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.
The Paris Opera Orchestra and Chorus
With the support of the Orange Foundation, sponsor of the Paris Opera's audiovisual broadcasts.
© Opéra national de Paris - 2023
Picture: © Everett Collection / Bridgeman Images
- Richard Nixon: President of the United States
- Mao Tse-tung: Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party
- Pat Nixon: First Lady of the United States
- Chiang Ch’ing: Mao’s wife
- Henry Kissinger: US National Security Advisor
- Chou En-lai: Chinese Prime Minister