written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

"Transforming us as we Transfixed"

I was recently at the Beijing Airport twice in a row this week picking up a new teacher and I thought about the opera "Nixon in China" by composer John Adams, which I didn't know much about, but had read something a while back and then forgot about. Well, the idea stuck with me when I got home I found these totally you-tubular clips. And as it turned out it made its world premiere at the Houston Grand Opera in 1987, just around the same time my mom left, which makes it personally interesting to me on a few levels.

Added to this, last night, some of the teachers and I were talking about historical "turning points" as shapers of history. I wondered whether they are true instances of change or whether the history makers give them their eventual significance. Certainly, this opera might argue, that some "turning points" are manufactured, as was the situation with Nixon's visit with the opening China in 1972.

Nixon sings this as he steps off the plane at the Peking Airport while shaking a line of hands (I'm just dictating here):

" News, news, news, news....has a, has a...kind of mystery... When I shook hands with Zhou Enlai....The whole world was listening as WE made history...And though we spoke quietly the eyes and ears of history caught every gesture and every word....And so transforming us as we transfixed, as we transfixed....As WE made history...As WE made history."

Its incredible music too.

Nixon In China (Opera): Act I Scene 1: Arrival at Airport and News

Nixon In China (Opera): Act I Scene 3: Having a Banquet (with Baijiu!)

Nixon In China (Opera): Act II Scene 2: Ballet of "The Red Detachment of Women"

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson