Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
The Nixon Tapes
Scenes from Nixon In China
Adams, Dessner, Greenwood: these are living composers with something to say, especially when given an orchestra and a few superhuman voices to say it with. This is an extraordinary era for music.
Opera Australia performs in Vivid LIVE for the first time this year with a remarkable program of contemporary works. It culminates in the Sydney premiere of The Nixon Tapes — scenes from John Adams’ operatic debut Nixon in China, refashioned for the concert hall by the composer himself.
The acclaimed Opera Australia Orchestra begins the evening with orchestral works by contemporary music giants Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) and Bryce Dessner (The National).
Both musicians play in bands renowned for their invention and musicality. These qualities brilliantly manifest in Greenwood’s cinematic Popcorn Superhet Receiver. He adapted the work to score There Will be Blood, the 2007 Oscar-winning film. Dessner’s unsettling St Carolyn by the Sea is a perfect partner.
This concert joins a series around the world celebrating Adams at 70. Adams' debut opera Nixon in China was startling in its simplicity: an elegant, melodic representation of a moment that changed history. At its premiere, the opera was called “an operatic triumph of grave and thought-provoking beauty” (Chicago Sun-Tribune). Three decades have not diminished its class or significance. It remains a compelling work.
In The Nixon Tapes, five Opera Australia soloists, the Opera Australia Orchestra and Chorus will perform highlights of the score, including the iconic landing of the presidential plane and Madame Mao’s terrifying ‘I am the wife of Mao Tse-tung’.
JONNY GREENWOOD Popcorn Superhet Receiver
BRYCE DESSNER St Carolyn by the Sea
JOHN ADAMS The Nixon Tapes, Scenes from Nixon in China
Act 1, Scene 1 Overture, ‘Soldiers
of Heaven’, Landing of Air Force One, ‘Your flight was smooth’, ‘News
has a kind of mystery’
Act 1, Scene 3 'The Great Hall of the People'
Act 2, Scene 1 ‘This is Prophetic’
Act 2, Scene 2 ‘I am the wife of Mao Tse-tung’
|The Nixon Tapes|
|Chiang Ch'ing (Madame Mao Tse-Tung)||Eva Kong|
|Chou En-Lai||Christopher Tonkin|
|Richard Nixon||Luke Gabbedy|
|Henry Kissinger||David Parkin|
|Pat Nixon||Jane Ede|
Approximately 1 hour and 55 minutes, including one interval.