Vancouver Opera's production of Nixon in China opens at San Francisco Opera tonight
Vancouver Opera’s critically lauded production of John Adams's Nixon in China, directed by Winnipegger Michael Cavanagh, is opening tonight at the San Francisco Opera. It will be Cavanagh’s directorial debut with the prestigious SFO.
The production has proved to have legs since its unveiling as part of the 2010 Cultural Olympiad. Earlier this year it was presented by the Lyric Opera of Kansas, prompting critic Robert Trussel of the Kansas City Star to rave, “Michael Cavanagh’s production of Nixon in China is, in a word, stunning … a succession of indelible, colour-drenched stage pictures that viewers literally will not be able to get out of their heads. Ever. Indeed, this is a singular aural and visual experience from the word go.”
Whether San Francisco critics will be similarly awed remains to be seen. The opera dramatizes the historic meeting of President Richard Nixon and Chairman Mao Zedong 40 years ago. Adams, who wrote the work 25 years ago, will be in attendance tonight.
This is not the only VO production to be toured recently. The VO-commissioned Lillian Alling, by composer John Estacio and librettist John Murrell, played the 2011 Banff Summer Arts Festival.