Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tragedy in London, Nixon in China

Bluebird, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, and written by Simon Stephens, at Atlantic Theater Company Stage 2 this afternoon. Strong performance by Simon Russell Beale as a London cab driver whose reticence elicits life-stories from his fares. He reveals at the end that he has a harrowing story of his own. LW and I ran into the actor at the Grey Dog Cafe after the show. He was very pleasant when LW told him how fantastic he was in the play.

Then I watched John Adams's opera Nixon in China on HD screen at Lincoln Center Plaza tonight.  Act 3, in which the Americans get roped into the story of the Communist Revolution is engagingly dramatic. The other acts are a little weird for my taste. The libretto seemed to be a patchwork of pseudo-philosophical statements and banal facts. The music with its minimalist repetitions is slightly more interesting. The opera has a kind of crude boldness that is more American than Chinese.

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