‘Antony and Cleopatra’, the new opera by John Adams co-produced by the Liceu

Imagen de John Adams, compositor de la ópera Antony and Cleopatra

The Gran Teatre del Liceu (2023/24) participates in the co-production of the play Antony and Cleopatra together with San Francisco Opera (2022), Teatro Massimo Palermo and Metropolitan Opera New York. The work, commissioned for the 100th season of San Francisco Opera, is a composition by John Adams and the stage direction bears the stamp of Elkhanah Pulitzer.


The San Francisco Opera has today announced the world premiere of the new opera commissioned from John Adams, Antony and Cleopatra, on September 10, 2022. The Gran Teatre del Liceu is participating in this co-production that will arrive in Barcelona during the 2023/24 season and that will be the European premiere of the work. The production also has the participation of the Metropolitan Opera New York and the Teatro Massimo Palermo.


John Adams is one of the artists who had already shown his commitment to the artistic project of Víctor Garcia de Gomar, who aspires to make the Liceu a space for personal and social transformation, a true cultural center for sensitive experiences, with opera at its core. main backbone but where all the arts are also included.


The Liceu goes one step further to unite the most prominent figures on the international music scene, thus consolidating the Gran Teatre within the circuit of the best opera productions and co-productions of the moment with a contemporary look and new formats.


John Adams is one of the world’s most renowned composers and conductors. His works, whether operatic or symphonic, hold a prominent role among contemporary classical compositions for their depth of expression, brilliance of sound, and the deeply humanistic nature of their themes.


His repertoire includes Harmonielehre, Shaker Loops, Chamber Symphony, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, among others. His stage works with director Peter Sellars include Nixon in China (1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (1991), El Niño (2000), Doctor Atomic (2005), A Flowering Tree (2006), Girls of the Golden West (2017).



In 2019, Adams received the prestigious Erasmus Prize from the Netherlands, “for his contribution to European culture.” In the same year, he received the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award for Music and Opera in recognition of the communicative power of his works, especially for current treatment. Other awards include the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for the composition of On the Transmigration of Souls, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to commemorate the first anniversary of 9/11. One of its recent milestones is the release of the recording from the world premiere of Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? (Deutsche Grammophon, 2020) with Yuja Wang, LA Phil and director Gustavo Dudamel.


The production Antony and Cleopatra has the stage direction of the renowned Elkhanah Pulitzer. With a career closely tied to the SFO over the last twenty years, Elkhanah Pulitzer has been assisting conducting between 2008 and 2013. Her recent projects include the premiere of David Lang’s Prisoner of State at the New York Philharmonic, the tour of the Esperanza Spalding’s latest album 12 Little Spells or Quartett, by Luca Francesconi at the West Edge Opera.



Pulitzer directed projects with the LA Phil, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Canadian Opera Company, among others. E. Pulitzer is known for her daring and at the same time detailed proposals, with a special interest in uniting the musical and scenic languages.


For this reason, since 2010 Pulitzer has been the artistic director of the SF Opera Lab, the most innovative production branch of the SF Opera in search of new scenic and musical proposals and with a more experimental programming and in chamber format distributed by spaces not conventional.


Antony and Cleopatra plot


John Adams creates a libretto inspired by the most famous love triangle of ancient Egypt and draws mainly from the work of William Shakespeare with passages from Plutarch and Virgil among other classic texts. The stage director Elkhanah Pulitzer and Lucia Scheckner also participate in the text. Once again, the passion that Cleopatra arouses in the two Roman generals will transfer the amorous tensions of the palace rooms to the battlefield. Julius Caesar’s uneasiness to distance Marco Antonio from the Egyptian queen will end up exploding in the inevitable tragic ending.