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John Adams's Doctor Atomic, an opera in two acts about the birth of the atom bomb, will make its New York City debut at the Metropolitan Opera tonight (October 13). Adams is one of our finest classical composers, well-known for his earlier operatic works on contemporary affairs, Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer. The libretto by his longtime collaborator, Peter Sellars, is drawn from the published statements by the principal characters, and from the literature they loved.
"The atomic bomb is the all-time American symbol of our darkest mythology—power, technology, science and, of course, the responsibility of having this ability to destroy the planet," Adams says. "These are Wagnerian topics, and they are ideally suited to operatic expression."
The Met will offer nine performances of Doctor Atomic. Several events relevant to the history of the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb will take place in and around New York. Details are here.