Doctor Atomic

From Feb ’08 Spotlight: Reactions to the Lyric Opera’s premiere of Doctor Atomic were mixed and none of my companions liked it as much as I did. Life in Los Alamos, New Mexico during the final days of WWII might seem like an unlikely setting for grand opera, but I found John Adams’ musical expression of the drama surrounding the creation of the first atomic bomb thrilling. The opening moments make it clear that the principal characters, especially Jewish physicists J. Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller, came to the Manhattan Project motivated in large part by their hatred of Hitler and his Nazi regime. And lyricist Peter Sellers gives Oppenheimer’s wife Kitty arias based on the work of Jewish-American poet Muriel Rukeyser (even though Kitty herself was not Jewish). Unfortunately there are no recordings yet, so it may be quite some time before you get another chance to decide for yourself.

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