Tod Machover’s sci-fi opera, dividing a cast of characters between known reality and some sort of parallel existence, was quite a stretch for a company not exactly known for adventure. But with a strong cast, including some quite mobile robots, excellent direction and some pretty dazzling high-tech effects, it was a memorable experience.
Congratulations to the cast, crew and incredible team that pulled off last night’s flawless opening night performance of the Dallas Opera’s production of “Death and the Powers”!! Much relief all around that the Operabots, moving walls and chandelier were all in splendid working order after three years in the warehouse.
Reviews are coming in! The Dallas Morning News’s morning-after review noted that the singers “get lines of remarkable naturalness, from speech-song to genuinely beautiful arias, duets and ensembles,” and said “it’s hard to imagine a finer performance, staged by Andrew Eggert and musically coordinated by conductor Nicole Paiement, with choreography by Karole Armitage. Both seen and video-processed, Robert Orth is a tour de force as Simon, his sinewy baritone faltering only in some low-ranging patches. Joélle Harvey and Patricia Risley sing radiantly as, respectively, Miranda and Evvy.” Continue reading →
Katherine Taylor, superb Boston-based photographer for The New York Times and others, just posted this excellent blog of photos she took a few months ago of Tod Machover’s group at the MIT Media Lab, while shooting for a Times story. View the photos by clicking here.
Tod Machover receives the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Award for Arts Advocacy at a gala at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
The Kennedy Center’s National Committee for the Performing Arts (NCPA) has awarded Tod Machover with its inaugural Award for Arts Advocacy. The award was presented at the Committee’s meeting in Boston, Massachusetts on September 21, 2013.
“We are proud to present Tod Machover with the inaugural Award for Arts Advocacy,” stated Norine Fuller, Chairwoman of the Kennedy Center’s National Committee for the Performing Arts. “Whether it be in opera, video games or beyond, Tod is devoted to extending musical expression to everyone, from virtuosos to amateurs.”
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.”
“Festival City”, which received its world premiere on August 27th at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, garnered a favorable notice in The Scotsman:
Machover’s new work – a moody soundscape combining recorded audio bites of Edinburgh with bristling, atmospheric live orchestral impressions, and created from material submitted over the internet – was anything but gimmicky. Driven by an underlying drone, suggestive of bagpipes, its success lay in the composer’s ability to mesh the electronic elements in such a way that distinguishing them was often impossible – bird calls intertwining with flute, strings, pre-recorded children’s voices as real as the instruments on stage.