Sixty-three years after that first false sunrise in the New Mexico desert, the atomic bomb remains newsworthy. Just the other day, Gov. Sarah Palin said, "Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet." Doctor Atomic, John Adams's extraordinary dramatization of the Trinity test of July 1945, opens at the Metropolitan Opera next Monday. Having chronicled the premiere in 2005, I'm most curious to see the new production, and also to hear Adams's score played by the Met orchestra under Alan Gilbert. Thanks to a generous $500,000 donation, the house is offering a slew of prime orchestra seats for $30 as part of its Rush Ticket program; details here. For background information, interviews, a production blog, and a schedule of allied talks and events, go to the Met's Atomic mini-site.
Atomic will also play at the Atlanta Symphony in November, with Gerald Finley again portraying Robert Oppenheimer and James Maddalena making a welcome return in the small but crucial role of the weatherman. A very effective DVD of the original Sellars production, as seen in Netherlands Opera performances from June 2007, is now available on Opus Arte.