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NIXON IN CHINA ‘A masterpiece’ - Variety Magazine.

In 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon stunned the world when he revealed he would visit China. It was an historic turning point in American-Chinese relations after twenty five years of no contact, trade or diplomatic recognition. The following year, Richard Nixon and his wife Pat began a week-long visit to China, accompanied by over 100 journalists. And with them, the gaze of the world followed. Fifteen years later, composer John Adams wrote Nixon in China inspired by ‘the week that changed the world’. His heroic opera, with its powerful music and text, centres as much on the personal journeys of individual characters as on the grand historical narrative. Recently Variety Magazine called Nixon in China, ‘a masterpiece’. In 2013, Victorian Opera re-imagines this compelling work bringing an all-Australian perspective to this grand American opera. Nixon in China | John Adams 16 – 23 May 2013 Her Majesty’s Theatre These performances of Nixon in China by John Adams with libretto by Alice Goodman are given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agents for Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd of London.

SYNOPSIS The opera is set in China and sung in English. There are three acts, each shorter in length. Act One The Presidential party arrives in Peking on the Presidential Plane Spirit of ’76. They exchange greetings. In scene two the politicians discuss in Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s study. The act finishes with a banquet and a discussion between the politicians. Act Two Pat Nixon, the First Lady has a grand sightseeing tour of Peking (Beijing). She visits a school, then the Summer Palace. The Act concludes with a presentation of a Revolutionary Ballet. The Nixon’s Figure 1: Figure 2 Nixon shakes hands with Chou En-lai © White House photo by are deeply affected by the Byron Schumaker performance but misinterpret the messages. Act Three Richard and Pat Nixon are in their room and reminisce about the visit. They also reflect on the similarities and differences between the two countries from the perspective of their own upbringings and realize they have much in common. The Chinese politicians also reminisce. Mao Tse-tung has experienced a great transformation through the Nixon’s visit. Nixon in China Education Resource - General © Victorian Opera


CREATIVES

Conductor Fabian Russell Director Roger Hodgman Set Designer Richard Roberts Costume Designer Esther Marie Hayes Lighting Designer Matt Scott Choreographer Robert Curran Assistant Conductor Daniel Carter Assistant Director Cameron Menzies

CAST

Chou En-lai Christopher Tonkin Richard Nixon Barry Ryan Henry Kissinger Andrew Collis Nancy T’ang (Secretary to Mao) Sally-Anne Russell Second Secretary to Mao Dimity Shepherd Third Secretary to Mao Emily Bauer-Jones Mao Tse-tung Bradley Daley Pat Nixon Tiffany Speight Chiang Ching (Madame Mao Tse-tung) Eva Jinhee Kong

Victorian Opera Chorus Orchestra Victoria

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Nixon in China Education Resource - General © Victorian Opera


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Visit the Education “Wall” to download: • Nixon in China Music Resource • Nixon in China History Resource

CONTACT US

For enquiries about our 2013 Education Program contact: Melissa Harris, Education Manager E: melissah@victorianopera.com.au P: 03 9012 6652 Engage with us @ facebook.com/vopera Join in the conversation @ twitter.com/victorianopera #victorianopera See our snapshots @instagram/victorianopera View our opera journey @ youtube.com/victorianoperapage Discover our 2013 Education Season @ victorianopera.com.au/education Read our behind-the-scenes blog @ victorianopera.com.au/blog

Victorian Opera Education Program is generously supported by the Victorian Opera Education Syndicate.

Nixon in China Education Resource - General © Victorian Opera


‘A masterpiece’ - Variety Magazine.

In 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon stunned the world when he revealed he would visit China. It was an historic turning point in American-Chinese relations after twenty five years of no contact, trade or diplomatic recognition. The following year, Richard Nixon and his wife Pat began a week-long visit to China, accompanied by over 100 journalists. And with them, the gaze of the world followed. Fifteen years later, composer John Adams wrote Nixon in China inspired by ‘the week that changed the world’. His heroic opera, with its powerful music and text, centres as much on the personal journeys of individual characters as on the grand historical narrative. Recently Variety Magazine called Nixon in China, ‘a masterpiece’. In 2013, Victorian Opera re-imagines this compelling work bringing an all-Australian perspective to this grand American opera. Nixon in China | John Adams 16 – 23 May 2013 Her Majesty’s Theatre These performances of Nixon in China by John Adams with libretto by Alice Goodman are given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agents for Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd of London.

