628 Notes, March 2010
labyrinth is portrayed with an orange line ments. This staging was not convincing.
which traces the maze-like path he takes to Later Keres, in black attire with one arm
ﬁnd the Minotaur. winged and smudged face, arrives to fetch
The use of a black background allows for and eat the Innocents’ hearts.
easy fades in and out on the stage. At times The singing was powerful, with very difﬁ-
a moon, or both a moon and a sun illumi- cult lines to perform. Some vowels were al-
nate the stage. The set represents the is- tered to make them easier to sing in certain
land, the place where the ship docks, and registers. Leaps and large ranges did not
the temporary appearance of the ladder at seem to present the singers with any difﬁ-
the entrance to the labyrinth. The Inno- culty. Rice states in the documentary that it
cents make their descent down to the took time to become familiar with the lan-
Minotaur on several ladders visible against guage and fabric of the piece. The orches-
the black background. In Part 2, the Snake tra provided interesting sound commentary
Priestess rises up from midstage to tower and support.
over the Hiereus and Ariadne. The DVD includes “Myth is Universal,” a
The stage is also transformed into a bull- documentary with Birtwistle, David Harsent
ring or an arena with bleachers for the (librettist), stage director Stephen Lang-
blue-masked jeering crowd. The bull’s head ridge, and Christine Rice and is recom-
is still visible on stage. One can easily see mended for those studying contemporary
symbolism of Christian martyrs (the Inno- opera, Birtwistle, opera production, or vari-
cents), and the crowd (here accompanied ous dramatizations of Greek tragedy.
by timpani). The Innocents enter from two
sides. As the Minotaur attacks them, they
disappear for a moment and return with a Joan O’Connor
packet of fake blood to smear on their gar- University of Houston
John Adams. Doctor Atomic. DVD (Blu-ray). Lawrence Renes /
Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest; Koor van De Nederlands Opera.
Directed by Peter Sellars. With Gerald Finley, Jessica Rivera, Eric Owens.
Waldron, Heathﬁeld, East Sussex, UK: Opus Arte, 2009, 2007.
This live recording of John Adams’s were truly there. For example, during
Doctor Atomic as performed at Het Muziek- Oppenheimer’s aria in Act I, Scene 3,
theater, Amsterdam in June of 2007, is “Feelings of heat and cold, pleasure and
available from Opus Arte (2009) in Blu-ray pain,” the camera allows the viewer to feel
(1080i High Deﬁnition 16:9 BD50, with 2.0 like a guest in a salon, and the aria takes on
and 5.1 Dolby Digital audio). Recorded in the tone of a lied. During Wilson’s humani-
high deﬁnition vi