…Machover’s range is impressive, starting with the beeps and blips of Nicholas’s manic gadgetry, which inspire antic brilliance from tenor Hal Cazalet. Evvy’s operatically intense interactions with her disembodied husband (both a mad scene and a sex scene) are a marvel of glamour and poignancy thanks to mezzo Patricia Risley. There’s also a beautifully textured duet between the two women. The climax of the work is the confrontation between father and daughter, as Miranda rejects the “system,” in a lyrical, incandescent aria of humanistic defiance (not without echoes of Samuel Barber). Soprano Joëlle Harvey is a revelation here, deploying a superbly focused timbre with ideal dramatic immediacy.
This Dallas Opera production has the precision and commitment of a Houston space mission, marking advances over the original 2010 staging in Monte Carlo. Like the best parts of the music, the pliant, mobile sets (by Alex McDowell) and stage direction can be spellbinding. The filming is so fluid and multidirectional that you forget it’s confined to a theater stage. The camera lens occasionally distorts to maximize dramatic alienation, twisting faces and tinting whole scenes an eerie blue. Conductor Nicole Paiement maintains admirable balance, proving herself, like Machover, a techie with heart.
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Read the full review: Machover: Death and the Powers