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Doctor Atomic is an opera in two acts composed by John Adams on a libretto by Peter Sellars. It pictures the United States at the end of World War II and the beginning of the atomic era.
In June 1945, Germany has surrendered and the work on the atomic bomb approaches its culminating point. J. Robert Oppenheimer, inventor of the bomb is concerned about testing the bomb on Japanese cities and opposes President Wilson's decision. The second act is an apocalyptical rendition of the testing during an electric storm.
Peter Sellars chronicles the fall of modern world in a political and historical opera. His libretto and stage direction introduce a reflection on modern warfare and a criticism of the US foreign policy since 1945. In this interview, he is surrounded by television images of battles: "Music and poetry evoke a set of free associations; nonetheless I want for television audience those associations to also be sparked by the real fires, by the actual intensity of the fighting."