Adams: Doctor Atomic

John Adams, Conductor

John Adams conducts Gerald Finley and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the first audio recording of his 2005 opera, Doctor Atomic.

Gerald Finley (Robert Oppenheimer), Julia Bullock (Kitty Oppenheimer), Brindley Sherratt (Edward Teller), Samuel Sakker (James Nolan), Andrew Staples (Robert Wilson), Jennifer Johnston (Pasqualita)

BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra

June 2018


Doctor Atomic: Overture

“The end of June 1945”

“First of all, let me say”

“We surround the plutonium core”

“We are bedeviled by faulty detonators”

“Many of us are inclined to say”


“The nation’s fate…”


“This is a petition”


“What if it’s a dud?”


“The test must go on as scheduled”


“No, before the bomb is used”


“Am I in your light?”


“Long let me inhale, deeply…”


“The motive of it all was loneliness”


Electrical storm


“What the hell is wrong with the weather?”


“Five hundred U.S. Superfortresses are raining bombs”


“I’ll sign the report, sir”


“With respect, sir, anyone with two good eyes”


“I have been preoccupied with many matters”


“Get them out of here. From now on, I’m making my own weather predictions”


“General, you are bearing up with remarkable fortitude”


“Batter my heart”


“Easter Eve, 1945”


Interlude – Rain over the Sangre de Cristo

“In the north the cloud-flower blossoms”


“It’s midnight, Jack”


“I’ve dreamed the same dream”


“To the farthest west, the sea and the striped country”


“A delay in the Potsdam Ultimatum”


“Fermi is taking wagers”


“I’ve spent a great deal of time indulging in controlled fantasies”


“Edward, the test will be delayed an hour”




“This program has been plagued from the start”


“To keep the weakness secret”

“I just finished reading The Magic Mountain”

“The winter dawned, but the dead did not come back”


“And love, which contains all human spirit”


“The only saviors are the ham sandwiches”


Chorus – “At the sight of this”


“Lieutenant Bush, keep a weather eye on Oppenheimer”


“To what benevolent demon do I owe the joy of being thus surrounded”


“That’s their signal!”


“The sky is clear to the east”


“In the midnight, in the flame-brilliant midnight”


“Zero minus two minutes”



Listen on Spotify