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I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky

I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky is a 1995 musical/opera music composed by John Adams, with a libretto by June Jordan. The work was first performed May 1995 in Berkeley, California with staging by Peter Sellars. Grant Gershon was the conductor.

The story takes place in the aftermath of the 1994 earthquake in Los Angeles, and covers the reactions of all characters to the event. The main characters are seven young Americans all living in Los Angeles but from different social and ethnic backgrounds.

Adams composition is comprised of a number of popular-style songs which are performed by pop singers and accompanied by a combination of synthesized tunes and a rock band. Still, the work strongly bears Adams' signature minimalistic style.

The opera's title is based on a comment of one of the earthquake's victims.


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