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"Great Performances" Nixon in China (1988)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An absolute treat

10/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
13 January 2013

After seeing it on Youtube, this was a treat of a production of Nixon in China. The opera is one I appreciate even more since seeing the recent Met production, which is also wonderful. It has such an edge and beauty to it, and the music is positively hypnotic, some people may say it's repetitive in spots but that is characteristic of the minimalist style I feel. The costumes and sets fit with the time frame beautifully and are very evocative, especially at the beginning, while the stage direction is always compelling with no dullness or distaste. John Adams' music is performed with beauty of tone and vitality by the orchestra, and apart from the occasional sloppy moment the conducting is appropriately incisive. The performances are really something special. Only John Duykers seems out of his league with the role too heavy for him I feel. Trudy Ellen Craney doesn't always have the most pleasant of tessituras but captures her role dramatically exactly right, so I don't consider too bad a flaw at all. Carolann Page gives a Pat that is both poignant and heroic, while Sanford Sylvan is a beautifully sung and subtle Chou En-Lai, Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Friends was really an emotional experience for me. And it'd take a truly brilliant singer who can sing and act to give a better Nixon than James Maddalena. Vocally and dramatically he is magnificent and I think definitive as well, the News aria is one of the best arias of any contemporary opera and Maddalena does nothing at all to diminish its appeal. In conclusion, a treat, I'd go as far to say a treasure even. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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