Ok. I’m the first to admit I didn’t particularly like Doctor Atomic. We saw the opening of John Adams’ latest opera in SF, and my personal feeling was that it was interesting, but it didn’t work. As the story goes, the librettist quit, and Adams and director Peter Sellars instead assembled a libretto from original documents such as diaries, poems, and (painfully) declassified government documents. I’m not a tremendous fan of Adams’ orchestrally dense composition in any case, but the utterly unlyrical rhythms of government prose pretty much killed the drama for me.
Still, I wouldn’t call him a terrorist, musical or otherwise. Yesterday, Adams told the BBC that he’s been “blacklisted” by the US government. Here’s Adams, from the Guardian:
I can’t check in at the airport now without my ID being taken and being grilled. You know, I’m on a homeland security list, probably because of having written The Death of Klinghoffer, so I’m perfectly aware that I, like many artists and many thoughtful people in the country, am being followed.
True? I’m all for paranoia. But if a fairly unrevolutionary composer who makes Nixon and Robert Oppenheimer mythological (anti)heroes is stuck on the US’s terrorist watch list, the administration’s Homeland Security efforts are even more pathetic than anyone imagined.