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Two of the most powerful men in the world shake hands - and the world watches: With their opera about the state visit of American President Richard Nixon to Mao Tse-tung in 1972, composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman brought contemporary history to the stage.


  • Conductor: Daniel Carter;
  • Production: Hauen und Stechen;
  • With Kyle Miller, Thomas Lehman, Seth Carico, , Ya-Chung Huang, Heidi Stober, Hye-Young Moon a. o.

Nixon in China

Two of the world’s most powerful men shake hands – as the world looks on.

With their opera about the state visit by US President Nixon to China in 1972 composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman rendered a recent historical event in operatic form.

They envisioned a »heroic opera« telling of modern myths and the power of images. This rapprochement between the two systems produced one of the most dramatic media spectacles of the 20th century.

Nixon himself put it on a par with the moon landing. Staged in the style of an excessively satirical documentary, the minimal-music opera sticks close to protocols from the state visit, depicting the larger-than-life protagonists swerving between exhibitionism, helplessness and the desire to reach a mutual understanding.

36 years after its premiere, Deutsche Oper Berlin brings NIXON IN CHINA to Berlin for the first time in a new staged production.

John Adams, one of the most frequently performed composers of our time, is, together with Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley, one of the best-known representatives of minimal music, which emerged in the 1960s as a counter-design to the European avant-garde.

But even though Adams' best-known opera is considered a showpiece of this musical style, the work's hybridity defies such narrow stylistic attributions
. Richly coloured orchestrations and trance-like repetitions allow the sound magician John Adams to revive the big band sound of the swing era as well as the heritage of European classical music.

The music theatre collective Hauen und Stechen around the founders and directors Julia Lwowski and Franziska Kronfoth is known for its performative directing style and its contemporary, genre-crossing theatre evenings.

In their production of NIXON IN CHINA, they focus primarily on the propagandistic aspect of the summit meeting, which deliberately left out such sensitive issues as the Vietnam War or the tense relationship with Vietnam.

After their evening of Rossini's IL VIAGGIO A REIMS as part of the performance series AUS DEM HINTERHALT, the collective is now returning to the Deutsche Oper Berlin and realising a production on the big stage for the first time with NIXON IN CHINA.


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Additional information
Opera in three actsLibretto by Alice GoodmanFirst performance at the Houston Grand Opera on 22 October 1987Premiere at Deutsche Oper Berlin on 22 June 2024

recommended from 16 years







Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance
Participating artists
Franziska Kronfoth (Regie)
Julia Lwowski (Regie)
Daniel Carter (Musikalische Leitung)
Hauen und Stechen (Künstlerische Leitung)
Yassu Yarbara (Bühne)
Christina Schmitt (Kostüme)
Henning Streck (Licht)
Martin Mallon (Video)
Jeremy Bines (Chor)
Carolin Müller-Dohle (Dramaturgie)
Kyle Miller (Chou En-lai)
Thomas Lehman (Richard Nixon)
Seth Carico (Henry Kissinger)
Karis Tucker (Nancy T’ang, erste Sekretärin Maos)
Elissa Pfaender (Zweite Sekretärin Maos)
Davia Bouley (Dritte Sekretärin Maos)
Ya-Chung Huang (Mao Tse-tung)
Heidi Stober (Pat Nixon)
Hye-Young Moon (Chiang Ch’ing, Maos Frau)
Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin (Chöre)
Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin (Orchester)
Dates
June 2024
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