* Notes *
Though the fourth performance of Nixon in China at the Metropolitan Opera was simulcast yesterday, the Opera Tattler was nonetheless to be found in Family Circle standing room. While Adrianne Lobel's set was streamlined and efficient, Peter Sellars direction seemed overblown. The dancing, choreographed by Mark Morris, was attractive. The lines were good, though not completely exact from dancer to dancer.
The orchestra sounded together under the baton of the composer himself, John Adams, whose sense of timing is apparently impeccable. The chorus too appeared synchronized and clear.
Richard Paul Fink's role of Kissinger may have been small, but he certainly made the most of it. In the title role, James Maddalena looked and moved like Nixon, but he sounded strained and wobbly. Russell Braun sang Chou En-lai with conviction, and Robert Brubaker likewise impressed as Mao Tse-tung. Janis Kelly struck me as a bit shrill at first, but her "This is prophetic!" had great charm. Kathleen Kim was terrifying as Chiang Ch'ing. Her big aria in Act II was both imposing and arresting.
* Tattling *
The line for standing room was only 20 people deep in the morning, but there were quite a lot of people standing by the time the performance began. The person behind 202 of the last row of the house was not particularly considerate. He encroached so much on the person next to him that she had to ask an usher to intervene. Near the end of the performance, he began to make a great deal of noise as he got himself ready to leave.
I must admit I was not well-behaved either. At intermission I may have been seen "accidentally" tossing someone into one of the lobby walls, after which I collapsed into hysterical giggles. After careful consideration, the (pernicious) fellow at hand was kind enough to not press charges, for which I am quite grateful.