Recorded live at Het Musiektheater, Amsterdam on 7th, 25th
& 29th June 2007.
Gerald Finley (J. Robert Oppenheimer), Jessica Rivera (Kitty Oppenheimer), Eric Owens (General Leslie Groves), Richard Paul Fink (Edward Teller), James Maddalena (Jack Hubbard), Thomas Glenn (Robert R. Wilson), Jay Hunter Morris (Captain James Nolan), Ellen Rabiner (Pasqualita)
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The longing to overcome human boundaries led the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer to begin an experiment that formed a threat to the whole of humanity, and whose scientific results still do today. The question of the moral implications of the atomic bomb is raised in John Adams’ opera, just as much as that of the influence on the private lives of the main characters. Doctor Atomic is the fifth work to result from almost twenty years of collaboration between the American composer and his fellow American director and Erasmus Prize-winner Peter Sellars.
'The cast is flawless… Adams has created a beautiful provocative work that refreshes the repertoire.’ The Times
“Doctor Atomic centres on the hours before the first detonation of the atomic bomb… Peter Sellars's film of the opera is expressionistic, claustrophobic, sometimes deliberately out of focus. The sound quality is exceptionally good, as is the singing and playing under conductor Lawrence Renes.”
“Gerald Finley carries the problems of the world on his shoulders as Oppenheimer and the Netherlands Philharmonic and Lawrence Renes play like it’s the best score since Fidelio.”
1st August 2008
“The heart throbs...in scenes featuring Jessica Rivera as Oppenheimer’s wife, the opera’s symbol of warmth, sensuousness, and hope. But these are moments: the overall tone stays cool, intellectual. We watch as observers, not participants. Sellars directed this TV version himself. There are virtues here, and vices. Cinema aficionados dismayed by static shots may revel in the nervous visuals, the quick editing and close-ups (you grow very familiar with Rivera’s tongue). But by fidgeting so much, Sellars the film director often works against the interests of Sellars the stage director. Body movements are truncated; the patterns of Lucinda Childs’s choreography get lost. All too rarely do we grasp the big picture and enjoy the full impact of Adrianne Lobel’s stark sets, with desert hills silhouetted and the bomb, cradled with wires, looming overhead like a malevolent planet. Finley, Rivera, Eric Owens and the rest of the cast are always as eloquent as the opera allows, and Lawrence Renes’s conducting is on the ball. Extras are disappointing: too much of Sellars holding forth, not enough on the production”
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