Nixon in China

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In February 1972, the American president Richard Nixon went to China to meet Mao Zedong. In the context of the war in Vietnam and the cold war, this encounter marked a turning point in Chinese‑ American relations. John Adams, a major musical figure of the last forty years, made this event of contemporary history the subject of his first opera. Nixon in China tackles the political thaw instigated by ping-pong diplomacy, begun by the invitation of the American table tennis players by their Chinese counterparts, one year before the presidential visit. A mesmerising work in which the pulsations and repetitions typical of minimalism are combined with melodic lines of great lyricism. For its entry into the Paris Opera repertoire, this work has been entrusted to the director Valentina Carrasco, who underlines the importance and the mediating power of Chinese national sport in history.

Program and cast

Nixon in China

Opera in three acts (1987)

Music :

John Adams - (1947)

Libretto :

Alice Goodman

Conductor :

Gustavo Dudamel

Chorus master :

Ching-Lien Wu

Director :

Valentina Carrasco

Set design :

Carles Berga

Peter Van Praet

Costume design :

Silvia Aymonino

Lighting design :

Peter Van Praet

Cast

Zhou Enlai :

Xiaomeng Zhang

Richard Nixon :

Thomas Hampson

Henry Kissinger :

Joshua Bloom

Nancy Tang :

Yajie Zhang

Mao Zedong :

John Matthew Myers

Pat Nixon :

Renée Fleming

Chiang Ch’ing :

Kathleen Kim

Paris Opera - Opéra Bastille

Opéra Bastille
A great modern theatre
The Opéra Bastille is the work of the Canadian-Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott, who was chosen in November 1983 after an international competition that attracted entries from some 1,700 architects. The theatre was inaugurated on July 13th 1989.
Its architecture is marked by transparent façades and by the use of identical materials for both the interiors and the exteriors.
With its 2,700 acoustically consistent seats, its unique stage facilities, its integrated scenery, costume and accessory workshops, as well as its numerous work areas and rehearsal rooms, the Opera Bastille is a great modern theatre.
Stage facilities

Orchestra pit, mobile and adjustable, can be covered; at its largest it can house 130 musicians
Main stage, 45 m high, 30 m wide, 25 m deep, made up of 9 elevators allowing several levels to be created and supported by three main elevators, which bring scenery up from below stage
Clearing zones, 4 storage areas with the same dimensions as the stage
Backstage area, with its scenery turntable
Circulation area, scenery temporarily stored between the stage, workshops and rehearsal stage
Rehearsal stage, the Salle Gounod, with its orchestra pit and dimensions identical to those of the main stage

 

The building

Area at ground level: 22,000 m²
Floor area: 160,000 m²
Total height: 80 m (including 30 m below street level)

 

The auditoriums
The main auditorium

Area: 1,200 m², 5% of the total for the building
Dimensions: 20 m high, 32 m deep, 40 m wide
Number of seats: 2,703
Materials: blue granite from Lannelin in Brittany, pearwood from China, glass ceiling

 

The amphitheatre

Area: 700 m²
Depth : 21.4 m
Number of seats : 450
Materials: white breccia marble from Verona, staff ceiling

 

The Studio

Area: 280 m²
Depth: 19,5 m
Number of seats: 237
Materials: white breccia marble from Verona and pearwood

 

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