Risley, Orth and Harvey in Death and the Powers in Dallas
A pleasant surprise arrived in the mail this week: Opera News in its May 2014 issue gives the Dallas Opera’s production of Tod Machover’s “Death and the Powers” a glowing review. Writer Andrew Sigler praises the opera as “a big work with big ideas,” and notes that “Machover brings to bear his considerable technical prowess in the world of technology, as well as his deep sense of musical history,” to explore the premise of human consciousness merging with computer hardware.
Sigler writes that Robert Orth, in the role of Simon Powers, “embodied the character perfectly,” and praises Patricia Risley’s for giving a “smoky and sensual” performance and “real depth” to Evvy, Simon’s third and favorite wife. In the thrilling final scene, “Machover shows his operatic chops and Joélle Harvey’s Miranda all but steals the show.”
Read the full review here.
Opera magazine reviewed the interactive simulcast of “Death and the Powers” and pronounced that this experiment in using smartphone technology to enhance the cinematic viewing experience has “huge potential for the technologically engaged operatic culture that Machover continues to pioneer.”
Read the full review here.
Bowers & Wilkins has posted a blog article that details the role of their technology in “Vocal Vibrations”. The immersive installation featuring music by composer Tod Machover and design by Neri Oxman opened on March 27th at Le Laboratoire in Paris. The project examines the relationship between human physiology and the resonant vibrations of voice.
Vocal Vibrations uses complex technology to layer audio, physical and other stimuli on top of visitors’ voices; audio, lighting and tactile cues will be triggered by sensors in specially designed, hand-held orbs, while measurements are taken for such responses as heart rate, breathing and galvanic skin response. Key to the experience are the latest 683 and 686 loudspeakers, PV1D subwoofers and P7 headphones all supplied by renowned British speaker brand Bowers & Wilkins.
Machover said of the impact of these: “Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers and headphones sound absolutely amazing in these spaces and really ‘make’ the experience.”
Vocal Vibrations in association with Bowers & Wilkins runs 28 March-29 September (private view 27 March), Le Laboratoire, 4 rue du Bouloi, 75001, Paris.
Photos just in from the opening of VOCAL VIBRATIONS a few days ago in Paris. Here are a few to give a taste; will post more soon. The installation is on at Le Laboratoire through September, so I hope you’ll have a chance to experience it between now and then.http://www.lelaboratoire.org/en/archives-18.php (9 photos)
This video from the talk Tod Machover gave at INK (Kochi, India) last fall was just posted online. Overview of a variety of recent projects including “city symphonies”, and a discussion of doing something similar in India. Check out their post here.
From Tod Machover’s Facebook page (posted March 27, 2014)
“Here’s a picture from yesterday of my terrific team from the MIT Media Lab that has been working on the VOCAL VIBRATIONS project, showing the specially designed “oRb” that lets you hold the vibrations from your voice in your hands. Yes, it’s an unusual experience! Press conference this morning, private opening this evening, and public opening tomorrow, all at Le Laboratoire, Paris.”
The “oRb” from our VOCAL VIBRATIONS project that lets you hold the vibrations from your voice right in your hands.
The Opera of the Future team and Neri Oxman are fine tuning the VOCAL VIBRATIONS experience at Le Laboratoire in Paris for tomorrow’s private opening, with public opening on Friday…..and it is starting to look and sound great. It will be there through September 2014, so we hope you have a chance to hear/see it. Information here.
Just wanted to share a few images of the team working on Vocal Vibrations, an original, interactive installation that opens this Thursday, March 27th, at Le Laboratoire in Paris. Music by Tod Machover, design by Neri Oxman.
Arrived in Paris yesterday afternoon, found our lovely ‘onefinestay’ apartment on the Rue des Archives, and went over to check out installation at Le Laboratoire. Things are going well, loudspeakers and interactive systems are in place, and we’ll spend the day today tuning all the sounds; exciting
Detail from Neri Oxman’s amazing GEMINI listening pavillion designed especially for VOCAL VIBRATIONS. It is part molded wood, part 3D-printed with 47 different polymers. Very special.
Charles Holbrow from the MIT Media Lab checking out the multichannel surround system for VOCAL VIBRATIONS. It is sounding pretty great.
The fabulous Boston-based vocal ensemble Blue Heron, conducted by Scott Metcalfe, was at MIT yesterday recording more material for our VOCAL VIBRATIONS project that opens in Paris on March 27th. Stay tuned for more information, and get a glimpse at http://www.lelaboratoire.org/en/agenda-coming-soon.php.
Updated March 8, 2014
Tod Machover’s newest collaborative symphony received its world premiere last Saturday evening at the finale of the 2014 Perth International Festival. Tod writes on his Facebook wall: “Symphony for Perth premiere went just great: large crowd with lots of young people, brilliant conducting by Carolyn Kuan, wonderful performance by WASO, lovely visuals by Peter Torpey of the MIT Media Lab, and a super-warm reception from the audience.”
CutCommon, a blog for “the new generation of classical music,” offers this insightful review. We love this quote: “Machover bring an outsider’s perspective to Perth, and as such is able to highlight the elements of our soundscape that excite him as a visitor. Machover’s vision is crafted with enough care and consideration that it rises above the superficial. Sounds are chosen not just for their meaning but also for their sonic and musical properties. In one glorious section of the first movement, a recording of speech delivered in the distinctive ‘softened ocker’ accent of West Australia blends beautifully with Machover’s orchestral composition, so that only the sharper, ‘bluer’ words gravitate to the audience’s attention. It is this wonderful division of sonic importance that defines the symphony.”
Here’s another interesting review: Western Australian: Composer distils unanswered questions: “It succeeds because Machover is not only an imaginative composer; he is also an empathic collaborator and dreamer who is able to perceive that the process, in the growth of a city as much as the growth of an individual, is as important as the end result.”