuring baritone Franco Pompini as President Richard Nixon. With a libretto by American poet Alice Goodman, the opera is based on significant moments during President Nixon's visit to China in February of 1972, with the key political figures as the lead characters: Nixon, first lady Pat Nixon (June Anderson) and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (Peter Sidhom) for the Americans; Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Alfred Kim), his wife Chiang Ch'ing (Sumi Jo), and Premier Chou En-lai (Kyung Chun Kim) for the Chinese.
The new production includes a set design by Shilpa Gupta, costume design by Petra Reinhardt, and lighting design by Alexander Koppelmann, with video by Olivier Roset. Performances begin tonight and run through next Wednesday, April 18. See below for a preview of the new production, featuring excerpts from each of the lead performers. For additional details and tickets, go to chatelet-theatre.com.
To coincide with last year's Metropolitan Opera premiere of Nixon in China, Nonesuch Records reissued the Grammy-winning recording of the 1987 original cast in a newly redesigned and specially-priced three-CD set (pictured above), featuring a 68-page booklet with the complete libretto and new notes, along with the original liner notes by librettist Alice Goodman and by the late Michael Steinberg, which the Los Angeles Times described as "a revelation." That recording is available in the Nonesuch Store.
Preview the Châtelet production of Nixon in China here: