Opening Week Round-up

Finally, a moment to catch our breath while the entire stage set of Death and the Powers is being trucked to Chicago. Fingers and toes crossed that nothing breaks along the way, as there’s barely enough time to get everything set up and running smoothly for the Midwest premiere on Saturday, April 2!

We compiled press coverage from the Boston run last week, including reviews in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Boston Herald and Boston Globe. Here are two more worth noting:

Boston Phoenix – Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, plus Norrington’s C.P.E. Bach and the Cantata Singers’ B-minor Mass
Music critic Lloyd Schwartz praises Robert Pinsky’s “moving and verbally playful libretto” and says that the text “has a poet’s mercurial wit and constantly shifting tone.”  “Machover’s music, which combines a live orchestra (the splendid Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose) and “live” electronic manipulation by a team from Machover’s Media Lab, is also powerful,” with “sequences of vigorous rhythmic assertiveness to passages of hypnotic lyricism…Powers’s entrance into the System — almost the inverse of the “death” of HAL the computer in Kubrick’s 2001 — is unforgettable. Even stronger, both musically and dramatically, is the gripping final confrontation between Powers (Maddalena back in his real body after a long stretch of off-stage singing) and Miranda (soprano Sara Heaton), which ends with piercing irresolution when she thinks she prefers death to leaving her body behind.”

Cambridge Community Television – Death and the Powers: the Robots’ Opera
“The music is exciting to hear for the first time and promises further rewards on deeper acquaintance. Lovers of traditional opera will appreciate lyrical passages such as Miranda’s meditation on her feelings about her father, or the splendid trio by aid-seeking representatives of The United Way (counter-tenor Douglas Dodson), The United Nations (baritone David Kravitz), and The Administration (Tom McNichols, bass). Themes and motifs are laid out and reprised in ways immediately recognizable to people whose musical education started with Bach or Mozart.  Devotees of the modern and post-modern will enjoy the futuristic aspects. The bionic Nicholas explains—in part through dance—how to get along without a body. Evvy sings a passionate love duet with a magical chandelier, whose form Simon has taken on in the System. There are pop and everyday elements, too…There are even jokes, as when Simon makes a flippant pun on a poem by William Butler Yeats…”

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