In the NY Times, Anne Midgette comments on the song Easter Eve 1945 (from the future Adams opera Dr. Atomic), in a concert by the NY Philharmonic:
To say that the orchestra sometimes supported the words, gently rocking beneath the imagery, and sometimes illustrated them — the line "Lit by their energies, secretly, all things shine" unleashed a row of shining strokes of the strings followed by a shining rising figure in the brass — is a reductive description of a partnership between word and note, laid out on a truly grand scale and furthered by the luminosity of the vocalist Audra McDonald. If this was meant to be a teaser, it worked.
In his program notes (PDF), Adams describes the women of the scientists suffering while their husbands labored to build the atomic bomb and how the text he used from the poet Muriel Rukeyser goes from despair to hope.
Here is a brief previous comment by Adams re: Dr. Atomic.
Update: A concert review by Breadly Bambarger in the New Jersey Star-Ledger:
With a war-weary text by poet Muriel Rukeyser, the piece serves as a pensive, 12-minute soliloquy for Kitty Oppenheimer, long-suffering wife of the Manhattan Project leader. Composed for McDonald, but in a high-flying modern style far from her terra firma, the vocal role was a challenge she met handsomely.