For fans of Jon Adams’s music or for those who wish to learn more about this successful American composer, it is a bumper bonus week on BBC radio 3.
- John Adams is Composer of the Week. Donald Macleod present five programmes in which he discusses with the composer his life, works and influences. Each programme includes many examples. Monday 3 Sept – Friday 7 Sept at 12 noon, repeated at 18.00.
- The Lebrecht interview Norman Lebrecht talks to Adams who was born in Massachusetts and is one of the most celebrated composers alive. Many of his pieces are in the repertory, including his operas Nixon in China, the Death of Klinghoffer and his opera about Robert Oppenheimer, Doctor Atomic all of which receive stagings around the world and all of which he talks about in this interview. Monday 3 Sept at 22.00 and available shortly afterwards on iPlayer.
- Nixon in China live from The Proms Wednesday 5 September at 19.00
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Wednesday 5 September at 19.00
Broadcast live from the Royal Albert Hall, London on BBC radio 3
John Adams “Nixon in China” – semi-staged (Paul Curran stage director)
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Alan Oke – tenor (Chairman Mao)
Gerald Finley – bass-baritone (Chou En-Lai)
Robert Orth – baritone (President Nixon)
Jessica Rivera – soprano (Pat Nixon)
James Rutherford – bass-baritone, (Kissinger)
Stephanie Marshall – mezzo-soprano (Secretary)
Louise Poole – mezzo-soprano (Secretary)
Susan Platts – mezzo-soprano (Secretary)
* BBC Singers * BBC Symphony Orchestra * John Adams conductor
In the words of the BBC:
Alice Goodman’s poetic, intensely original libretto is based on Richard and Pat Nixon’s historic three-day visit to China in 1972. Protagonists viewed initially as transcendent iconic figures are not so much satirised as seen for what they are.
The score pounds away eclectically with nods to Broadway and rock, Minimalism and Igor Stravinsky, but there’s no mistaking the identity of the composer, who conducts this performance, nor the colour and brilliance of one of the iconic works of our time.
Act 1 at 19.00
First interval at 20.05 – Writer and broadcaster Rana Mitter and journalist Shuyun Sun discuss the political context of John Adams’ first opera Nixon in China.
Act 2 at 20.25
Second interval at 21.20 – Adrian Mourby examines the history of the operatic plot – from gods and emperors, kings and queens, to lovers, lowlife, terrorists and presidents. With expert commentary from eighteenth century opera specialist Dr Suzanne Aspden, music historian Roderick Swanston and music journalist Shirley Apthorp.
Act 3 at 21.40