To gain the most of your opera experience it is highly recommended to study the work, discover its inspiration, learn about the composers and explore the main themes. The following educational resources will provide you with information about the work, what to expect during your opera experience and post opera reflection. Most of the information is included here in the pre-visit exploration section which of course can be re-visited during and after the opera experience. Visit our interactive Wall online for historical facts, behind-the-scenes and archival photographs, trailer and more!

Nixon in China Education Resource – Music © Victorian Opera


Adams’ Compositional Style

Adams’ compositional style has been described as ‘minimalist’ which is characterized by repetitive rhythmic patterns. Other famous minimalist composers include Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Tony Riley. Adams was attracted to minimalism due to its scope and possibilities. As he stated:

What I found liberating about minimalist techniques was that through them I found I could build large musical structures: Brucknerian structures even. The control of tonal harmony and the construction by means of repeated motivic cells allowed me to create architectural “events” like the first movements of Harmonium and Harmonielehre of those big opera scenes in Nixon. You just couldn’t build big structures like that in atonal music. 1 Nixon in China has been described as beyond minimalism. Rhythmic dissonance is achieved through displaced pulses and syncopated cross-rhythms are used as a compositional device. Adams was also inspired by the late nineteenth century Romanticism namely Richard Wagner, Johann Strauss and Igor Stravinsky. Adams employed a full orchestra for the opera and augmented it with a saxophone section, an electronic synthesizer and percussion instruments including wood block, sandpaper blocks, slapsticks and sleigh bells. Adams created tension in his work through his treatment of rhythm. There is metrical consonance when the pulse is aligned and dissonance through displacing the pulse, layering textures of sound in which the pulse is displaced. Harmonically, Adams does employ the traditional tonic to dominant and sub-dominant chord changes, but largely employs slow moving transformations from neo-Riemannian theory. Here chords are changed where either one of more notes of the triads move a shift, or when the entire chord is transposed up or down a semitone from one chord to another. For example a C major chord can transform to C minor by the E natural changing to an E flat.

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Why was Richard Nixon’s visit to China such a big event? Was it easy for Westerners to visit China in 1972? Watch the YouTube documentary Assignment China: The week that changed the world. How important was the media in Nixon’s visit to China? What are some of the characteristics of Communism which are different to Capitalist society?

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May (2006) Adams 2006a, pp.21-2. Nixon in China Education Resource – Music © Victorian Opera

Listen to the works of John Adams. These are found of YouTube. What characteristics make it minimalist in style?


Scenes for Discussion

The Opera displays the contrast in the perceptions of China from an Eastern and Western perspective. The scenes selected are: the arrival of Nixon, his wife and Kissinger in China; Pat Nixon’s Grand Tour of China followed by a performance by the ballet Act One – Scene One – The Red Dawn The opera begins with an orchestral prelude of overlapping ascending Aeolian scales to depict dawn in China. It is played slowly creating a warm relaxed feel, but with alternating A and F pedal notes on the bass. The use of rhythm creates an unsettled atmosphere. Adams uses layers of disjunct overlapping scales punctured by dissonant chords most notably four note staccato outbursts on the trombone. The brass play dotted noted against symmetrical strings. The winds never fall into alignment. In the opening scene the common note is an E. Harmonically, Adams uses semitone shifts.

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Listen to the opening scene. What function does the strings, wind and brass have in the opening scene? Which instrumental group plays the scale, chords? Play an Aeolian mode on a musical instrument (A to A on white keys). If you are in group, play the scale simultaneously at different tempi to create overlapping scales in the style of Adams. What impact does this have on the musical atmosphere?

The White Fields (Bars 78-220) A Chinese military song “The White Fields” is then introduced where the Chinese citizens celebrate the common labourer. Here, the contrast of perspectives if the landscape from the East and West are displayed through the music and the libretto.

Whereas its inhabitants saw fruitful soil, vivid colors, and serene openness, its Western visitors saw barren fields, a gray canvas, and emptiness. With the simultaneous presentation of metrical and harmonic consonance and dissonance, Adams musically depicts this divergence in point of view between the American visitors and the Chinese citizens.2 The contrast between East and West is apparent from the first scene. Nixon exploits through a variety of compositional techniques. The Chinese chorus sing harmonious about the fruits of the harvest.

