ALICE GOODMAN was born in Minnesota in 1958 into a Reform Jewish family, and educated at Harvard and at Cambridge University. In 1985 she was approached by the director Peter Sellars to write the libretto to John Adams’ opera Nixon in China, a work which is now recognized as one of the major operas of the 20th century.
Another collaboration with Peter Sellars, John Adams, and choreographer Mark Morris produced The Death of Klinghoffer, which premiered in Brussels in 1991. Klinghoffer drew, and continues to draw, acclaim – and vocal condemnation from some quarters – for its sympathetic and humane portrayal of both the victims and perpetrators of political violence. In 1991 Goodman also translated The Magic Flute for Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Her most recent work, a cantata, is a collaboration with the composer Tarik O’Regan: A Letter of Rights, for the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.
In 1990 Alice Goodman was received into the Church of England. She studied theology and was ordained in 2001, serving curacies in the Diocese of Worcester. From 2006 until 2011 she was Chaplain of Trinity College, Cambridge. In September 2011 she became Rector of Fulbourn and the Wilbrahams.
Alice Goodman’s librettos will be published as a NYRB Classic in May 2017, under the title History Is Our Mother: Three Libretti.