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"Doctor Atomic" Weekend

"Doctor Atomic" Weekend

Heather McClenahan speaking to "Doctor Atomic" group in Los Alamos.
Saturday, July 14, 2018, was the Santa Fe Opera's opening performance of “Doctor Atomic," composed by John Adams with a libretto by Peter Sellars. The performances have received very positive reviews, including in Physics Today, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.

This is the first time the opera has been performed in New Mexico, where the opera takes place. Sellars met with various groups ahead of the production, including members of the Pueblos and the Tularosa Basin Downwinders. Members of the New Mexico’s Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, and Tesuque Pueblos perform a sacred Corn Dance for healing before each performance. Some of the Downwinders are part of the cast, entering the stage during the discussion between General Leslie Groves and J. Robert Oppenheimer over whether to evacuate the communities near the Trinity Site.

AHF President Cindy Kelly attended the opera with a small group (pictured, left, listening to Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClenahan). AHF arranged events for the group to complement the performance, including tours of the Los Alamos History Museum and the “Atomic Histories” exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum. As Kelly explains, "The Santa Fe Opera's production was unique. The Pueblos' dancers and the Downwinders underscored the immediacy of the events for today. The stage was open to the landscape of New Mexico and magically linked the audience with the action in space and time. An unforgettable experience."