Promotional flier for the Nixon in China opera
Nixon in China (1987) is an opera with music by the American composer John Adams and a libretto by Alice Goodman, about the visit of United States President Richard M. Nixon to China in 1972, where he met with China's Chairman Mao Zedong and other Chinese officials.
The work was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Houston Grand Opera and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It premiered at the Houston Grand Opera, October 22, 1987 in a production by Peter Sellars with choreography by Mark Morris.
The opera focuses on the personalities and personal histories of the six key players, Nixon and his wife Pat, Jiang Qing (spelled "Chiang Ch'ing" in the libretto) and Chairman Mao ("Mao Zedong"), and the two close advisors to the two parties, Henry Kissinger and Zhou Enlai ("Chou En-lai"). It is composed of three acts. The first details the anticipation and arrival of the Nixon cortege and the first meeting and evening in China. The second act shifts focus to Pat Nixon, as she makes tours of rural China, including an encounter at a pig farm. The second scene includes a performance of a Communist propaganda play, in which first Pat Nixon, then her husband and then Jiang Qing, intercede in the performance. The last act chronicles the last night in China, in which the characters dance a foxtrot, their thoughts wandering to their own pasts.
Cover of Nixon and Mao by Margaret MacMillan, Random House
Ping Pong Diplomacy (Chinese: 乒乓外交) refers to the exchange of ping pong players of the United States and People's Republic of China (PRC) in the 1970s. The event marked a thaw in U.S.–China relations that paved the way to a visit to Beijing by President Richard Nixon.
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