Houston Matters

How Nixon’s Visit To China Put The Houston Opera Scene On The Map

The 1987 premiere of Nixon in China at Houston Grand Opera broke new ground for opera — and for Houston’s opera scene.

Nixon in China - Banner - Lynn Lane - Houston Grand Opera


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It’s been 45 years since President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972, ending decades of isolation from the West.

Thirty years ago, Houston Grand Opera turned the story into an opera called, simply, Nixon in China. The piece broke new ground with a portrayal of recent world events and in its mix of musical styles from classical to jazz to brass band.

Now, the show is returning to HGO with performances Jan. 20-28, and we learn about it — and it’s relevance today — from Paul Hopper, HGO’s dramaturg and assistant artistic director, and Jon Taylor, political science professor at the University of St. Thomas.

MORE: Revisiting Nixon In China (Houston Public Media, Jan. 17, 2017)