Celebrated director Peter Sellars makes his Met debut staging "perhaps the greatest American opera of the last quarter-century" (Associated Press)
NEW YORK, May 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Metropolitan Opera's premiere production of John Adams' Nixon in China, conducted by the composer and staged by internationally acclaimed director Peter Sellars, will air in primetime on THIRTEEN's Great Performances at the Met Wednesday, June 1 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will present an encore broadcast on Sunday, July 3 at 12:30 p.m. The program was originally seen live in movie theaters on February 12, 2011, as part of the groundbreaking series, The Met: Live in HD, which transmits live performances to more than 1,500 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 46 countries around the world.
The June 1 premiere broadcast of Nixon in China will immediately follow James Levine: America's Maestro, a new American Masters documentary (8 p.m., check local listings) about the extraordinary career of Met Music Director James Levine.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers.
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 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.
Adams, who has conducted his works with many major orchestras, makes his Met debut as conductor of Nixon in China; his opera Doctor Atomic had its Met premiere in 2008 and later aired on Great Performance at the Met.
Maddalena has sung Nixon on many of the world's leading stages, including the English National Opera, Netherlands Opera, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Washington Opera, and the Theatre du Chatelet. Kelly, who also starred with Maddalena in the recent English National Opera revival of the opera, made her Met debut as Pat Nixon. Kathleen Kim, who won critical plaudits for her Zerbinetta and Olympia in recent seasons, takes on the challenging coloratura role of Chiang Ch'ing, the forbidding and formidable wife of Mao Tse-tung. Brubaker has sung in many 20th-century works at the Met, including Moses und Aron, The Makropoulos Case, Peter Grimes, and the Met premiere of Busoni's Doktor Faust. Braun is best-known to Met audiences for his Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Fink sang principal roles in the Met premieres of Adams' Doctor Atomic and John Harbison's The Great Gatsby.
Great Performances at the Met: Nixon in China was directed for the live HD transmission by Peter Sellars and hosted by Met baritone Thomas Hampson. Jay David Saks is the music producer. The performance is sung in English with subtitles.
Great Performances is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Irene Diamond Fund, Vivian Milstein, the Starr Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and Joseph A. Wilson. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder®. Additional funding for Great Performances at the Met: Nixon in China was provided by M. Beverly and Robert G. Bartner.
Visit Great Performances online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs. For the Met, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O'Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.
About WNET New York Public Media
WNET New York Public Media is a pioneering provider of television and web content. The parent of THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and Creative News Group, WNET brings such acclaimed broadcast series and websites as Tavis Smiley, Need To Know, Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Secrets of the Dead, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Visions, Consuelo Mack WealthTrack, Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps and Cyberchase to national and international audiences. Through its wide range of channels and platforms, WNET serves the entire New York City metro area with unique local productions, broadcasts and innovative educational and cultural projects. In all that it does, WNET pursues a single, overarching goal — to create media experiences of lasting significance for New York, America and the world. For more information, visit www.wnet.org.
About the Met
Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company's repertory. The Met has made a commitment to presenting modern masterpieces alongside the classic repertory, with highly theatrical productions featuring the greatest opera stars in the world. The Met's 2010-11 season features seven new productions, including the first two installments of a new Ring cycle, directed by Robert Lepage and conducted by Maestro Levine, and two company premieres (John Adams's Nixon in China directed by Peter Sellars, and Le Comte Ory directed by Bartlett Sher). The season also features new productions of three repertory classics by outstanding directors—Boris Godunov by Stephen Wadsworth, Don Carlo by Nicholas Hytner, and La Traviata by Willy Decker.
Building on its 80-year-old international radio broadcast history—heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network—the Met uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to reach audiences around the world. The Met: Live in HD, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world, returns for its fifth season in 2010-11. The series of 12 transmissions began October 9 with Das Rheingold and ends with Die Walkure on May 14. The Met recently introduced Met Player, a new subscription service that makes much of its extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public for the first time online, and in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Radio broadcasts live performances from the Met stage three times a week during the opera season, as well; the Met on Rhapsody on-demand service offers audio recordings; and the Met presents free live audio streaming of performances on its website once every week during the opera season.
The Met has launched several audience development initiatives, including Open House dress rehearsals, a popular rush ticket program, Gallery Met, and an annual Holiday Series presentation for families. For more information, please visit: www.metopera.org.
SOURCE WNET New York Public Media