Docu-Operas Bring Real Lives to the Stage

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Step aside, reality television: three operas take the stage this month that use real lives and non-fictional events to make art. Wednesday, John Adams' 1987 opera "Nixon in China" premiered at the Metropolitan Opera, and on Friday in Baltimore an opera based on the tesimony of former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez opens in Baltimore. Meanwhile in London, an opera based on the life of tabloid queen and model Anna Nicole Smith will open on February 17.

In this week's Arts File, Kerry Nolan speaks to Washington Post classical music critic Anne Midgette about docu-opera, a topic she addressed recently in her column. Midgette feels that naysayers who dismiss the form as a "gimmick" are ignoring the fact that opera used to be "the cheapest form of popular culture."

Check out a video of WQXR host Terrance McKnight's preview of "Nixon in China" and let us know what you think in the comments section below!