Chicago reviews of Death and the Powers

Miranda (Sarah Heaton) and Nick (Hal Cazalet), Chicago Opera Theater, posted by Brian Dickie

The Chicago Opera Theater production of Death and the Powers opened on Saturday night (April 2, 2011) to a full house and warm applause. The reviews have been largely positive, we’re relieved to say! Do check out COT General Director’s Brian Dickie’s blog for great photos and back-stage stories. There will be three more performances, on April 6 and 8 at 7:30PM, and on April 10 at 3:00PM. Tickets are still available!

Chicago Tribune – COT’s dazzling ‘robot opera’ poses provocative new questions
“”Death and the Powers” is a must-see for anybody who cares about the exciting new techno-driven directions music theater is taking in the early 21st century.”

The Contrapuntist – Review: DEATH AND THE POWERS, THE ROBOTS’ OPERA by Tod Machover at Chicago Opera Theater
“What do you get when you combine incredible singers, dynamic music, and a chorus of robotic Operabots? A jaw-dropping performance of Tod Machover‘s Death and the Powers, The Robots’ Opera at the Chicago Opera Theater (COT)…Scene 8 features the most powerful moment of the opera…Heaton’s emotional performance effectively expresses rage, confusion, and loneliness. The scene culminates as she sings a soaring high note which raised every hair on my body.”

New City Stage – Review: Death and the Powers/Chicago Opera Theater
“…new operas where every possible element pushes the envelope and which nonetheless manage to become much more than the sum of its parts are ultra rare. Tod Machover’s “Death and the Powers,” which is receiving its Midwest premiere by Chicago Opera Theater after premiering in Monaco last September and after having its American premiere last month in Boston, is such a work.”

Chicago Classical Review – COT’s “Death and the Powers” proves a dazzling, thought-provoking multimedia experience
“Machover’s electronic score is consistently inspired, with cascading piano and crystalline high percussion well suited to the mechanistic sci-fi themes. ..the music is tonal and approachable with a surprisingly traditional lyricism, as with Evvy’s wordless vocalise and Miranda’s dramatic final scene.”

Chicago Critic – Death and the Powers
“Death and the Powers is a philosophically rich piece, which multiple viewings of would prove rewarding.”

Chicago Stage Style – Death and the Powers
“Fans of contemporary opera will be thrilled by the Chicago premiere of Tod Machover’s “Death and the Powers”.  As directed by Diane Paulus, this start to Chicago Opera Theater’s 2011 Season is visually stunning, emotionally evocative, and a musical powerhouse.”

Chicago Sun-Times – “Robot opera less than meets the eye”
“The ideas here are strong, and at an intermissionless 90 minutes and with a solid cast and surprisingly strong and beautifully integrated computerized lighting and staging effects, this is something anyone concerned with either the opera or the future in general ought to see.”

Chicago Now – No Dearth of Power (Part 1)
“You have to see it to believe it. And you have to see it. Believe it.”

Chicago Now – No Dearth of Power (Part 2)
“I admit it; I’m obsessed…They had a vision and invented myriad new technology. Any couple pieces of which could transform opera and performance in general. And will do so in years to come.”

Media Tech Connection – High tech Chicago opera takes a unique futuristic approach “The opera concluded with an open ending that leaves the adience guessing, and also a message to think about about the issues from a personal perspective.  The interpretation and outcome is left for the viewer to decide.  Indeed, after the performance, our group discussed the story and its meaning for hours afterwards.”

One Reply to “Chicago reviews of Death and the Powers”

  1. A mind-boggling amd electrifying bombardment of heart/mind/viscera/funnybone last Sunday at the Harris. More so, certainly, than anything I experienced during the 1990s as a Lyric Opera subscriber (the most valuable thing to come out of that being a new-found & abiding appreciation for middle-period Verdi. Even so, Debussy’s “Pelléas” remains the crown jewel.

    When it comes to U.S. operas, “Nixon in China” definitely has its moments. But from where my ears are situated, “The Death of Powers” is the first opera worthy of occupying the same sentence with “Porgy and Bess.”

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