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Admirable Adams

June 20, 1993

What a shame that U.S. opera companies are reluctant to stage John Adams' operas ("The High Road to Ojai," by John Henken, May 30). As a longtime opera fan, I find "Nixon in China" and "The Death of Klinghoffer" to be among the most thrilling and passionate works of the genre.

Unlike the spiny dissonance of much contemporary music, Adams' vocal scores are hauntingly beautiful. The choral writing in "Klinghoffer" is a lush blend of Impressionism with the part-songs of Britten and Holst, multi-textured layers of harmony folded seamlessly into Adams' unique tonalities and rhythms. Adams' melodies are highly romantic, darker than those of Puccini or Verdi, and with an edge: exciting, dangerous, unabashedly sensual. Nixon has such heroic and glorious music to sing that regardless of one's political affiliation, it is impossible not to admire the man by the end of the first act.

Adams' operas deserve to be produced, but I fear that they may have been judged as "politically incorrect." If you are an opera lover, I recommend that you acquaint yourself with these works and then write to Peter Hemmings at the Music Center and let him know that Los Angeles is ready and willing to support Adams' wonderful operas.

FRANCIE NEELY

Leona Valley

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