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Nixon in China + Zhou En Lai

Zhou En Lai greets Nixon. (Act I)

This funny opera was composed by John Adams, produced by Peter Sellers, and choreographed by Mark Morris.
Judging from these clips on youtube, Pat Nixon is the only non political person in the mix of power hungry world leaders, providing the audience with maternal warmth and humanity.

The Bad Boy provides us with more clips (one clip is missing).

As a big fan of the opera Nixon In China, I was so excited to find the following clips from it on YouTube. As the title implies, NIC is about the historic meeting between Richard Nixon and Mao Tse-tung. The composer, John Adams, once described it (jokingly) as an opera for “Republicans and Communists.” Well, I’m neither and I still love the hell out of it.

This third clip is one of my favorites. Kissinger (as Lao-Szu) whips a peasant woman half to death in a stage play. Pat Nixon comes to the woman’s aid and then the music gets better.

Nixon and Zhou En Lai (image source)

Today January 8 was the day China lost their beloved leader Zhou En Lai. in 1976.
How do you assess Zhou’s achievements in China’s tumultuous history?
Some accuse Zhou of going along with Mao and not protecting the Chinese people; others show gratitude to Zhou for saving China from Mao’s tyranny.
Zhou was first and foremost a survivor. Most of Zhou’s contemporaries died directly under the hand of Mao or died in mysterious accidents. Zhou alone, of his stature, survived. Mao was determined to outlive Zhou and did so by a few months.

Perhaps my favorite image of Zhou is from footage of Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. As the US President blathered on about ‘friendship and mutual respect,’ the jaded premier shifted in his chair unable to contain a mighty yawn at the dog and pony show onstage. Zhou’s work with Kissinger was done and in the books. That had been the important part.
Perhaps, he was simply tired. (This date in history: The Death of Zhou Enlai)

Was he a tragic hero?

A sentimental eulogy to Zhou En Lai on youtube.

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