Considered an important opera of the 20th century for both its subject matter and its music, John Adams’s Nixon in China is based on the historic 1972 meeting between US President Richard Nixon and Chairman Mao Tse-Tung of the People’s Republic of China. Just as in Puccini’s greatest operas, Adams wrote music that gives local color (1930’s big band, neo-classicism, electronic synthesizer sounds, minimalism, lush late-romanticism) to the score while also propelling the drama forward. Understanding the many musical styles and their relationship to the story will greatly enhance appreciation of one of the finest examples of American opera.
Timothy Urban holds a M.M. degree in voice and recorder performance; a M.F.A. degree in early music performance practice; a M.A. degree in music theory and history; and a Ph.D. in musicology, specializing in music of the Italian seicento. He has appeared in solo and chamber music recitals, lectured, and guest conducted across the United States and internationally but most importantly, year after year, Princeton Festival patrons find Dr. Urban’s lectures on our opera’s music and plot essential to their enjoyment of the performance.