Saturday, October 29, 2016
Nixon in China
In 1972 U.S. President Richard Nixon flew to China to meet with Chairman Mao Zedong.
RealClearPolitics writes: "The trip would begin a new period of Chinese-American relations. Nixon's visit was a strategic maneuver made after relations between the West and the Communist East were gradually changing. China had publicly disagreed and split from the Soviet Union. Nixon used this confrontation, which was peaking in the early 1970s, to make a visit that would stun the world."
Director Peter Sellars proposed the subject of the opera to composer John Adams. Adams described the work as "part epic, part satire, part a parody of political posturing, and part serious examination of historical, philosophical, and even gender issues."
The libretto seeks to humanize the controversial leaders. The historical conversation is touched upon but the opera is more concerned with the characters inner thoughts and doubts throughout the visit. While National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger is presented as a boorish clown the Nixon's and the Mao's are treated with more kindness than general audiences may have expected.