In Review: Mechavich and Yuan in Auckland Music Festival’s “Nixon in China”



“Chen-Ye Yuan’s moving final aria leaves us with Chou En Lai’s unforgettable image of the chill of grace heavy on the morning grass. Ultimately, despite spectacular chorus work and a virtuoso APO coaxed by maestro Joseph Mechavich to run from shimmer to shout within a few bars, the opera’s final resolution is reflective.” -New Zealand Herald


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“From time to time there’s a snatch of melody, such as Gershwin amongst a collage of American jazz, and some Strauss, but mostly we are immersed in full-on surround sound. The time signatures are extremely complex, especially when the layers start to accumulate, and conductor Joseph Mechavich seems deceptively relaxed, given the immensity of the task he is handling. . . Chou En Lai (Chen-Ye Yuan) is a quietly watching statesman, now confined to China, and he expresses his concerns for the best future for his country. He seems to fulfill a kind of meta-narrator role here, and his quietly assured singing always rivets attention on him.” -The New Zealand Performing Arts & Directory


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“Chou En Lai sung by Chen-Ye Yuan was like the ultimate politician knowing all but revealing little. His enigmatic qualities were perfectly delivered with a well-judged constraint. . . Conductor Joseph Mechavich led the APO, getting the most out of the minimalist music of Adams, carefully steering the orchestra so that it never dominated the singers yet brought out all the drama and melodies of the work.” -National Business Review


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