Monaco: day 1

The Fairmont Hairpin

It’s hard to believe so many things about being in Monaco. The fact that we’re staying above the Fairmont Hairpin, the most famous loop of the Monaco Grand Prix, or that we get to live and work every day right along the glistening Mediterranean Sea, or that we’re even here in Monaco at all – I’m pinching myself between every course of our elaborate three-course dinners (which, incidentally, helps to keep one from falling prey to jet lag!). Most of all, the fact that the opera is finally coming to fruition and that the world premiere is next week is completely surreal. Ariane Martins, one of the producers of the opera, said it best when she wrote,

“In my first days working with Tod back in 1999 – at the time helping with the final production stages for turning his Brain Opera project into a permanent installation at the Haus der Musik in Vienna and gearing up to start producing Toy Symphony – I heard for the first time about the seed idea for what became the Death and the Powers opera. It’s truly amazing to think that the company is now finally getting ready to head to Monaco for the premiere!”

Over ten years have passed since Death and the Powers was conceived, and in the next two weeks it all comes together. Now THAT is hard to believe.

I traveled to Monaco almost all of yesterday with the robot team, which consists mostly of undergrad researchers (or UROPs) from MIT. After we arrived at the Monte Carlo Opera House, the UROPs headed right to the workshop, where they unpacked the robots and assessed the extent of the work to be done:

The robot team, led by Bob Hsiung, discuss what needs to get done over the next few days.
UROP Karen Hart hard at work, fixing a robot.
(from l-r) Mike Miller, Akito Van Troyer, Kelsey Brigance

Acclimating to working in Europe has been challenging for a number of reasons, including the language barrier with the stage crew, the limitations on internet accessibility, and the time difference between here and home (since we’re being honest here, there have been a fair number of naps taken in between long work sessions). Still, the robot team – as well as the rest of the Opera of the Future and Futurum – are working tirelessly to pull off an incredible show next weekend, and even after only two days, the effort is paying off.

Tomorrow I’ll be filming our first exclusive interview with Tod Machover, the composer, and will also hopefully (should the internet connection be more lenient) be posting an interview with Frank Kelley, David Kravitz, and Tom McNichols, who play the United Way, the United Nations, and the Administration, respectively. Until then, good night from Monaco!

2 Replies to “Monaco: day 1”

  1. Love the race photo – I used to work in F1 and in fact designed the livery for the last two cars in this picture (which is from 2001). If any of you have any time off, I can recommend side trips to the cliffside village of Eze and the fishing town of Villefranche… Good luck to all next week!

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