Backstage at San Francisco Opera > June 2012 > When John Adams Composed Nixon in China
When John Adams Composed Nixon in China
Previously, we took you back to the year 1972. Now, we journey to 1987 (and no, we aren’t talking about the band who sang about “a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world”). The year 1987 had some big album releases, a supernova was observed and the first airing of The Simpsons as a cartoon short. It was also the year that John Adams and Alice Goodman collaborated on a world-premiere opera for Houston Grand Opera called, Nixon in China.

January 3
Aretha Franklin becomes the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

January 13
New York mafiosi Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno and Carmine Peruccia are sentenced to 100 years in prison for racketeering.

January 22
Pennsylvania Treasurer Budd Dwyer shoots and kills himself with a revolver during a televised press conference after being found guilty on charges of bribery, fraud, conspiracy, and racketeering.

January 31
The last Ohrbach's department store closes in New York City after 64 years of operation.

February 23
Supernova 1987A—the first "naked-eye" supernova since 1604—is observed. [Below: Supernova 1987A; Wikimedia Commons.]

March 4
President Ronald Reagan addresses the American people on the Iran-Contra Affair, acknowledging that his overtures to Iran had “deteriorated” into an arms-for-hostages deal.

March 9
U2 releases their studio album The Joshua Tree.

May 22
First ever Rugby World Cup kicks off with New Zealand playing Italy at Eden Park, Auckland.

March 24
Michael Eisner, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and French Prime Minister and future President of France, Jacques Chirac, sign the agreement to construct the 4,800 acres Euro Disney Resort (now called Disneyland Paris).

April 13
Portugal and the People's Republic of China sign an agreement in which Macau would be returned to China in 1999.

April 19
The Simpsons cartoon first appears as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show.

June 11
The Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, led by Margaret Thatcher, is re-elected for a third term.

June 30
Canada introduces a one dollar coin, nicknamed the "Loonie."

July 4
A court in Lyon sentences former Gestapo boss Klaus Barbie to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity.

July 21
Guns N’ Roses releases the album Appetite for Destruction.

July 22
Palestinian cartoonist Naji Salim al-Ali is shot in London; he dies August 28.

August 19
–ABC News' chief Middle East correspondent Charles Glass escapes his Hezbollah kidnappers in Beirut,  Lebanon, after 62 days in captivity.
–England’s Order of the Garter is opened to women. [Left: Representation of the garter; photo by Nicholas Jackson/Wikimedia Commons.]

August 31
Michael Jackson releases his hit album Bad.

September 7–September 21
The world's first conference on artificial life is held at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

September 17
At a small rally in Harlem, televangelist Pat Robertson announces his candidacy for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination.

October 11
The first National Coming Out Day is held in celebration of the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

October 14–October 16
The United States is caught up in a drama that unfolds on television as a young child, Jessica McClure, falls down a well in Midland, Texas, and is later rescued.

October 19
Black Monday: stock market levels fall sharply on Wall Street and around the world.

October 22
Nixon in China by John Adams, with a libretto by Alice Goodman, premieres at Houston Grand Opera under the leadership of David Gockley. [Below: Nixon in China opera; photo by Tim Matheson.]

November 18
Iran-Contra affair: U.S. Senate and House panels release reports charging President Ronald Reagan with “ultimate responsibility” for the affair.

November 22
Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion incident: unknown perpetrators hijack the signal of WGN-TV for about 20 seconds, and WTTW for about 90 seconds, where a strange video of a man in a mask from the 1987 science fiction television series character, Max Headroom, is displayed.

November 25
Category 5 typhoon, Nina, smashes the Philippines with 165 miles per hour (266 km/h) winds and a devastating storm surge, causing destruction and 1,036 deaths.

December 2
Hustler Magazine vs. Jerry Falwell is argued before the US Supreme Court.

December 9
Microsoft releases Windows 2.0.


For even more information on the year 1987, please visit Wikipedia.

All above information acquired from Wikipedia through the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

Posted: 6/4/2012 11:52:10 AM by San Francisco Opera
Filed under: 2011-12Season, NixonInChina


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