The March 7 world premiere of Tod Machover’s Overstory Overture at Alice Tully Hall drew extraordinary performances from mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato and the International Sejong Soloists. The libretto by Simon Robson (“Schoenberg in Holleywood”) captured the narrative sweep of Richard Powers’ epic novel in a spare, powerful storyline centered on the character of the scientist Patricia Westerford. Choreographer Karole Armitage, in her third collaboration with Machover, created subtle and effective stage movements by the performers. Ben Bloomberg sound-engineered the lush electronics, and Peter Torpey designed lighting effects.
Media coverage of the premiere
Translating the Music of Trees Into the Sounds of Opera, by Thomas May for the New York Times (pdf), describes the background of the piece and includes interviews with Tod Machover, Richard Powers and Joyce DiDonato.
Tod Machover, Joyce DiDonato Listen to the Trees in New Opera, by David Patrick Stearns for Musical America (pdf).
New Opera As Sapling: Glimpse At Machover’s Lyric Portrait Of Trees, by Anne E. Johnson for Classical Voice North America.
‘Overstory Overture’ – Tod Machover’s Upcoming Music Magic at Lincoln Center by Lois Silverstein in OperaWire
Q&A: Tod Machover on “Overstory Overture,” his new operatic work, by Peter Dizikes, MIT News
Image: Alex Hodor-Lee for The New York Times