★★★★1/2 "This new production for Victorian Opera is nothing short of a triumph" - The Age. Read online >
“Sublime…crisp, bright and beautiful.”
"Great cast, fantastic singing."
"Beautifully sung and staged."
"Impressive and very daring piece of work."
With its powerful music, stunning set design and beautiful costumes, Nixon in China is inspired by U.S. President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. Experience ‘the week that changed the world’ like never before, as the inner lives and private emotions of the Nixons and Chairman Mao Tse - tung are brought to life with the sweeping grandeur of opera in a compelling new production conducted by Fabian Russell and directed by award-winning director Roger Hogman.
These performances of Nixon in China by John Adams with libretto by Alice Goodman are given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agents for Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd of London.
Esther Marie Hayes
Nancy T’ang (Secretary to Mao)
Second Secretary to Mao
Third Secretary to Mao
Chiang Ching (Madame Mao Tse-tung)
Eva Jinhee Kong
Victorian Opera Chorus
Her Majesty’s Theatre
Performed in English. 2 hours 25 minutes with one interval
Find our more about our accessible peformances >
Victorian Opera's School Program offers an unique experience for students to experience the world of opera, enhance their musical eductation and have fun. Find out how we can tailor an opera experience for your students >
Performed in English with surtitles. 2 hours 25 minutes with two intervals
SCHOOL GROUP TICKETS
Find our more about our accessible peformances >
Nixon in China opened on Thursday 23 May 2013 in Her Majesty's Theatre and we've receieved some great reviews.
★★★★ 1/2 - The Age - "This new production for Victorian Opera is nothing short of a triumph." Read the review online >
Read the full article online >
The first act reveals a world of men and politics as the key players the nervous Nixon, the confident Chinese Premier Chou En-lai, the gnomic Chairman Mao and the stoic National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger go about their business. Then in the second, the focus shifts to the women in this story, the president’s sympathetic wife Pat Nixon and the defiant Madame Mao caught up in an inevitable wave of change, before culminating in a moving final act in which they all reflect on their lives and their contribution to history.
With the Nixon in China opening night just hours away - we've receieve great well wishes! Thanks to everyone!
Tonight @VictorianOpera opens their #NixoninChina. It's one of my favourite pieces of art, I think it's my favourite opera - @SometimesMelbourne
@VictorianOpera Have a great opening night! I'll be there on Saturday and am terribly excited!! #NixonInChina - @ndino
Tonight: Nixon In China @VictorianOpera - Been waiting years to see this opera - @sianprior
Toi toi to the Incredible cast of Nixon in China tonight.. So wish I was in town to hear you all. Sending love and best wishes - Emma Matthews via Facebook
Toi toi toi to all involved in Victorian Opera's eagerly awaited production of Nixon in China, which opens tonight! This opera hasn't been seen in Australia for 21 years and there are only 4 performances, so make sure you book some tickets and support VO! Personally, I think the score is incredibly beautiful, and it's an absolutely fantastic cast. I've got my tickets for Saturday night, and I can't wait. - Lorina Gore via Facebook
Over the past few months, Victorian Opera’s costume department has been immersed in the 1970s, recreating the fashion of the “week that changed the world” for Nixon in China. Here is a sneak peek! Illustrations © Esther Marie Hayes
Mrs. Nixon visiting the Evegreen People's Commune in the Peoples Republic of China © NARA194417
Arrival of Air Force One in Peking 21-02-1972 © White House Photo Office
Source: Excerpted from the notebooks of Washington Bureau Chief Hugh Sidey and White House Correspondent Jerrold Schecter. Herewith, Time Magazine, The Nation: The President's Odyssey Day by Day, Monday, Mar. 06, 1972. Image: Arrival of Air Force One in Peking, 02/21/1972 © White House Photo Office [Public domain]
'By American standards, the capital airport is almost deserted only half an hour before the President touches down. Where are Chou En-lai and the palace guard? Around, say the Chinese officials, but not in sight. Finally, from behind some buildings come the sound of troops. Rhythmic marching, hard boots, the shout of a command.'
Arrival in Peking. Trip from airport to city. Meeting with Mao. First banquet in the Great Hall of the People.
People's Daily front-pages a picture of Mao and Nixon. Nixon and Chou En-lai confer privately for four hours. Evening at the ballet.
More talks with Chou. Evening sports spectacle of gymnastics, badminton, table tennis.
Again, talks with Chou. The visit to the Great Wall.
Visit to the Forbidden City in Peking. Last banquet in the Great Hall of the People.
Joint communiqué concluded.
Flight to Hangchow. Boat ride in park with Chou.
Nixon in China is an artistic realisation of a significant political event. The score is complex, it’s over a 1000 pages long, but the sound is bright, powerful and energetic. It’s the sound of living in the fast lane of 1970's America. And then there’s the added layer of sound design, as Composer John Adams wanted singers and orchestra in stereo, evoking a kind of ‘televised effect.’
Fabian Russell, Conductor Nixon in ChinaImage: Line Up of Fair Seeking Taxis NARA -554331 © Dan McCoy [Public Domain]
Source: From Excursions in Mao’s China, Time Magazine, Monday March 6, 1972. Image: By Zhang Zhenshi (1914–1992).
'As always, Mao is everywhere. His works are on sale in five languages. An entire counter is devoted to posters of the Chairman in various poses, ranging from his youthful days in Yenan to swimming the Yangtze. There is Mao in a rice field, Mao in military dress, Mao surrounded by soldiers and sailors.'
When a leader of a powerful nation steps onto foreign soil, the gaze of the world follows. Behind closed doors, leaders secretly draw battle lines, driven by fear. In public, they express a hope for peace and a shared understanding. Headlines break, images flash across networks, and people watch hypnotised as the words and gestures of these larger than life figures are magnified and scrutinised. This is drama on a grand scale, operatic in every way.
As the title character from Nixon in China reflects on his historic first meeting (pictured), he sings ‘News has a kind of mystery’. It is a thrilling moment in this landmark opera in which the fears and hopes of a President come rushing forward, driven by a remarkable score, inviting the viewer to step inside the mind of one of the world’s most powerful men.
Richard Mills, Artistic Director Victorian OperaImage: Nixons wave from AFO 1972. Ollie Atkins, White House Photographer [Public Domain].
'Great plans are being made.
A bridge will fly to join the north
and south, A deep chasm becomes a
thoroughfare; The mountain goddess, if she still
is there, Will be startled to find her world
- Mao Tse-tung
"Being first lady is the hardest unpaid job in the world."
A happy belated birthday to Pat Nixon, who would have turned 101 on Saturday 16th March. Talented Tiffany Speight will bring Pat to the stage in Nixon in China in May.
Source: From The President’s Odyssey, Day by Day, Monday, Mar. 06, 1972. Image: Nixon and Chou En-Lai toast © By White House Photographer [Public domain].
'The toasts are a traditional exercise and Nixon makes the most of it. Seized by this emotional moment, Nixon visits each of the top tables, toasting each Chinese official with a clink, a touch of his glass to his lips.'
Happy Chinese New Year! We are celebrating with our first ever bilingual flyer.