Nixon in China
NJO en Cappella Amsterdam conducted by Kevin John Edusei
David Wilson-Johnson - bariton, Chou En-lai
Robin Adams - bariton, Richard Nixon
Peter Sidhom - bas-bariton, Henry Kissinger
Evanna Chiew - mezzosoprano, Nancy Tang, first Secretary of Mao
Rosanne van Sandwijk - mezzosoprano, Second Secretary of Mao
Helena Rasker - alt, Third Secretary of Mao
Samuel Sakker - tenor, Mao Tse-tung
Janis Kelly - soprano, Pat Nixon
Yun-Jeong Lee - soprano, Chian Ching
The American minimalists Reich, Glass and Adams caused a revolution in music in the seventies and eighties. Moreover, they conquered new terrain for opera. Philip Glass and John Adams were pioneers in that. The première in 1987 of Nixon in China, Adams’ first opera, opened the way for a great musical dramatic oeuvre. The subject: the visit that president Richard Nixon payed in 1972 to communist China and its leader Mao, a political landslide of great proportions. Because the (then so called) Dutch Opera was co-producer of the composition, the European première took place a year later in Amsterdam led by Adams-ambassador Edo de Waart.
Adams doesn't see himself as a strikt minimalist. This opera also contains romantic lyrics and and melancholy, jazz and big band-elements. The minimalistic foxtrot with which Chairman Mao dares to go on the dancefloor creates a hilarious highpoint in the piece. And it was precisely this foxtrot that was the first music by Adams that ever (immediately in 1987) sounded in the ZaterdagMatinee.
Nixon in China