Doctor Atomic
Composer: John Adams
Librettist: Peter Sellars
Other Artistic Personnel: Donald Runnicles (Conductor)
Peter Sellars (Director)
Original Cast: Gerald Finley (J. Robert Oppenheimer)
Kristine Jepson (Kitty Oppenheimer)
Richard Paul Fink (Edward Teller)
Thomas Glenn (Robert Wilson)
James Maddalena (Jack Hubbard)
Eric Owens (General Leslie Groves)
Jay Hunter Morris (Captain James Nolan)
Beth Clayton (Pasqualita)
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: October 01, 2005
Producing Company: San Francisco Opera
Description: Los Alamos, New Mexico, July 1945: Germany has surrendered but Japan fights on, potentially costing hundreds of thousands more lives.

In the New Mexico desert a group of young physicists, led by the brilliant, complex J. Robert Oppenheimer, have labored furiously in race against Hitler to develop the world's first atomic bomb. In the unbearable tension of the final hours before the first test explosion, they confront huge moral questions, and grapple with the magnitude of the "gadget's" consequences.
Character List (Major): Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer (bar)
Kitty Oppenheimer (s)
Edward Teller (b)
Robert Wilson (t)
Pasqualita (con)
General Leslie Groves (bar)
Character List (Minor): Jack Hubbard (bar)
Captain James Nolan (t)
Reviews: New York Times, Anthony Tommasini, 12/17/07; New York Times, Anthony Tommasini, 10/14/08; New York Times, Dennis Overbye, 10/18/05; New York Magazine, Justin Davidson, 10/21/08; Scientific American, Michael Shermer, 11/11/08; The Independent, Edward Seckerson, 2/26/09; Newsweek, Vibhuti Patel, 10/15/08; Stanford OperaGlass, Judy Richter;
Comments: With a libretto complied by Peter Sellars from numerous sources, including government documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, Doctor Atomic uses John Adams' soaring vocal lines, richly colored orchestra and pulsing rhythms to re-enact a deciding moment in human history. Central characters include J. Robert Oppenheimer and his wife Kitty, as well as Edward Teller and General Leslie Groves.
Video Clip:
Length: 02:53
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: SSSAATTBB (scientists, technicians, wives and military personnel working on the atomic bomb)
Orchestration: 3 fl(2 picc), 3 ob(Eng Hrn), 3 cl(Ebcl, bcl, dbcl), 3 bsn(dbn) - 4 hrn, 3 tpt(pic tpt), 3 tbn, 1 tba - hp, cel, timp, 4 perc(thunder sheet, glsp, tgl, tuned gong, crot, susp.cym, med tam-t, BD, 2 roto toms, chinese cym, SD, tuned gongs/chimes, lg tam-t, sus chinese cym, crot, BD, tgl/tuned gongs, lo gong, susp cym, thunder sheet, med tam-tlg tam-t, hi susp cym, xyl, crot, chimes, low susp cym, antique cym, hi tgl, met tam-t, sm tam-t, med gong, alarm bell, BD/lg chinese cym, susp cym, tam-t, tuned gongs, BD, 2 high tgls, bass chime) - computer controlled sound system - str
Contact: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Address: 229 W 28th Street, Floor 11
New York, NY 10001
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-358-5300
Publisher Web Site:
The Opera Fund Awardee Information
Award Category: 2004 Repertoire Development
Project Name: Dr. Atomic
Awardee: San Francisco Opera
Director: Peter Sellars
Audio Visual Materials
San Francisco Opera

Gerald Finley and San Francisco Opera Orchestra


From left to right: Gerald Finley (J. Robert Oppenheimer)
Courtesy of: San Francisco Opera; Photo credit: Terrence McCarthy

From left to right: Gerald Finley (J. Robert Oppenheimer), Richard Paul Fink (Edward Teller), Beth Clayton (Pasqualita)
Courtesy of: San Francisco Opera; Photo credit: Terrence McCarthy

From left to right: San Francisco Opera Chorus
Courtesy of: San Francisco Opera; Photo credit: Terrence McCarthy

From left to right: Richard Paul Fink (Edward Teller), Gerald Finley (J. Robert Oppenheimer)
Courtesy of: San Francisco Opera; Photo credit: Terrence McCarthy

From left to right: James Maddalena (Jack Hubbard), Eric Owens (General Leslie Groves)
Courtesy of: San Francisco Opera; Photo credit: Terrence McCarthy
Schedule of Performances Listings
Doctor Atomic (Adams)
Monday, October 13, 2008 - Metropolitan Opera
Doctor Atomic (Adams)
Friday, December 14, 2007 - Lyric Opera of Chicago
Doctor Atomic (Adams)
Saturday, October 1, 2005 - San Francisco Opera
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