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Nixon in China: Deutsche Oper Berlin

About the Event

The Deutsche Oper Berlin presents Adams's 'Nixon in China' in a production by Franziska Kronfoth and Julia Lwowski.

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.

In English with German and English surtitles

Cast / Production

Conductor — Daniel Carter
Artistic direction — Hauen und Stechen
Director — Franziska Kronfoth
Director — Julia Lwowski
Set design — Yassu Yarbara
Costume design — Christina Schmitt
Light design — Henning Streck
Video — Martin Mallon
Chorus Master — Jeremy Bines
Dramaturgy — Carolin Müller‐Dohle

Chou En‐lai — Kyle Miller
Richard Nixon — Thomas Lehman
Henry Kissinger — Seth Carico
Nancy T'ang, Mao's first secretary — Karis Tucker
Mao's Second Secretary — Arianna Manganello
Mao's third secretary — Davia Bouley
Mao Tse‐tung — Ya‐Chung Huang
Pat Nixon — Heidi Stober
Chiang Ch’ing, Mao's Wife — Hye‐Young Moon
Chorus — Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Orchestra — Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin

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