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The Metropolitan Opera presents John Adams’s El Niño in a new production by director Lileana Blain-Cruz, starring soprano Julia Bullock and bass-baritone Davóne Tines.

On April 23-May 17, a new production of the John Adams Nativity oratorio El Niño is unveiled at the Metropolitan Opera in its company premiere, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz. The cast, led by conductor and longtime Adams collaborator Marin Alsop, features soprano Julia Bullock and bass-baritone Davóne Tines, alongside mezzo-sopranos J’Nai Bridges and Daniela Mack, and countertenors Key’mon W. Murrah, Siman Chung, and Eric Jurenas.

> April 23-May 17: Adams, El Niño at The Metropolitan Opera

Praised as having “sublimely assured music” (LA Times), El Niño tells the story of the Jesus’s birth, as his family flees to Egypt to escape Herod’s power-driven violence, alongside reflections on motherhood itself. The libretto, adapted by Peter Sellars and Adams, sources poems by Rosario Castellanos, Gabriela Mistral, Hildegard von Bingen, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Rubén Darío, Vicente Huidobro, and Martin Luther; and texts from the King James Bible, The Wakefield Mystery Plays, and the Gnostic Gospels.

Lileana Blain-Cruz, resident Director of Lincoln Center Theater, incorporates migrant stories into this new production, drawing on her Puerto Rican heritage and building upon the modern-day parallels explored in the libretto. In an interview with the Met Opera, Blain-Cruz states, “Immigration is so terrifying. People are looking for a safe passage or a place to land. In many ways, these stories mirror Mary and Joseph looking for a safe place to give birth to their child.”

> Read the full article

Marin Alsop has been a longtime champion of John Adams, having given the US premiere of his Saxophone Concerto with soloist Tim McAllister and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, as well as the world premiere of “Lola Montez Does the Spider Dance” from Girls of the Golden West at the Cabrillo Festival. This month, Alsop releases an all-Adams album with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.

“I got to know him and fall in love with him as a human being when I was music director of the Cabrillo Festival for 25 years ... Whether it’s an opera, a symphony, or a tone poem, his music has drive. It has beautiful architecture. I love the way he uses metric modulation,” says Alsop in a recent interview with San Francisco Classical Voice.

Julia Bullock, Davóne Tines, J’Nai Bridges, and Daniela Mack are also no strangers to Adams’s music, having starred in his 2017 opera Girls of the Golden West. The premiere recording is released on April 26 by Nonesuch Records featuring Bullock, Tines, Mack, LA Phil, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, conducted by Adams.

John Adams returns to the Met Opera next season for the company premiere of Antony and Cleopatra, starring soprano Julia Bullock as Cleopatra and baritone Gerald Finley as Antony, led by the composer himself (May 2025).

>  Further information on Work: El Niño

Photo: Zenith Richards / Met Opera

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