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Adams, J.: Nixon In China

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Customer Reviews


Nixon In China is one of Adam's best works and one of the few 20th century opera's worth enduring. Alsop doesn't manage to trainwreck this one but I was hoping for something more. All of the soloists seem uninterested in the excersise. The origional recording is still the best out there but all the same it's nice to see another look at it. The Colorado is an underrated orchestra that deserves more attention dispite the years spent with the conductor. If you can't find a copy of the Nonsuch this isn't such a bad option. -Bz

Buy the Nonesuch/de Waart version....

I find Alslop's recordings curiously bland, and this is no exception. Didn't like the opera much until I bought the Nonesuch version with Edo de Waart, which is log-folds better.

Nixon in China

Nixon in China starts us off like any good Greek tragedy would… with a haunting scene of war and poverty. In this case, the scene is set by the very capable Opera Colorado Chorus. Other tracks are equally ominous as though they came straight from a thriller flick. The historical aspect of the opera is very enjoyable, yet it maintains a very human element throughout in the relationships between the characters. From business to diplomacy to romance, it’s all covered. The language and subject matter is intense at times, but authentic. Composer John Adams makes wonderful use of the libretto, both forceful and mundane, to weave a consistent tapestry of sound. One of the more lighthearted moments is also one of the first things that caught my ear. Premier Chou En-lai asks President Nixon about his flight. Nixon’s response is “Smooth…”, but the music jokes otherwise. It’s witty and it’s honest. Conductor Marin Alsop and singers bring the music to life and help the whole piece strike a nice balance between history and modernity. If you enjoy modern music and are looking for something new, this would be a great addition to your collection.


Born: October 16, 1956 in New York, NY

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Marin Alsop is an American conductor and jazz violinist whose parents were both orchestral musicians, and whose father once toured with Fred Waring. Raised in a very traditional musical environment, Alsop studied music at Yale and took her degree in violin performance from the Juilliard School. Alsop's childhood idol was conductor Leonard Bernstein, and, in 1988 and 1989, she studied with Bernstein on a conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood. In 1989, Alsop was awarded the Koussevitsky Conducting Prize,...
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