John Adams: Nixon in China (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live) (DVD+Blu-Ray)
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
Total work of Art"--the perfect fusing of poetry, narrative, music, dance, staging and cinematography. Adams himself of the podium, The Dean (or Prima Donna Assoluta) of stage directors,Peter Sellers; the best opera chorus in the world; and a cast of incomparable performers (James Maddalena created the role in 1987 and still performs it--and watch Katheleen Kim as Madame Mao!) and dancers, the best staging I have ever seen in an opera house; an a libretto made up of the most poetic lines ever to be uttered by singers . . . . And then, humane, incisive, tender treatment of some of the century's greatest political monsters, revealing their shared humanity beneath their public masks (Janis Kelly is simply heartbreaking as Pat Nixon). I already own Klingshoffer and Dr. Atomicus. Now, if i could only find Ahknaton (Glass, not Adams) on DVD!
First, one of the negatives: James Maddalena's Nixon is audibly tired. Perhaps I'm used to his younger voice from the first CD recording, but throughout he sounds a bit underpowered. Nevertheless, he's an old pro, having created the role at the 1987 Houston premiere, so it's hard to be too critical. A real asset, as he discusses in one of the intermissions, is that his vast experience affords him the chance to continually refine and revise the role. It is a clear labor of love for Maddalena, something he communicates well.
Robert Brubaker's Chairman Mao is nearly heroic: capturing Mao's complex personality--bullying and menacing in one moment, waxing philosophical the next--is a tricky task indeed. Brubaker's versatile voice communicates this wide-ranging persona quite effectively. One of my favorite moments is Adams's beautiful vocal writing for Mao ("We cried 'Long live the ancestors' once..."). Brubaker really does it justice--much more satisfying (imo) than Marc Heller's heavy-handed bellowing on the recent Colorado Symphony disc set.
Janis Kelly (Pat Nixon) and Russell Braun (Chou En-Lai) are worthy co-stars, but I found them both a bit over the top at isolated moments. Kelly's strong voice overpowers some of Goodman's more delicate writing...strictly an opinion. Braun also tended to bring a great deal of brawn at times when a slightly more subtle approach ("The Chairman means the dead!") might have been preferable.Read more ›
I will describe this "show" for folks less excited than I am about the history, and the composer that I have loved for 25 years. The disc is excellent. I have come to love the Met just in the years since the HD broadcasts have been delivered to me by PBS. The disc image quality is perfect, slightly better than the broadcast. It helps to have the menu control so that I can show my favorite parts to friends. I will buy every blu-ray of a Met performance that is offered. I'm also in the middle of the Wagner Ring that just came out. (Fantastic).
What a way to deliver history. I intend to give my teen aged grandchildren the lesson. Oh, I spare them the... length by presenting a "best of" experience. I'll talk it up with my stories of the time.Read more ›
I am neither a music critic nor educated in the subject.
That said: here is music; a production; character drawing (except for the over the top and unfairly drawn Kissinger); of a modern historical event.
It kept me glued and involved.
Peter Sellars, who directed the stage production also guided the filming during a live performance. Sellars relies a great deal on close-ups, only going to wide shots occasionally. I found this surprising, and occasionally annoying, since his own careful theatrical visual compositions get cheated in the process. Also, extreme close-ups are not the most forgiving way of seeing stage wigs and make-up. On the other hand, it was nice to really be able to see the emotions on the singers' faces, and to realize what good actors most of them are. Even though they're playing in a large theater, most are subtle enough that these tight shots don't reveal tremendous over-acting, and give the opera a wonderfully intimate feel. Since a lot of the emotional drama of this opera is really internal, especially for both Richard and Pat Nixon, this close-up approach emphasizes the human as opposed to the spectacular, to strong effect.
On second viewing, the constant close ups seemed even more problematic. It struck me that much of what's going on in the opera is about the counterpoint in simultaneous 'conversations' and interactions. You might have Pat and Richard Nixon on one side of the stage, and Chairman Mao and his wife on the other. Or multiple groups at once in the 'big' scenes, all singing right over each other, 3 and 4 stories occurring simultaneously. But by relying so much on close ups and tight 2 shots, we lose some of the juxtapositions built into the music and staging.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful to have it finally on DVD! Great value because the box contains both Blue-Ray and normal DVD version! Read morePublished 7 months ago by User
I've heard a lot of people bash this opera over the years, but I think Adams does something incredible in bringing the world of psychological realism to opera. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Will Hand
You may or may not be interested in Nixon in China as a contemporary American opera by a living American composer, but if you are, this Blu-Ray DVD is wonderful! Read morePublished 15 months ago by Mike Morrison
I will not re-analyze the opera in its formal content. I have already done that five days ago for the following recording: JOHN ADAMS - ELLIE CAULKINS OPERA HOUSE - DENVER,... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
A masterpiece. I love this opera more every time I watch it. A deep piece of poetry with beautiful music.Published 23 months ago by J. Birchell
It is a pleasure to listen to this great opera in installments, savoring each act. This is one 20th century operatic work that will remain in the permanent repertory. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Iliados
Set up an Amazon Giveaway
Look for Similar Items by Category
- Movies & TV > Blu-ray
- Movies & TV > Blu-ray > TV
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Arts & Entertainment
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Music Videos & Concerts
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Performing Arts
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Special Interests
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Classical
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Opera
- Movies & TV > TV