Richard Nixon’s official recognition and visit to Communist China in 1972 was a brash, brave and hotly debated political maneuver. Although both Nixon and Henry Kissinger, his national security advisor, enter history with more than a few black marks beside their names, it’s difficult to downplay that single trip’s impact on furthering global understanding and broadening international relations.
Was it a sloppy ploy to win votes or a world-altering event? Either way, “the week that changed the world” was nearly operatic in it’s drama and import.
And now it is an opera.
As part of a month-long project highlighting the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Shanghai Communiqué, the Eugene Opera this weekend presents Nixon in China. Written by John Adams with a libretto by Alice Goodman, this is a very modern opera. Characters include Pat and Richard Nixon, Kissinger, even Mao Tse-tung. Yes, Chairman Mao, singing!
There has been extensive collaborative work with the University of Oregon on this project. For the full list of events, visit nixoninchinaeugene.com
To quote Nixon: “There is no place on this small planet for a billion of its potentially most able people to live in angry isolation.”
Nixon in China plays March 16 & 18 at the Hult Center.