|'Nixon in China' Feb. 19
OCCA welcomes a Metropolitan Opera premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams' sweeping epic "Nixon in China" at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Newport Performing Arts Center. Robert Hermanson will host the sixth event of the The Met: Live in HD 2010-11 Season (see profile at right).
The meeting of Nixon and Mao is a mythological moment in world history, particularly American history,” says Adams. Director Peter Sellars says, “Nixon in China shows you what opera can do to history, which is to deepen it and move into its more subtle, nuanced and mysterious corners.”
The Performing Arts Center box office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and an hour prior to performance time. Ticket prices are $20 adult, $17 senior, and $10 student.
In 1985, in the midst of the Reagan administration, three young artists—a composer, a poet, and a stage director—huddled together in a conference room of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, to sketch the first plans for what would become one of the most famous American operas. The subject, Richard Nixon’s historic 1972 visit to the People’s Republic of China, was provocative, and it instantly caught the attention of the country’s cultural community. From its 1987 premiere in Houston, "Nixon in China" challenged long-held operatic conventions, bringing the forces of contemporary history and its political leaders to the mythic level of art.
Up next: Glück's 'Iphigénie en Tauride' on Feb. 26
Susan Graham and Plácido Domingo reprise their starring roles in Gluck’s nuanced and elegant interpretation of this primal Greek myth. Tenor Paul Groves also returns to Stephen Wadsworth’s insightful production, first seen in 2007. The performance begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 at the Newport Performing Arts Center.
When Agamemnon gathered the Greek armies before the Trojan War, the goddess Diane sent unfavorable winds to prevent them from sailing. Her oracle set a condition: to sail forth and attack an innocent country, Agamemnon must sacrifice his daughter. He accepted the terms and killed his daughter Iphigénie on the altar. In his play Iphigenia in Tauris, Euripides imagines that Diane saved Iphigénie and delivered her to distant Tauride, where Iphigénie served the enemy Scythians as Diane’s high priestess—though Iphigénie’s family believed her dead. This, then, is the story of her life in Tauris.
|About your host
A retired professor of architecture (I still have a small practice in Depoe Bay) I moved to the Oregon Coast from the University of Utah and quickly found a lively artistic community in Newport. I joined the board of directors of the Newport Symphony (then the Yaquina Symphony), serving on the board and as its president.
When I heard the news of the Met's bringing live HD to venues all over the world I was quite excited. At that time, however, the only way to see and hear these great productions was to drive to Portland which I dutifully did, along with a friend or two from the coast. Now we have these incredible events right here in Newport!
I am very excited to hear John Adams’ first opera, "Nixon in China," as well as the fact that he will be conducting the Met's orchestra. Peter Sellars is the noted director of the production. The work follows Adams' fascination in working with minimalism rather than following any Asian styles of musicology.
Adams himself states the significance of the event that informed the work: "Nixon’s 1972 trip was in fact an epochal event, one whose magnitude is hard to imagine from our present perspective, and it was perfect for Peter Sellars’s dramatic imagination.”
"Nixon in China" was for sure the first opera ever to use a staged "media event" as the basis for its dramatic structure. Even at his young age in 1987, Peter showed a deep understanding of the way in which people in power managed to keep themselves there.
I hope you enjoy the opera!
To learn more about hosting a Met Opera Live in HD event, please contact OCCA Executive Director Catherine Rickbone at 541-574-2652, or email her with questions
Met Opera season events at a glance
• Feb. 19, Nixon in China
, 10 am
• Feb. 26, Iphigénie En Tauride
, 10 am
• Mar. 19, Lucia Di Lammermoor
, 10 am
• Apr. 9, Le Comte Ory
, 10 am
• Apr. 23, Capriccio
, 10 am
• Apr. 30, Il Trovatore
, 10 am
• May 14, Die Walkure
, 9 am