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This is prophetic

Opera details:

Opera title:

Nixon in China


John Coolidge Adams




Nixon in China Synopsis


Nixon in China Libretto


Not entered yet.

Aria details:




Pat Nixon





Previous scene: This is the People's Clinic
Next scene: At last the weather's warming-up

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(Smiling and waving, Mrs. Nixon and her entourage
leave the commune and proceed to the next stop on her
tour: the Summer Palace where she is photographed
strolling through the Hall of Benevolence and
Longevity, the Hall of Happiness in Longevity,
the Hall of Dispelling the Clouds, and the Pavilion
of the Fragrance of Buddha. She pauses in the gate
of Longevity and Good Will to sing)

This is prophetic! I foresee a time will come when
luxury dissolves into the atmosphere like a perfume,
and everywhere the simple virtues root
and branch and leaf and flower.
On that bench there we'll relax
and taste the fruit of all our actions.
Why regret life which is so much like a dream?
Let the eternal plan resume.
In the bedroom communities let us be taken by surprise.
Yes! Let the band play on and on,
let the stand-up comedian finish his act,
let Gypsy Rose kick off her high-heeled party shoes;
let interested businessmen speculate further,
let routine dull the edge of mortality.
Let days grow imperceptibly longer,
let the sun set in cloud;
let lonely drivers on the road pull over for a bite to eat,
let the farmer switch on the light over the porch,
let passer by look in at the large family
around the table, let them pass.
Let the expression on the face
of the Statue of Liberty change just a little,
let her see what lies inland:
across the plain one man is marching...
the Unknown Soldier has risen from his tomb,
let him be recognized at home.
The Prodigal. Give him his share:
the eagle nailed to the barn door.
Let him be quick.
The sirens wail as bride
and groom kiss through the veil.
Bless this union with all its might,
let it remain inviolate.

(There is some clapping, then the First Lady is ushered
into the limousine for the ride to the Ming Tombs,
where ancient Chinese emperors were laid to rest.
It is about four o'clock in the afternoon and the warm-
colored light which precedes sunset in the very early
spring illuminates the limestone statues. Or are they
sandstone? The First Lady pats the pockmarked leg
of an archaic elephant. She has put on her mink hat
during the drive. She revels in the quiet ... no traffic,
no airplanes, no loudspeakers, only the sound of the
human voice and the sound of footsteps on flagstones
and new snow)

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