16 May 2013

Nixon in China opens tonight.

Victorian Opera's production of Nixon in China opens tonight.

One of my biggest theatre regrets was not seeing the original version (1987) at the Adelaide Festival in 1992. Maybe because I couldn't afford it, but more likely that I had yet to discover John Adams's music and Peter Sellars's direction; after all, who wants to see an opera about a politician getting out of a plane.

Then in 2011, the New York Metropolitan Opera got the 1987 gang back and filmed it for their HD series. Josephine Giles and I sat in the Nova cinema for four hours on a February morning  and watched production filmed in January.

It was as close as we could be to being there and it was unforgettable in a way that still tarnishes most opera that I've seen recently. Here's Josephine's review.

And here's a 2011 interview with Sellars and Adams.

1992 was also the year I didn't miss Einstein on the Beach and I'll be seeing it in the same theatre in July this year. If you're planning to go (details), you should see Nixon as well (details). Adams music is often dumped in the same minimalist category as Glass; they don't sound anything like each other, but if you like Glass, you may love Adams.

And even if Vic Opera don't reach the heights of the Met, this is still an incredible chance to see this work performed.

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