The Met’s Production of John Adams’ "Nixon in China," Conducted by the Composer, Out Now on Blu-ray/DVD
The Metropolitan Opera’s performance of John Adams’ Nixon in China, with the composer conducting, is now available on Blu-ray and DVD together in one package from Nonesuch Records. The Met’s production, staged by Adams’ longtime collaborator Peter Sellars, stars James Maddalena as Richard Nixon. Nixon in China was recorded and broadcast live in movie theaters around the world as a part of The Met: Live in HD on February 12, 2011—10 days after the opera received its Met premiere.The San Jose Mercury News features the Blu-ray/DVD in its holiday Gift Guide, calling Adams' score "multigeared and multicolored, transforming like a kaleidoscopic engine."
Today marks the Nonesuch Records release of the Metropolitan Opera’s performance of John Adams’ Nixon in China, with the composer conducting, on Blu-ray and DVD together in one package. The Met’s production, staged by Adams’ longtime collaborator Peter Sellars, stars James Maddalena as Richard Nixon, a role he created at the opera’s world premiere 25 years ago and has since performed at international leading opera houses, including the English National Opera, Netherlands Opera, and Brooklyn Academy of Music. Nixon in China was recorded and broadcast live in movie theaters around the world as a part of The Met: Live in HD on February 12, 2011—10 days after the opera received its Met premiere.
The Nixon in China Blu-ray/DVD is featured in the San Jose Mercury News Gift Guide 2012 as one of five gift suggestions for fans of classical music and opera this holiday season. Adams' score, writes the Mercury News music critic Richard Scheinin, "is multigeared and multicolored, transforming like a kaleidoscopic engine." Pick up a copy for your opera fan today in the Nonesuch Store, where the Grammy–winning 1988 audio recording of Nixon in China (re-issued in 2011) also is available.
The opera’s libretto is by American poet Alice Goodman, who also collaborated with Adams and Sellars on The Death of Klinghoffer. The Met’s production, which was originally created by the English National Opera, features the work of the 1987 world premiere’s design team, including set designer Adrianne Lobel, costume designer Dunya Ramicova, lighting designer James F. Ingalls, and choreographer Mark Morris. Nixon in China also features Janis Kelly as Pat Nixon, Kathleen Kim as Chiang Ch’ing, Robert Brubaker as Mao Tse-tung, Russell Braun as Chou En-lai, and Richard Paul Fink as Henry Kissinger. Adams, who regularly conducts major orchestras around the world, made his Met debut as conductor with Nixon in China; his opera Doctor Atomic had its Met premiere in a well-reviewed 2008 production.
“I met Peter Sellars in 1983, and he proposed the idea and even the title for Nixon in China. My first response was pretty skeptical—Nixon was little more than a butt for late night comedians by that time,” Adams tells the Met’s Elena Park in an interview published in the Blu-ray/DVD’s booklet. “But I eventually realized it was a perfect idea, and that it was right to find our mythology in our own contemporary history.”
In the same interview, Sellars says of Nixon in China’s arrival at the Met: “It’s very sweet after 25 years. We created it as anti-grand opera originally, and now it’s beautiful that at the Met it can be genuinely grand. The work was made by a group of very young, very idealistic people. We were trying to show what opera can contribute to history, which is to deepen it and move it into its more subtle, nuanced, and mysterious corners, which might just open into more surprising and satisfying possibilities for a future.”
Friday, February 10, 2017Friday, February 10, 2017
Rhiannon Giddens's five-song EP Factory Girl, first released on vinyl and digitally in late 2015, is now available on CD for the first time. The EP, which is up for Grammy Awards for Best American Roots Performance and Best Folk Album, is culled from the T Bone Burnett–produced sessions that yielded Giddens's acclaimed solo debut album, Tomorrow Is My Turn. "It's a clutch of tunes that work together like the cards in a winning poker hand," the New York Times says of Factory Girl. "Her accompaniment … points to an ageless gold standard for American roots music." "Deftly curated, gorgeously sung," says NPR, "this EP is America." Her new album, Freedom Highway, is due February 24.
Friday, February 10, 2017Friday, February 10, 2017
The Staves, who kick off a four-week tour of North America next week, release the double A side "Tired As Fuck," a previously unreleased tune, and "Train Tracks," a re-mastered version of a bonus track from their 2015 album If I Was. The former was "written in the midst of a relationship breaking down," says the trio. "Lamenting the lack of some sort of guidance, but also accepting and resigning yourself to fact that you have to soldier on. Keep going. There is no helping hand. 'Train Tracks' is the beginning of something new and how confusing and difficult that can be when you're really just as clueless as anyone! The two tracks bookend each other in that respect." You can watch a video for "Tired As Fuck" here.