US President Richard Nixon, wife Pat, and Henry Kissinger travel to China to visit Chairman and Madame Mao in 1972, normalizing relations between the countries for the first time in 25 years. Both sides wonder if this for the better.

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
James Maddalena ...
Janis Kelly ...
Robert Brubaker ...
Kathleen Kim ...
Chian Ch'ing
Russell Braun ...
Richard Paul Fink ...
Ginger Costa-Jackson ...
Nancy Ch'ing (First Secretary to Mao)
Teresa S. Herold ...
Second Secretary to Mao
Tamara Mumford ...
Third Secretary to Mao
Haruno Yamazaki ...
Solo Dancers
...
Solo Dancers
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Adams ...
Himself - Conductor
Metropolitan Opera Ballet ...
Dancers
Thomas Hampson ...
Herself - Host
Leo Kubota ...
Chinese Soldier / Waiter
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Storyline

US President Richard Nixon, wife Pat, and Henry Kissinger travel to China to visit Chairman and Madame Mao in 1972, normalizing relations between the countries for the first time in 25 years. Both sides wonder if this for the better.

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Release Date:

12 February 2011 (USA)  »

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(without intermission)

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16:9 HD
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Connections

Remake of Great Performances: Nixon in China (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A riveting Met production of an equally riveting contemporary opera
30 March 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I was really looking forward to seeing this production and this opera. I was very taken with Doctor Atomic(also by John Adams) and loved the Met production of it. Nixon in China is just as riveting in story and music, and the production is one of the better ones for me of its respective season. The production values are great, with smart and important-looking costumes and sets. I also loved the cinematic style in which the production was shot, the High Definition has always been impressive and continues to not disappoint, but the camera work was the real revelation, with effective close-ups of frozen facial expressions at the start and the movement of the camera seemed so seamless and elegant.

The music is outstanding, comparing Nixon in China to Doctor Atomic, I'd actually say they're about equal in that I cannot decide which I prefer. The unmistakable minimalist style is there, but there are several complex rhythms, interesting modal shifts and rich cross-current musical styles. As for the lyrics, they are both poetic and thoughtful especially the reflective note on which Nixon in China ends. The score was performed with great beauty and intensity by the orchestra and had the extra luxury of John Adams himself conducting.

Story-wise, Nixon in China drew me right in, right from the silent, atmospheric beginning to the tense subtleties of the last act and the reflective ending. Sellars' work is highly commendable, both keeping the drama on stage engaging and treating the score and story with respect. You couldn't have asked for better performances. James Maddalena is a commanding Richard Nixon, and Janis Kelly's Pat sung beautifully. Richard Paul Fink's Henry is sung with great sonority, Russell Braun is powerful dramatically and vocally and Kathaleen Kim shines in her challenging colouratura role. The interviews were well carried out and interesting, but with one gripe, they're too short.

Overall, riveting both as an opera and as a production. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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