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2

Listen to the text. What is the song about? What words and phrases indicate that they are in China? Adams changes the meter often. 2/2, 3/4, 3/2. What impact does this have on the melody? What instruments accompany the singers?

(Johnson, 2011, p.17) Nixon in China Education Resource – Music © Victorian Opera


Spirit of ’76 Plane Arrival As the plane arrives, the tension is heightened through tempo, register, meter, dynamics and harmony. Nixon uses metric modulation through quavers in 4/4 timing then to 5/4 timing. The brass use metrical displacement. The arrival of the plane Spirit of ’76 is signaled by bursts of band sounds and fragmented fanfares, which disrupts the atmosphere. After Nixon disembarks, he exclaims “News” and repeats the word ten times in a row each time closer together. Nixon as a person craved solitude and was uncomfortable at small talk. During greeting, his mind wanders. Adams’ has reflected social awkwardness through quick descending, short repetitiveness phrases. Nixon also perceives the landscape as barren after he arrives in China. This is expressed through quick descending chords. When Nixon shakes hands with the Chinese, this is not only a photo opportunity, but observing history.

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What instrumentation does Adams employ when the plane arrives? Does the passage use repeated scales or arpeggios? What impact does this have? What do the leaders first discuss when they meet? Is this what you would expect?

Act Two In Act Two, there is a focus on Pat Nixon. From Act One, Pat is continuously happy and positive about the entire experience. One of her first lines in the opera is “I treat every day like Christmas” (Bar 89) and “This is Prophetic”. Pat Nixon is taken on a Grand Tour of China. The tour took several days but in Nixon in China, it is condensed to one scene. The scene highlights the differences in perception of Pat and the Chinese. Her comments reveal her thinking. She is taken around the street of Peking then given a toy glass elephant. The elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party and also of China. Pat asks “Is it one of a kind?” (bars 22832) which the Chinese respond they make hundreds. Pat sees the elephant as a positive sign of the tour. “I was meant to come here”. She then goes to the Evergreen People’s Commune where there are the elephantine hills (bars 273-97) then a school and the Summer Palace. At the Ming Tombs, Pat misses the point. She sees the ancient burial grounds as a lovely park and place for a picnic. Pat stays positive throughout this scene and the visit and believes that the trip was fate.

Nixon in China Education Resource – Music © Victorian Opera


Find and watch the scene on YouTube. How does the music change at each of Pat Nixon’s destination? Listen to the dialogue between Pat Nixon and the people. How well do the responses match the comments and questions? Look at some travel guides for Beijing (Peking) on the internet. Are the places Pat Nixon visited on current itineraries? What are the tourist landmarks of Beijing?

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Figure 1. Pat Nixon speaks to a child in China © Byron Schumaker

The Red Detachment of Women In the second act, the ballet The Red Detachment of Women is based on a political ballet combining theatre, dance and music from the period of the Cultural Revolution shaped by Madame Mao. The ballet is a juxtaposition of dancers en pointe with army uniforms and rifles. The reaction of the Nixons is negative. They miss the point of the production. This is exemplified by the text and the dissonant harmonies.

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Watch the scene on YouTube and also watch a scene from a Western ballet such as Swan Lake. How do they compare? Has Adams composed music that is easy to dance to? Why or why not?

Act Three The leaders are in their chamber reminiscing about the tour. It was actually Chairman Mao Tse-tung who was most transformed by the tour. At the beginning, he was perceived as an ageing man who was physically deteriorating, but by the end, a vibrant leader.

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What have the leaders learnt from the experience? What is the mood in the finale scene?

Before the performance, make sure you are familiar with the plot. Reacquaint yourself with the characters and the arias. Has this production followed the conventional costumes, lighting and scenery and viewed prior to attending? Listen to the music and how it blends with the singers. Take note of the audiences’ reaction around you, what emotion they are sharing with the performers, and how the performers respond to the audience. Most importantly, enjoy the performance and all it has to offer. Nixon in China Education Resource – Music © Victorian Opera


After the performance, reflect on what you have experienced. Also discuss this with your peers. What did you like best about the performance? Who was the most memorable performer? What surprised you? If you were a critic for a newspaper, what would you write? Do you think their responses would be different if it was premiered in 2013?

