Following highly successful productions of John Adams’s Nixon in China and Doctor Atomic, ENO presents the London stage premiere of the American composer’s controversial ‘docu-opera’ about the killing of a Jewish-American tourist during the hijacking of a Mediterranean cruise liner by Palestinian militants.
Alice Goodman’s eloquently poetic and dispassionately even-handed libretto mixes Biblical and Koranic references with real and imagined accounts of what happened on board. Adams’s intensely expressive score captures the private thoughts and emotions of individuals caught up in the complexities of a political and religious conflict that still defies solution. More of a meditation in the style of a Bach Passion than a conventional operatic drama, the result is an utterly compelling and unique piece of theatre.
Tom Morris, co-director of the National Theatre’s War Horse, makes his opera directing debut, while Baldur Brönnimann, who conducted ENO’s Lost Highway and Le Grand Macabre, applies his contemporary expertise to what many regard as Adams’s finest opera.