John Adams – El Nino (2001)
DVD9: VIDEO_TS | PAL | 720:576| 16:9 | Audio PCM@1536/AC-3@448/DTS@755 | subs: EN, FR, ESP, GER | 2h27m | 7.16gb
Label: Art Haus Musik | cat. no. 100 220
The latest composition from the pen of American minimalist John Adams is a sort of "Christmas Oratorio': the major theatrical work El nibo, whose tide not only means °boy° in Spanish but also is the name given to the hurricane-like winds that threaten the southern states of North America virtually every winter.
The Eiffel Tower is glittering with a thousand lights, like a huge Christmas tree that is switched on every hour for a few minutes to greet the latest arrival of the new millennium. An out-of-focus video camera converts the glittering lights into a rhythmically pulsating pattern. Thus begins the videotrack made by Peter Sellars and Yreina D. Cervantez for John Adams' oratorio El nino (presented under the title of La Nativite at its premiere in the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris). It is only later that it emerges that this decorated tree in fact stands in a desert setting near Los Angeles, where American society's Hispanic underdogs eke out a meagre existen-ce in the area between the airport and the beach.
How does one celebrate Christ's birth in sunny California - a land where palm trees blossom, racial conflict flourishes and new business start-ups are thick on the ground? Perhaps composer John Adams and producer Peter Sellars (who also jointly wrote the libretto) hit on the right idea at the start of their oratorio El nino, which received its first performance nine days before Christmas 2000 at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris: a tree garlanded with lights. The vaguely poetic symbol recorded on wobbly, hand-held video is highly eloquent - and in more than one sense.
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin – Kent Nagano
Dawn Upshaw - soprano
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson – mezzo-soprano
Willard White - bass-baritone
Peter Sellars – director