PBS Newshour on Opera of the Future

PBS Newshour featured the Opera of the Future group tonight. If you missed the broadcast, you can watch it here: Singing robots reflect tech’s humanity in opera of the future

Dallas rehearsal photos!

Opening night this Wednesday!! The whole crew is in high gear at the Winspear Opera House.  Here’s the evidence:

 

Death and the Powers Global Simulcast – Ticket links here

Dallas-death-and-the-powersbigThe Dallas Opera presents a new production of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, February 12-16. This visually spectacular robot pageant by the MIT Media Lab’s Opera of the Future group tells the story of Simon Powers, a powerful businessman and inventor nearing the end of his life, who downloads his consciousness into “The System” in an effort to project himself into the future. His family, friends, and associates must decide what this means, whether or not he is actually alive, how it affects them, and whether to follow.

The matinee performance on February 16 at 2:00 pm U.S. EST will be simulcast to ten locations across the United States and Europe, including New York, San Francisco, London, and at our home base, the MIT Media Lab. In addition to viewing the live, hi-def broadcast of the production, the Powers Live mobile application, developed in the Opera of the Future group, will allow you to virtually experience the performance. Live video, audio, and graphical content will be triggered in the app in sync with the performance, and your interaction will, in turn, influence the live show in Dallas. Powers Live is available for download starting February 1 for iOS 6/7 and Android 4.0+ devices.

Simulcast venues for February 16, 2:00 pm EST:

*By invitation only; please email powers@media.mit.edu to be placed on a wait list to attend.

21c Liederabend (Reviews)

Last week’s 21c Liederabend at the Brooklyn Academy of Music garnered some media attention. Here’s the New York Times’ review: A Wink Toward Tradition in a Modern Evening. Public radio station WNYC provided a preview and aired “Sophia’s Aria” from Tod Machover’s opera VALIS. Listen here: A Modern Liederabend.

This year’s 21c Lieberabend included a performance of “Miranda’s Aria” from “Death and the Powers,” performed by Sara Heaton, who performed the role in Boston and Chicago. Here’s a video of the original performance by Joélle Harvey in Monaco. She will return as Miranda in the Dallas Opera’s production next February.

Resurrection: Act 2 Scene 2 – Finale

Resurrection captures an unusual love story between Prince Nekhlyudov (Scott Hendricks) and the serving girl Maslova (Joyce DiDonato). Though divided by class, their fates become intertwined when the Prince sits on the jury that unjustly condemns the young woman to prison. Despite a merciless justice system that does not allow for second chances, an amazing story of courage and redemption emerges.

Act 2 Scene 2 – Finale

Maslova, now no longer a prisoner, decides to stay with Simonson, much to Nekhlyudov’s despair (“Katusha, you are free”). Nekhlyudov now pleads with her, but although she loves him, she knows he can never really love her as before. She charges him to go back into the world and use his wealth and position to change it as she does in her small way: one person to another.

As the prisoners go wearily to start another day’s work, and Maslova tends Simonson’s wounds, Nekhlyudov walks off into the dawn.

Continue reading

Resurrection: Act 2 Scene 2, “Katusha, you are free”

Resurrection captures an unusual love story between Prince Nekhlyudov (Scott Hendricks) and the serving girl Maslova (Joyce DiDonato). Though divided by class, their fates become intertwined when the Prince sits on the jury that unjustly condemns the young woman to prison. Despite a merciless justice system that does not allow for second chances, an amazing story of courage and redemption emerges.

Act 2 Scene 2, “Katusha, you are free”

In the prison camp, Nekhlyudov has won Maslova’s pardon and brings the document to her. He notices the tension in the room. Suddenly, several guards drag Simonson out for a flogging; Nekhlyudov follows. He can’t believe what he has seen. When Simonson is returned to the room, Maslova begins to dress his wounds. Nekhlyudov asks the prisoners how this awful system can be changed. They reply that revolution is the only way–the rulers must be overthrown and treated just as badly. Simonson, in agony, says there is another way: Maslova’s way, transforming people with kindness, one person to another.

Simonson asks to speak to Nekhlyudov in private. He wants to marry Maslova, but she will not agree unless Nekhlyudov approves. Nekhlyudov now believes he loves Maslova. He tells her about the pardon and the two men ask her to choose between them. Maslova, now no longer a prisoner, decides to stay with Simonson, much to Nekhlyudov’s despair. Nekhlyudov now pleads with her, but although she loves him, she knows he can never really love her as before.

Continue reading

New/Old Interview on VALIS

VALIS-CDCoverThis interview with Tod Machover by Peter Stenshoe has been transcribed and edited by Frank C. Bertrand and published recently on Scribd. There’s a wealth of wonderful information here about a series of eerie coincidences in the genesis of VALIS. Tod speaks about why Philip K. Dick’s most personal novel resonated so deeply with him:

I think he is probably one of the most visionary authors that’s been around in the last fifty years or so. The part of his message I think that resonated most with me, and I think is very important, is one I think he struggles with in Valis and all those books at the end of his life, is how is it possible to keep some sense of hope when the world and most of our personal situations are in such an extreme state of pain. And the particular situation that I think he describes in Valis, I mean to me it’s what the whole pink light experience and his reaction to it means, is we live in a world that is becoming in fact more and more fragmented, more and more complex…And I think the pink light is realizing how deep the fragmentation is. I think that what Dick’s whole life work represents is the courage to keep looking for how things stick together. And I do believe that that is the task of our times and will be for the future, to not give up that search….

You can read the full interview here.

VALIS, the opera, is available here.