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Nixon In China (Opera): Act II Scene 2a - "紅色娘子軍"

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Published on Apr 21, 2008

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John Adams's first opera Nixon In China (1985-7), produced by Peter Sellars, with libretto by Alice Goodman, about the visit of Richard Nixon to China in 1972, where he met with Mao Zedong and other Chinese officials.
Act II Scene 2 (excerpt) -
The Nixons attend a ballet "Red Detachment of Women 紅色娘子軍" directed by Madam Mao 江青. The piece is a simplistic display of politicised music-theatre, with the oppressed peasants of a tropical island saved from their brutal landlord by heroic women of the Red Army. However, somehow the main characters are drawn into the opera, each revealing their true nature, with Pat Nixon defending the weak, Kissinger siding with the brutal landlord and Madam Mao's desire to save the peasants at all costs leading her to become more brutal than the landlord was in the first place.
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