Two events are coming up that will help you get a richer, deeper understanding of Nixon in China, the most politically charged of our operas this season.
The first, the morning of Feb. 6, involves a tasty brunch and the chance to meet one of today's foremost historical writers. Margaret MacMillan, the author of Paris 1919 and Nixon in China: The Week that Changed the World will be joining Globe and Mail columnist Marcus Gee and a small number of COC patrons for a chat over brunch. Tickets to the event are $165 per person and include brunch, an orchestra-level ticket to Nixon in China (choice of eight dates), and a copy of MacMillan's book. If you've already got your opera ticket, tickets to the brunch alone (including the copy of the book) can be purchased over the phone for $65, at 416-363-8231 or 1-800-250-4653 long distance.
Once you've got a copy of her book, make sure to share your insights at our ongoing online book club, running through Feb. 26.
The following Sunday on Feb. 13, our Opera Exchange series will continue with three experts weighing in on the operatic, musical, and historical context of Nixon in China. William Germano from New York City's Cooper Union will discuss "Opera as News: Nixon in China and the Contemporary Operatic Subject," followed by Louis W. Pauly from the Munk School of Global Affairs, who will talk about Nixon in China's political resonance. The morning will be rounded off by musicologist Robert Fink from the University of California, who will take an in-depth look at the opera's musical structure. The price of the symposium ($20 including tax) will also include a backstage tour of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
If you're planning on coming to Nixon in China (and of course you are!), these events will help you enjoy it even more.
Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (0) / permalink
In Act II of Nixon in China, the Nixons attend an opera, The Red Detachment of Women, and find themselves involved in the action to a degree beyond what they had expected. Though the opera-within-an-opera is the creation of John Adams, Alice Goodman, and their choreographers, The Red Detachment of Women is a real-life work. Based on a novel and film of the same name (which were based on historical events), it exists in both ballet and operatic versions, and was the occasion for the meeting of the Nixons and Mao Tse-tung's wife, Jiang Qing.
In her book Nixon in China: The Week that Changed the World, Margaret MacMillan describes the performance and its reception (page 275):
". . . Interpreters whispered the plot in the Americans' ears but it was not difficult to follow, because the good characters—peasants, Communists, guerrillas—bounded on looking noble and upright while the villains—landlords and their minions—slunk on with averted faces. In spite of the propaganda, Nixon found it an enjoyable spectacle. 'This is certainly the equal of any ballet that I have seen, in terms of production,' he told American reporters. 'It was,' thought Haldeman who had also enjoyed the performance, 'rather an odd sight to see the [President] clapping at the end for this kind of thing, which would have been horrifying at home, but it all seems to fit together somehow, here.'"
Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (1) / permalink
Last week, Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, tweeted a few lines from the libretto of Nixon in China, tagging them with the hashtag #favoritenixonlines (a hashtag is a way to tag your tweet as relating to a certain subject, so that others with an interest in the subject can find it quickly). Soon lots of others were jumping in to submit their own favourites. I've collected many of them here, starting with the original tweet:
@alexrossmusic: A car roars past, playing loud pop.
@alexrossmusic: Let Gypsy Rose kick off her high-heeled party shoes.
@harveypenguin: It's prime time in the USA!
@N8Ma: As our hands shield the spinning globe from the flamethrowers of the mob.
@InklessPW: The rats. The rats begin to chew the sheets.
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001