With thanks to Dr Sharon Lierse for the research and preparation of this resource pack. Bernheimer, M. (1987). “Minimalist Mush: Nixon Goes to Chins in an Opera in San Francisco.” Los Angeles Times, May 25, 1. Carpenter, G. (2009) “John Adams (b.19470): Nixon in China. In Nixon in China by John Adams. Compact Disc Liner Notes, 506 Naxos 8.669022-24. Dyer, R. (1987). “Hail Nixon in China Adams Work a Milestone” in American Opera History. Boston Globe, October. 24.7 Johnson, T. (2011). John Adams Nixon in China. Surrey, Ashgate May, T. (2006) Introduction to The John Adams Reader: essential Writings on an American Composer. Pompton Plains, NJ. Amadeus Press. Steinberg, M. (1988). Nixon in China. In Nixon in China: An Opera in Three Acts, by John Adams. Compact Disc Liner Notes, 14-25 Elektra/Nonesuch, 979177-2

For enquiries about our 2013 Education Program contact: Melissa Harris, Education Manager E: melissah@victorianopera.com.au P: 03 9012 6652 Engage with us @ facebook.com/vopera Join in the conversation @ twitter.com/victorianopera #victorianopera See our snapshots @instagram/victorianopera View our opera journey @ youtube.com/victorianoperapage Discover our 2013 Education Season @ victorianopera.com.au/education Read our behind-the-scenes blog @ victorianopera.com.au/blog

Victorian Opera Education Program is generously supported by the Victorian Opera Education Syndicate. Nixon in China Education Resource – Music © Victorian Opera


NIXON IN CHINA ‘A masterpiece’ - Variety Magazine.

In 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon stunned the world when he revealed he would visit China. It was an historic turning point in American-Chinese relations after twenty five years of no contact, trade or diplomatic recognition. The following year, Richard Nixon and his wife Pat began a week-long visit to China, accompanied by over 100 journalists. And with them, the gaze of the world followed. Fifteen years later, composer John Adams wrote Nixon in China inspired by ‘the week that changed the world’. His heroic opera, with its powerful music and text, centres as much on the personal journeys of individual characters as on the grand historical narrative. Recently Variety Magazine called Nixon in China, ‘a masterpiece’. In 2013, Victorian Opera re-imagines this compelling work bringing an all-Australian perspective to this grand American opera. Nixon in China | John Adams 16 – 23 May 2013 Her Majesty’s Theatre These performances of Nixon in China by John Adams with libretto by Alice Goodman are given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agents for Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd of London.

EXTEND YOUR OPERA EXPERIENCE!

Visit our interactive Wall online for historical facts, behind-the-scenes and archival photographs, trailer and more!

Nixon in China Education Resource - History © Victorian Opera


NIXON IN CHINA - MAKING NEWS USA Media covers Nixon in China

The following extracts from America newspapers in 1971 and 1972 frame the media coverage of Nixon’s trip to China.

ACTIVITIES •

Write a short paragraph analysing the opinion expressed in each extract. Look particularly at the headline and author. Next, use the extracts to compile a list of factors contributing to Nixon’s decision to undertake his political visit.

Our President goes vested with a tower of strength – the United States of America. The time will come to measure his accomplishments. Now is the time to go with him. If his endeavours are successful, they will clear away a lot of the underbrush now cluttering up the world’s economy – thereby giving it, and our American economy, a badly needed boost. 1 President Nixon’s decision to unfreeze relationships with China and to visit that country has major significance for American domestic politics. In its initial impact, this diplomatic move is a political triumph for Mr. Nixon. America wants peace and no President ever looked better than when he is seen to be working for peace in a large, statesmanlike way. 2

1

‘Bridge to China’ By ALF M. LANDON, former Governor of Kansas was the Republican nominee for President in 1936. New York Times (1923-Current file); Aug 11, 1971; ProQuest Historical Newspapers, p37. 2 ‘China and ‘72’ By WILLIAM V. SHANNON New York Times (1923-Current file); Jul 20, 1971; ProQuest Historical Newspapersp33. Nixon in China Education Resource - History © Victorian Opera


Figure 1 Nixon shakes hands with Chou En-lai © White House photo by Byron Schumaker

Gus Hall, the general secretary of the Communist party, USA, and its candidate for President, yesterday decried President Nixon’s trip to China and China’s Communist chairman, Mao tse-Tung, as the party opened its 20th national convention here. “It’s not a trip for peace,” Mr. Hall told newsmen, as he summed up his three-hour report to the initial session at the Towers Hotel in Brooklyn. “It’s an attempt to use the policies of Mao to divide the socialist countries, and the socialist countries from the national liberation movements.” He charged that the President’s trip was designed to “cover up the war in Indochina” and that the Nixon Administration had plans to “re-escalate the war after the election. 3 A belief by speculators that the announcement of President Nixon’s proposed visit to Communist China could result in increased trading in farm products sent grain and soybean prices higher yesterday on the Chicago Board of Trade. 4 Even before he reached the Whitehouse, Mr Nixon had made it clear that he had put behind him his once fervent conviction that dealings with Peking would only increase its power and “probably irreparably weaken” its non-Communist neighbours. He concluded that the Chinese Communists had been much more prudent in deed than in word and that their continued isolation would be more dangerous to peace than their gradual involvement in world diplomacy. 5 3

‘Communists Assail Nixon's Trip As Party Convention Opens Here’ By PETER KIHSS New York Times (1923-Current file); Feb 19, 1972; ProQuest Historical Newspaperp13. 4 ‘Grains and Soybeans Advance On News of Nixon's China Trip’ New York Times (1923-Current file); Jul 17, 1971; ProQuest Historical Newspapers, p19 5 ‘Nixon's “Great Leap Forward:” Plan to Visit China May Bolster U.S. in Soviet Talks’ By MAX FRANKEL Nixon in China Education Resource - History © Victorian Opera


President Nixon’s announcement of his planned visit to China is quite a political coup. But this magnanimously volunteered journey in an aura of peace and friendship doesn’t fit the President’s historical image. Perhaps the truth is more nearly that Mr Nixon is being dragged kicking to Peking. 6 If you assume that the cold war is a permanent condition of life – as many intelligent and sincere men and women do – it is easy to condemn Mr. Nixon’s opening to China and Chancellor Will Brandt’s opening to the Soviet Union; but Nixon and Brandt are trying to dismantle the cold war and go on from there to a more dependable world order. And even if they fail, which is quite possible, the historians of the future are likely to praise them for trying. 7

ACTIVITY In Forrest Gump, Forrest is part of the USA ping pong team invited to play in China in the early 1970s. This is based on a real event in April 1971, a year prior to Nixon’s visit. Use the film to explain the concepts of ‘Ping Pong Diplomacy,’ the ‘Cold War’ and ‘isolationism.’

Figure 2. Menu from Dinner Given During President Nixon's Visit to Peking, China, 02/25/1972. National Archives and Records Administration 595300

NIXON IN CHINA - HISTORICAL CONTEXT The Meeting: 21st – 28th February 1972

Nixon’s visit to China and meeting with Mao in 1972 was a key event in improving the relationship between the USA and China. The People’s Republic of China was founded on a strong belief in the ideologies of communism, a system of beliefs which lay in diametric opposition to the western principles of capitalism. When Mao came into power, China became an isolationist country, with very little travel in or out. Like many Americans of the time Nixon was strongly opposed to communism and feared that communist ideology would spread to other regions of the world.

New York Times (1923-Current file); Jul 17, 1971; ProQuest Historical Newspapers, p3. 6 ‘Letter to the Editor: Nixon's Plan to Visit China’ By JOHN L JOSEPH, New Jersey State Chairman, Americans for Democratic Action. New York Times (1923-Current file); Aug 4, 1971; ProQuest Historical Newspapers, p32. 7 ‘Mr. Nixon's Finest Hour’ By JAMES RESTON New York Times (1923-Current file); Mar 1, 1972; ProQuest Historical Newspapers, p32 Nixon in China Education Resource - History © Victorian Opera


The meeting between Nixon and Mao became a symbol of more positive political relationships between East and West. Two years after Nixon’s visit, the US China Peoples Friendship Association (USCPFA) was founded. Its mission was to nurture amicable and lasting relationships between China and the USA by promoting cross-cultural understanding, trade and political dialogue between the two nations.

Figure 4: President Nixon meets with China's Communist Party Leader, Mao Tse-tung. National Archives & Record Administration 194759

Figure 3: About Face: A History of American's Curious Relationship with China, from Nixon to Clinton. JAMES MANN

Nixon: Richard Milhous Nixon was the President of the United States of America from 1969 to 1974. He served in the United States army during WWII and resigned from office due to his involvement with the Watergate scandal in 1974. Mao: Mao Zedong or Mao Tse-Tung was a key founder of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and the leader of the Chinese Communist Party until his death in 1976. His key movements while in power included ‘The Great Leap Forward’, ‘The Long March’ and the ‘Cultural Revolution.’

Nixon in China Education Resource - History © Victorian Opera


NIXON IN CHINA – INTERPRETING THE LIBRETTO MAO: We cried “Long live the Ancestors!” Once, it’s “Long live the Living!” now.

QUESTION •

How did the Chinese attitude to their ancient traditions change under communism?

CHOU: How much of what we did was good? Everything seems to move beyond our remedy.

ACTIVITY •

Create a table showing discussing both a positive aspect of Chinese communism, e.g., improving the status of women and a negative aspect, e.g., the treatment of scholars during the Cultural Revolution.

MAO: You know we’ll meet with your confrere The Democratic candidate If he should win. NIXON: That is a fate We hope you won’t have to endure. I’d like to make another tour As President.

QUESTION •

What were Mao’s motives for agreeing to the meeting with Nixon?

Nixon in China Education Resource - History © Victorian Opera


MAO, SECRETARIES; We no longer need Confucius. Let him rot… no curse… Words decompose to feed their source… Old leaves absorbed into the tree To grow again as branches.

QUESTION •

Nixon’s final sentence echoes Neil Armstrong’s words during the 1969 moon landing. What was the ‘Space Race’ and what was its connection to Communism?

NIXON: Your eloquent remarks, Premier, And millions more hear what we say Through satellite technology than ever heard a public speech before. No one is out of touch. Telecommunication has Broadcast your message into space.

QUESTION •

Nixon uses the analogy of parallel roads to express his hopes for future relationships with China. But the ‘Long March’ has another significance. What

PAT: This little elephant in glass Brings back so many memories. The symbol of our party.

ACTIVITY •

Find a passage from Confucius which contrasts with the Chinese Communist manifesto.

NIXON: “And though we spoke quietly The eyes and ears of history Caught every gesture …” “We came in peace for all mankind”

QUESTION •

Nixon’s visit, including the celebratory banquet with Mao, was televised. What was the purpose in broadcasting this event?

NIXON: But let us, in these next five days Start a long march on new highways, In different lanes, but parallel.

QUESTION & ACTIVITY •

Nixon in China Education Resource - History © Victorian Opera

The Elephant is the insignia for the Republicans. What are the policies and ideologies of the party? How do they differ from communism? Make a table showing the key differences.


Further Reading • • • • •

Dinner menu from Nixon’s visit to China. View here Airforce One arrives in China. View here Photograph of the two giant pandas given to Nixon after his visit to China. View here BBC’s John Sergeant reports on Nixon’s visit to China. Includes extracts from Nixon’s speech. View here Filmed panel from the Council on Foreign Relations in 2007 discussing the significance of Nixon’s 1972 visit to China. View here

REFERENCES

With thanks to Jo Clyne and the History Teachers Association of Victoria for the research and preparation of this resource pack.

CONTACT US

For enquiries about our 2013 Education Program contact: Melissa Harris, Education Manager E: melissah@victorianopera.com.au P: 03 9012 6652 Engage with us @ facebook.com/vopera Join in the conversation @ twitter.com/victorianopera #victorianopera See our snapshots @instagram/victorianopera View our opera journey @ youtube.com/victorianoperapage Discover our 2013 Education Season @ victorianopera.com.au/education Read our behind-the-scenes blog @ victorianopera.com.au/blog

Victorian Opera Education Program is generously supported by the Victorian Opera Education Syndicate.

Nixon in China Education Resource - History © Victorian Opera


CURRICULUM LINKS FOR TEACHERS VCE UNIT 2: TWENTIETH CENTURY HISTORY: 1945 - 2000 •

Outcome 1: Ideas and political power

Key Knowledge

Skills

The principal features of a post-war conflict(s)

Use key concepts relevant to the selected historical conflict; such as ideology, power, racism, communism, capitalism, imperialism, ethnicity and nationalism;

The ways in which the competing groups represented themselves and each other; for example, views on the individual in society, the proper function of the state, tolerance of dissent and minority groups, view of nationalism;

Analyse written and visual evidence;

The propagation and maintenance of ideological views both domestically and beyond their borders; for example, the use of the media, symbols, espionage, competition, physical force and the law;

Synthesise evidence to draw conclusions;

The outcome of the competition between ideologies; for example, military threats, propaganda wars, isolationism.

Nixon in China Education Resource - History Š Victorian Opera


VCE UNIT 3 & 4: REVOLUTIONS: THE CHINESE REVOLUTION •

Outcome 2: Creating a new society

Key Knowledge

Skills

The contribution of individuals and groups to the creation of the new society; for example, in America, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington; in France, Danton, Marat and Robespierre; in China, Mao Zedong; and in Russia, Trotsky and Lenin;

Gather evidence of the difficulties faced by revolutionary individuals, groups, governments or parties in the creation of a new society;

The cause of difficulties or crises faced by the revolutionary groups or governments as a new state was consolidated; for example, the War of Independence in America, the revolutionary war in France, the Civil War and Foreign Intervention in Russia, the economic problems caused by the Great Leap Forward and the disunity caused by the Cultural Revolution in China.

Analyse evidence of the response of the key revolutionary individuals, groups, governments or parties to the difficulties that they encountered as the new state was consolidated;

The response of the key revolutionary individuals, groups, governments or parties to the difficulties that they encountered as the new state was consolidated; for example, Jacobin Terror in France and the Red Guard in Russia; Civil War, and War Communism in Russia; the ‘Speak Bitterness’ Agrarian Reform Law campaign, the Hundred Flowers Campaign and the death of Liu Shaoqi during the Cultural Revolution in China; the Constitutional Convention in May 1789 in America.

Evaluate the degree to which the revolution brought about change from the old regime;

The compromise of revolutionary ideals; for example, Consider a range of historians’ the NEP in Russia and the Red Guard and ‘literature of interpretations. the wounded’ in China; the radicalisation of policies; for example, during the authoritarian rule of the Committee of Public Safety in France, the Civil War in Russia, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution in China; The changes and continuities that the revolution brought about in the structure of government, the organisation of society, and its values, and the distribution of wealth and conditions of everyday life Nixon in China Education Resource - History © Victorian Opera


INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE: HISTORY •

Topic: The Cold War and the Americans 1945 - 1981

Key Knowledge

Skills

United States’ foreign policies from Kennedy to Carter: the characteristics of, and reasons for policies; implications for the region: Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress, Nixon’s covert operations and Chile; Carter’s quest for human rights and the Panama Canal Treaty.

The gathering and sorting of historical evidence • Developing research skills of locating and selecting relevant and appropriate evidence, from books, articles. • Recognising the distinctions between different kinds of evidence: primary and secondary, textual, audio-visual, oral, graphic, and tabular. The evaluation of historical evidence • Recognising the subjective nature of the historical evidence. • Examining sources for information and interpretation, and for cases where they corroborate, complement or contradict each other. • Recognising the value and use of sources and reasons to use them cautiously. • Recognising and appreciating why and how opinions and interpretations differ.

Recognising and understanding historical processes and their relationship to human experience, activity and motivation • Recognising, explaining and analysing causes and consequences. • Recognising, explaining and analysing continuity, change and development over time. • Recognising, explaining and analysing similarity and difference. • Relating human activities, experiences and motivations in history to a range of cultural and social dimensions.

Nixon in China Education Resource - History © Victorian Opera


INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE: HISTORY (cont.) •

Topic: The Cold War and the Americans 1945 - 1981

Key Knowledge

Skills

United States’ foreign policies from Kennedy to Carter: the characteristics of, and reasons for policies; implications for the region: Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress, Nixon’s covert operations and Chile; Carter’s quest for human rights and the Panama Canal Treaty.

Organizing and expressing historical ideas and information • Posing questions and hypotheses and answering or testing them. • Handling and deploying information and ideas. • Selecting and deploying information and ideas. • Constructing narratives, with ideas, analysis and relevant substantiation. • Summarising and arriving at conclusions.

Nixon in China Education Resource - History © Victorian Opera

Victorian Opera Education Resources - Nixon in China  

Learn more about the music and history behind Nixon in China. Suitable for VCE and International Baccalaureate Streams

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