- 5 November, 2009
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On October 27, Naxos released John Adams’ 1987 masterwork Nixon in China, performed at Opera Colorado in June of 2008. This is the first new recording of the Adams opera since the original cast recording was released in 1987.
Conducted by Marin Alsop, Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony and Conductor Laureate of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the recording features Robert Orth (Richard Nixon), Maria Kanyova (Pat Nixon), Marc Heller (Mao Tse-tung), Tracy Dahl (Madame Mao), Chen-Ye Yuan (Chou En-lai), Melissa Malde, Julie Simson and Jennifer DeDominici (the three Secretaries) as well as the Opera Colorado Chorus and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
“Few operas written in the last quarter of the twentieth century have withstood the test of time to remain as musically and dramatically vibrant today as they were at their premieres,” noted Opera Colorado General Director Greg Carpenter. “Nixon in China is one of a handful of American operas to achieve celebrity status. Opera Colorado is proud to have been part of this exciting recording project, the first such recording in Opera Colorado’s history.”
The new recording was inspired by Marin Alsop’s dedication to performing and promoting contemporary classical music and was produced in cooperation with Opera Colorado and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra Association. Composer John Adams attended performances of the work as it was recorded live in Denver.
One of America’s most admired and respected composers, John Adams is a musician of enormous range and technical command. His many operatic works, including Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, and Doctor Atomic, and the recent A Flowering Tree, stand out among contemporary compositions for their depth of expression and the profoundly humanist nature of their themes. His work, On the Transmigration of Souls, written to mark the first anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Music. In 2003, a film version of The Death of Klinghoffer was released in theaters, on television and on DVD. Adams has been awarded honorary degrees and proclamations by Cambridge University, Harvard University, Yale School of Music, Phi Beta Kappa, the governor of California, the French Legion of Honor, and Northwestern University, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate and the first Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition. John Adams is active as a conductor, appearing with the world’s great orchestras.
Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007, a relationship now extended to 2015, Marin Alsop is the first woman to head a major American orchestra. Currently Conductor Emeritus of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Laureate of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, she continues as Music Director of California’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, a post she has held since 1992. The first artist to win both The Gramophone’s Artist of the Year award and the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Conductor’s Award in the same season, Alsop was named to a MacArthur Fellowship and won the Classical Brit Award for Best Female Artist that year—the first conductor to receive this prestigious American honor. Marin Alsop is a regular guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic. She can be heard regularly as a commentator on NPR’s Weekend Edition segment “Marin on Music” and on BBC’s Radio 3. Marin Alsop is a native of New York City; she attended Yale University and received her master’s degree from the Juilliard School.
Based in Denver, Opera Colorado has been committed to presenting the highest quality live performances of operas in their original languages since 1983. The company is dedicated to enriching the quality of life in Colorado through the presentation of opera performances that inspire audiences and serve the community through education and cultural programs. In 2005, Opera Colorado moved into the state-of-the art Ellie Caulkins Opera House inside the historic Quigg Newton Municipal Auditorium at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Under the leadership of Gregory Carpenter, the company served as one of the hosts for the National Performing Arts Convention during the spring of 2008. To celebrate this momentous event, Opera Colorado produced director James Robinson’s acclaimed new staging of Nixon in China at the opera house.