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John Adams: Nixon in China [Blu-ray]  [DVD] 
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Nixon in China the Blu-ray is the 2012 performance by the Metropolitan Opera of John Adams’ three act opera inspired by US President Richard Nixon's visit to China in 1972. The Met’s production, staged by Adams’ longtime collaborator Peter Sellars, stars James Maddalena as Richard Nixon, a role he created at the opera’s world premiere in 1987 and has since performed at international leading opera houses, including the English National Opera, Netherlands Opera, and Brooklyn Academy of Music. The opera’s libretto is by American poet Alice Goodman, who also collaborated with Adams and Sellars on The Death of Klinghoffer. Nixon in China was recorded and broadcast live in cinemas around the world as part of The Met: Live in HD on February 12, 2011.
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First this package. How very generous of the distributors to include both a BluRay and a standard DVD in the case. I don't have Blu Ray and it wasn't clear that both were included. I really don't understand the technical differences. The whole thing - over 2 hours- fits happily on one DVD disc in excellent visual quality, whatever resolution is used. Other works of similar duration seem to need 2 discs, why ? Is Blu ray really that much better ?
Secondly this performance. Amazed that such a significant work took 25 years to reach the ultra conservative Met, Shame on you, Met. I remember seeing it in the original production (HoustonGrand Opera? ) in 1987. James Maddelena featutred in that and is still playing the role 25 years on, not changed much really, still a passable Nixon look-a-like. Haven't they somewhat revised the second and third acts, extended the choreographic sequences, and the final intimate scenes of these central characters who ruled the world in the late 20th century, showing all their frailties and insecurities?
Thirdly the work itself. Many of us run for cover at the mention of opera. Classical opera - Interminable hours of fat Italians warbling away because they've been upset about something. Like Kurt Weill/Bert Brecht in the 1920s , Adams/Sellars set out to change the game, confront modern issues and events that are relevant to us in a modern and entertaining way. Adams music is thrilling, ranging from spiky angular Minimalistic to gorgeously lush romantic. The whole thing is a compelling and highly entertaining experience.
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Marking an important poin† in history, the MET NY production is first class !