Baritone James Maddalena stars as Nixon, a role he created to widespread acclaim. Composer John Adams conducts his most famous opera. Acclaimed director and longtime Adams collaborator Peter Sellars makes his Met debut with this groundbreaking 1987 work (which was originally broadcast on GREAT PERFORMANCES from the Houston Grand Opera in 1988), an exploration of the human truths beyond the headlines surrounding President Nixon’s 1972 encounter with Communist China. “All of my operas have dealt on deep psychological levels with our American mythology,” says Adams. “The meeting of Nixon and Mao is a mythological moment in world history, particularly American history.” GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET: Nixon in China airs Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 2 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 11 and 1011).