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Great Performances At The Met: Nixon In China

Airs Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 12:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Janis Kelly as Pat Nixon, Teresa S. Herold as the Second Secretary to Mao, James Maddalena as Richard Nixon, Ginger Costa Jackson as the First Secretary to Mao, Russell Braun as Chou En-lai in Adams' "Nixon In China."

"Nixon In China" stars James Maddalena as Richard Nixon, a role he created at the opera’s world premiere in 1987. With a libretto by American poet Alice Goodman, the opera is based on significant moments during President Nixon’s visit to China in February of 1972, with the key political figures as the lead characters: Nixon, first lady Pat Nixon (Janis Kelly) and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (Richard Paul Fink) for the Americans; Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Robert Brubaker), his wife Chiang Ch’ing (Kathleen Kim), and Premier Chou En-lai (Russell Braun) for the Chinese.

The Metropolitan Opera’s premiere production of "Nixon In China" is conducted by composer John Adams and staged by internationally acclaimed director Peter Sellars. Adam's opera "Doctor Atomic" had its Met premiere in 2008 and later aired on "Great Performance At The Met." “All of my operas have dealt on deep psychological levels with our American mythology,” says Adams. “The meeting of Nixon and Mao is a mythological moment in world history, particularly American history.”

The Met’s production features the work of the world premiere production’s design team, including set designer Adrianne Lobel, costume designer Dunya Ramicova, lighting designer James F. Ingalls, and choreographer Mark Morris. Adams, Sellars, Goodman and Morris also collaborated on the opera "The Death of Klinghoffer."

Video

Preview: Great Performances At The Met: Nixon In China

Watch the full episode. See more Great Performances.

Above: "Nixon In China" stars James Maddalena as Richard Nixon, a role he created at the opera’s world premiere in 1987. With a libretto by American poet Alice Goodman, the opera is based on significant moments during President Nixon’s visit to China in February of 1972, with the key political figures as the lead characters: Nixon, first lady Pat Nixon (Janis Kelly) and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (Richard Paul Fink) for the Americans; Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Robert Brubaker), his wife Chiang Ch’ing (Kathleen Kim), and Premier Chou En-lai (Russell Braun) for the Chinese.