I have not been acquainted with Doctor Atomic very long, in fact my first hearing of it was only a couple of weeks ago. It is very fascinating particularly in the story, though John Adams's music is every bit as good if not more so as Nixon in China.
This production is wonderful. I have very few complaints actually, just that I personally would have loved to seen the curtain calls and the audience reactions so that we could fully share our appreciation of how much went into performing this difficult opera, and while the choreography is very effective on the most part with the angular movements, there is the odd place where a piece of choreography is going on and it feels like it came from a different production altogether.
On the other hand, the costumes, lighting and sets have great atmosphere to them, and the filming doesn't fall into the trap of being too static. Picture and sound quality are very good. As is the staging, the end of act 1 in particular is very beautiful and powerful at the same time, and some of the best of any opera production I've seen of late.
Musically, this production of Doctor Atomic also excels. The orchestral playing is excellent, and the conducting and chorus singing also. It is a difficult score, but they make it seem easy. The story is still interesting, and I loved along with the interviews and so that there were some well-written libretto notes, which I always read with enthusiasm when available.
The principal singing is superb. I have always found Gerald Finley a reliable performer, and his Oppenheimer is no exception. His voice is as appealing and as handsome as ever, it is very mellow and bright with a slight boyishness to it, and his acting is suitably athletic. He sings Batter My Heart brilliantly, one of the best parts of the opera and one of the best renditions of the production.
Jessica Rivera is also wonderful, prior to this I saw the Met production with the same cast albeit with Sasha Cooke as Kitty. I have to say while I loved that production too I much prefer Rivera's Kitty. Her solos are long but very beautiful. I simply loved her singing of Am I in Your Light, and the staging of it is appropriately quiet and intimate.
Richard Paul Fink sings with a beautiful basso sound, his diction is excellent and acts with finesse. Once again, Eric Downes' sonorous voice is in full flight and his amusing and moving portrayal as Groves remains characterful as it should be.
The more minor roles compliment the central roles wonderfully, with special mention going to Ellen Rabiner.
All in all, wonderful. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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