“A big work with big ideas” – Opera News review

Risley, Orth and Harvey in Death and the Powers in Dallas

Risley, Orth and Harvey in Death and the Powers in Dallas

A pleasant surprise arrived in the mail this week: Opera News in its May 2014 issue gives the Dallas Opera’s production of Tod Machover’s “Death and the Powers” a glowing review. Writer Andrew Sigler praises the opera as “a big work with big ideas,” and notes that “Machover brings to bear his considerable technical prowess in the world of technology, as well as his deep sense of musical history,” to explore the premise of human consciousness merging with computer hardware.

Sigler writes that Robert Orth, in the role of Simon Powers, “embodied the character perfectly,” and praises Patricia Risley’s for giving a “smoky and sensual” performance and “real depth” to Evvy, Simon’s third and favorite wife. In the thrilling final scene, “Machover shows his operatic chops and Joélle Harvey’s Miranda all but steals the show.”

Read the full review here.


Simulcast gets thumbs up from Opera

May 14 cover.inddOpera magazine reviewed the interactive simulcast of “Death and the Powers” and pronounced that this experiment in using smartphone technology to enhance the cinematic viewing experience has “huge potential for the technologically engaged operatic culture that Machover continues to pioneer.”

Read the full review here.

Skellig Act 1 Scene 6

Listening to the brief excerpts from Skellig the other day brought back a deluge of memories about its wonderful run at the Sage Gateshead in 2008. Few people have heard the opera because it has not yet been recorded. We thought you might enjoy this glimpse from the first act. Matthew Long sings the role of Michael, and Merrin Layzan is Mina. The orchestra is the Northern Sinfonia under the baton of Garry Walker.


He was filthy and pale and dried out and I thought he was dead. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’d soon begin to see the truth about him, that there’d never been another creature like him in the world.

Michael and his family have moved house. It was going to be wonderful. They were due to arrive in time for the spring. But everything’s dark, the place is a wreck, the garden’s a wilderness. And now Michael’s sister is dangerously ill, his parents are frantic and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless.

Then he steps into the crumbling garage…

What is this thing beneath the spiders’ webs and dead flies?

A human being, or a strange kind of beast never seen before?

The only person Michael can confide in is Mina. Together, they bring the creature into the light, and Michael’s world changes forever…

Music by Tod Machover

Libretto by David Almond

SCENE 6. THE SWEETEST NOISE Continue reading