Watch: John Adams on 'Doctor Atomic' Oppenheimer Aria "Batter My Heart"

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Composer John Adams talks about his acclaimed opera Doctor Atomic and the aria “Batter My Heart” in a new video from Boosey & Hawkes. The opera, with a libretto by Peter Sellars drawn from original sources—including, for this aria, the John Donne sonnet—tells the story of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and the first atomic bomb explosion in New Mexico in July 1945. The video features scenes from the Dutch National Opera production starring Gerald Finley, who originated the role of Oppenheimer in 2005 and can be heard on the Nonesuch first recording of Doctor Atomic, with the composer leading the BBC Singers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Julia Bullock as Kitty Oppenheimer. You can hear “Batter My Heart” from the recording here as well.

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Composer John Adams talks about his acclaimed opera Doctor Atomic and the closing scene of Act I, featuring the aria “Batter My Heart,” in a new video from his publisher, Boosey & Hawkes. The opera, with a libretto by Peter Sellars drawn from original sources, tells the story of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and the final hours leading up to the first atomic bomb explosion at the Alamagordo test site in New Mexico in July 1945. The text for this aria comes from John Donne's holy sonnet "Batter my heart, three-person'd God." The video features scenes from the Dutch National Opera production directed by Sellars and starring Gerald Finley as Oppenheimer:

Finley, who originated the role with San Francisco Opera in 2005, can be heard on the Grammy-nominated first recording of Doctor Atomic, made with the composer leading the BBC Singers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with Julia Bullock as Kitty Oppenheimer, and released on Nonesuch in 2018. You can hear “Batter My Heart” from the recording here:

You can hear the complete recording of Doctor Atomic here. "A magnificent accomplishment that easily takes its place alongside the other Adams-Sellars triumphs," exclaims the Los Angeles Times. "It contains music of unearthly splendor." 

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John Adams: 'Anatomy of a Scene: Doctor Atomic,' August 2023
  • Thursday, August 10, 2023
    Watch: John Adams on 'Doctor Atomic' Oppenheimer Aria "Batter My Heart"

    Composer John Adams talks about his acclaimed opera Doctor Atomic and the closing scene of Act I, featuring the aria “Batter My Heart,” in a new video from his publisher, Boosey & Hawkes. The opera, with a libretto by Peter Sellars drawn from original sources, tells the story of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and the final hours leading up to the first atomic bomb explosion at the Alamagordo test site in New Mexico in July 1945. The text for this aria comes from John Donne's holy sonnet "Batter my heart, three-person'd God." The video features scenes from the Dutch National Opera production directed by Sellars and starring Gerald Finley as Oppenheimer:

    Finley, who originated the role with San Francisco Opera in 2005, can be heard on the Grammy-nominated first recording of Doctor Atomic, made with the composer leading the BBC Singers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with Julia Bullock as Kitty Oppenheimer, and released on Nonesuch in 2018. You can hear “Batter My Heart” from the recording here:

    You can hear the complete recording of Doctor Atomic here. "A magnificent accomplishment that easily takes its place alongside the other Adams-Sellars triumphs," exclaims the Los Angeles Times. "It contains music of unearthly splendor." 

    Journal Articles:Artist NewsVideo

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