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John Duykers speaks about his life, and creating the role of Chairm...
Time-length-icon 42m 1s
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Publish-date-icon March 15, 2010
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EPISODE DESCRIPTION

The Long Beach Opera is presenting three performances of John Adams' celebrated opera, Nixon In China, at the Terrace Theater. The first performance takes place this Saturday, March 20th, with a matinee and evening performance the following Sunday.

On the surface, it tells the story of Richard Nixon's landmark visit to China in 1972. He arrived with high hopes but soon it becomes clear that his great ambitions for normalization are unrealistic. Mao, aged and infirm, speaks indirectly, and little progress is made. According to Adams, the opera "is part epic, part satire, part a parody of political posturing, and part serious examination of historical, philosophical, and even gender issues."

John Duykers defined the role of Chairman Mao in the original production, premiered at the Houston Grand Opera in 1987. Since then, he's performed the role many times. He's worked with many great modern composers, and performed countless classic operas. In our conversation, he speaks about his childhood, his college years, and the many great roles he's played over the years. Our conversation lasts about 45 minutes.

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