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28 Feb 2009

Doctor Atomic at the English National Opera

Fiona Maddocks [Observer, 1 March 2009]

John Adams’s Doctor Atomic, to a libretto by Peter Sellars about the first atomic bomb test, has already been seen in an original San Francisco version and at the New York Met, relayed to cinemas worldwide last year. This was its first UK staging, in Penny Woolcock’s Met production, with Adams’s meditative, richly faceted score incisively conducted by Lawrence Renes. Impressive though the screen relay was, nothing prepared you for the impact in the theatre. If a work forces you, simultaneously and uncomfortably, to clench your limbs and hold your breath, you have to take notice.

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