On January 19 at 7pm, Classical 105.9 WQXR will host a special preview of the Metropolitan Opera’s staging of John Adams’s iconic Nixon in China, live from The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. The event will feature a discussion with Adams and director Peter Sellars about the celebrated opera, as well as performances of key arias by artists featured in the Met production. WQXR – New York City’s sole dedicated classical station – will broadcast the preview live from The Greene Space, New York Public Radio’s state-of-the-art broadcast studio and performance venue.
WQXR host Terrance McKnight will moderate the conversation, which will offer insights into the ways Nixon in China explores human truths beyond the headlines and history books. “All of my operas have dealt on deep psychological levels with our American mythology,” says the Pulitzer Prize-winning Adams, whose Technicolor minimalist score is receiving its Met premiere with the February 2-19 production.
The discussion will be complemented with live performances by Met singers of three arias from Nixon in China: James Maddalena, who originated the role of Nixon in 1987, will sing his “News Aria,” which Adams has listed as one of his all-time favorites among his own compositions; Kathleen Kim will sing Madame Mao’s “I Am the Wife of Mao Tse-tung”; while Russell Braun, as the Chinese premier Chou En-lai, will sing “I Am Old and Cannot Live Forever.” The singers will perform before a live studio audience, and the evening will be presented live on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR, as well as via live video webcast from www.wnyc.org/thegreenespace.
Nixon in China, which premiered in 1987, chronicles President Richard Nixon’s historic 1972 visit to Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s Red China, a carefully managed international media event. Adams and librettist Alice Goodman created a brilliant fusion of public and private expression, exploring issues of political power, public showmanship, and cultural tension alongside the personal doubt, vulnerability, and loneliness these ambitions incite. The production opens at the Met on February 2.