Press Quotes – Death and the Powers

“Machover is a remarkable composer.  [His] technological inventions in giving to sounds, through electronics, new sonorities, new eloquence, have been widely and amply acclaimed.  But I’d like to stress what a good opera composer he is, bringing the ‘traditional’, necessary skills to a far from traditional work. Machover has a command of expressive vocal gesture.  He sets words sensitively, with a feeling for the natural weight, stress and length of syllables rare today.  Voices and instrumental/electronic sound are well balanced.  The final duet is a moving modern addition to the great line of father-daughter exchanges: Boccanegra-Amelia, Rigoletto-Gilda, even Wotan- Brünnhilde.  This was a grand, rich, deeply serious new opera, presented by a team with manifold coherent accomplishments.”   — Opera Magazine 1/11

“Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers could help the principality [of Monaco] regain its reputation for artistic innovation. Although a figure of post-Boulez musical abstraction, composer Machover’s music never alienates the ear. His consonant vocal lines are shown to best advantage in Miranda’s heart-rending lament. I have only praise for the production of Diane Paulus.” — Musical America 10/10

“Machover, Paulus and their team from the MIT Media Lab used all the technical resources at their disposal to produce an evening of captivating electronic invention.  Alex McDowell’s design incorporates a group of agile robots (“operabots”), as well as mobile panels and a musical chandelier that represent through sensitive software the essence of the Powers personality.  Any worry that the opera might be taking itself too seriously is answered by Pinsky’s witty and at times lighthearted libretto.  The singers and director Paulus found convincing humanity in this world of gadgetry, and they fully deserved the enthusiastic welcome of the public at the first night. — Opera News 12/10

“An indisputable success. James Maddalena incarnates Simon Powers with a radiant authority, both in his singing and acting. This futuristic musical is to be hailed.  — Opéra (Paris) 12/10

“The technological triumph of linking voice to stage, and the acoustical instruments of the excellent orchestra to the synthesized instruments is impressive… Mr. Machover and his students invented magical machines.  Most happily, [Mr. Machover and Ms. Paulus] will introduce new generations of Mirandas to the Brave New Worlds of art and technological possibility.“
International Herald Tribune 9/10

Blending acoustic and electronic sounds, symphony orchestra and interactive computers, classical arias and ultra modern rhythms, Machover — supported by the choreographer Karole Armitage — makes images dance and sing; the music is emotional and brilliant…. — Le Monde 9/10

“Cutting-edge work… Machover elegantly blends his artistic and technological expertise to create an inventive score filled with arching melodic lines, wry humor, richly nuanced textures, and propulsive rhythms.  Death and the Powers additionally introduces specially designed technology – including animated walls, a chorus of robots, and a musical chandelier – assuredly launching a new era in opera production and expression.” — Networked Music Review 10/10

“You may not have heard of Tod Machover, but he has probably changed your life, and will probably do it again. You can’t say that of many experimental classical composers, but then not many of them have just premiered an opera whose lavish set is actually a complicated and unique musical instrument that can be stroked, tickled and muffled into expressing the musicality of an offstage singer in wholly novel ways…Death and the Powers is a perfect emblem for Machover’s overall project. The side effects are hard to predict, but you might well see them at every rock gig or festival you go to five years from now, or every time you turn on your smartphone.” — Sunday Times (London) 11/10

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