The Chairman Dances

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Monday, September 24, 2007

As John Adams was preparing to embark on his groundbreaking opera Nixon in China in 1985, he decided to write a warmup piece first. The result was tonight's featured foxtrot for orchestra, "The Chairman Dances."

Operatic Out-Take

The "Chairman," of course, refers to Chairman Mao Tse-Tung in Adams' opera. Although it doesn't actually appear in the opera, some of the music is paraphrased in the third act. The conceit of Adams' piece takes its cue from the scenario for act three: during a formal state dinner, the ...


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