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04 Oct 2005

Oppenheimer as a myth for our time

By Andrew Clark [4 October 2005]

The countdown was approaching zero. The audience at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House had sat through a 2½-hour collage of dialogue, dance, techno-speak, solo reverie and choral meditation, all pointing to the cataclysmic explosion that everyone knew would crown John Adams's new opera Doctor Atomic. Climax or anti-climax? How would America's leading classical composer deal with the nuclear option, which in 1945 changed the world? As the musical clock ticked towards the end, the moment had an inborn theatricality.

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