Washington National Opera

Nixon in China

Opera House

Step behind “the week that changed the world” in John Adams’s opera ripped from the headlines.

Oct. 31 - Nov. 14, 2020

On Sale Tue. Jun. 9, 2020 10a.m.

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3 TVs represening the opera Nixon in China


There’s a story behind the superpowers.

Music by John Adams / Libretto by Alice Goodman

Oct. 31, Nov. 2, 6, 8m, 11 & 14 (2020) in the Opera House
In English with Projected English Titles
Composed 1987
Co-Production with LA Philharmonic

Nixon. Kissinger. Mao. Political titans converge in China in February 1972 for “the week that changed the world.” But the headlines will miss one side of the story: the inner lives behind the history.

Celebrated as a 20th-century classic, John Adams’s Nixon in China captures President Richard Nixon’s landmark visit with Chairman Mao Tse-tung and the media frenzy that followed. Adams’s sweeping music fuses national and personal histories, from Pat Nixon’s vision for a peaceful world to Madame Mao’s defiant reflection on the Cultural Revolution. Nixon in China’s final aria reverberates with a timely question for Washington audiences, asking: “How much of what we did was good?”


Richard Nixon
Ryan McKinny

Pat Nixon
Joelle Harvey*

Mao Tse-tung
Sean Panikkar

Chiang Ch’ing (Madame Mao)
So Young Park*

Chou En-Lai
Joo Won Kang*

Henry Kissinger
Craig Colclough*

David Robertson*

Elkhanah Pulitzer*

Scenic & Video Designer
Alexander V. Nichols*

Film Designer
Bill Morrison*

Costume Designer
Elisabeth Scott*

Lighting Designer
David Finn*

Sound Designer
Mark Grey*

* WNO Mainstage Debut


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Major support for WNO is provided by Jacqueline Badger Mars.

David M. Rubenstein is the Presenting Underwriter of WNO.

WNO acknowledges the longstanding generosity of Life Chairman Mrs. Eugene B. Casey.

WNO’s Presenting Sponsor

Additional support for Nixon in China is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Terms and Conditions

All events and artists subject to change without prior notice.

All ticket prices are subject to change based on demand. Purchase early to lock in prices and the best seats!

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