Here’s an insightful article about Tod Machover in the October issue of Opera News. Written by Philip Kennicott, Pulitzer prize-winning critic for the Washington Post, the article delves into the evolution of the music and gets to the heart of what the operas are about. Refreshing!
Some great quotes:
“…Machover, voluble and friendly in person, confounds expectations. Valis, based on a science-fiction novel by Philip K. Dick and dubbed “the first opera of the twenty-first century,” now sounds anything but scary, and his last three operas, Resurrection, Skellig and Death and the Powers, have rare emotional depth. Machover, now a fully mature composer, is unafraid of harnessing the old-fashioned powers of opera, unafraid of sentimentality, unafraid of C major.”
On the role technology plays:
“Technology pervades Resurrection, adding richness and color and sometimes terrible ferocity to some of its more brutal scenes. But it is fully integrated into the score, a complement to the basic orchestral forces and a ready helpmeet to the extreme emotional demands of the story.”
And we loved this:
“The tension, the beauty of the music and the strange arc that Machover has been following of late leave one wondering if he is like Prospero, Miranda’s father. And if he will one day find himself abjuring the labels such as “America’s most wired composer,” it is unlikely that he will abandon the electronic wizardry on which he has built his career. One imagines that it will somehow disappear entirely into the traditional fabric of opera, a reverse process from the trajectory of Simon Powers, but one that will allow him to say, ‘Now my charms are all o’erthrown / and what strength I have’s mine own.'”
Read the full article (pdf): “Man and Machine”.