“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.


Reviews of “Death and the Powers” in Dallas

Nathan Hunsinger/Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer

Nathan Hunsinger/Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer

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

“Death and the Powers” goes Global


Death and the Powers:


AT 2:00 P.M. (Central Time)



Remote locations throughout the U.S. and Europe, including the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, with new interactive capabilities and views!




Death and the Powers supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

From the press release:

Dallas Opera Announces ‘Death and the Powers: THE GLOBAL INTERACTIVE SIMULCAST’, 2/16


Dallas-death-and-the-powersbigDALLAS, SEPTEMBER 11, 2013 – The Dallas Opera is privileged to announce an extraordinary and unprecedented experiment in twenty-first century opera: “The Dallas Opera’s Global Interactive Simulcast” of acclaimed American composer Tod Machover’s DEATH AND THE POWERS, scheduled to take place in Dallas on Sunday, February 16that 2:00 p.m. Central Time, originating in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center and being simulcast to as many as ten locations in Europe and the U.S.

The Dallas Opera is currently in negotiations with a wide-range of venues and organizations located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University, New York City and its boroughs, Philadelphia, Paris, Los Angeles, London and Stockholm—as well as the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in the Dallas Arts District, which has already shown a keen interest in the questions raised by Machover’s “robot pageant” opera and has partnered with both the Dallas Opera and the MIT Media Lab’s “Opera of the Future” program to support this innovative approach to the art form and attract new generations to opera.

DEATH AND THE POWERS, with music by composer/inventor Tod Machover and text by librettist Robert Pinsky (one of America’s foremost living poets) received rave reviews at its sold-out 2010 Monte Carlo world premiere and subsequent engagements in Boston and Chicago. Continue reading

In Opera News


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.”

Continue reading

New Vilna Review on Machover and Pinsky evening

Tuesday evening’s “I Sing the Body Electric” event, featuring composer Tod Machover, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and Pulitzer-winning music critic and poet Lloyd Schwartz, garnered an enthusiastic write-up by Daniel E. Levenson, ALM, publisher and editor-in-chief of the New Vilna Review. The disucssion centered on the new opera Death and the Powers, composed by Machover with a libretto by Pinsky.

“Since I enjoy brooding meditations on the nature of mortality as well as almost anything involving sci-fi, I was intrigued right away,” writes Levenson. “…I found myself pulled into a world where the dividing line between life and death had been blurred by a digital hand, where the gulf between flesh and circuits seemed not so far apart.”

Read the full article here: “Pinsky and Machover Bring Shadow and Light to NCAC Event”

The event took place at the New Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in Watertown, MA, on Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 7:30PM.

Jewish Advocate: Dec. 7 Event with Tod Machover and Robert Pinsky

There’s an excellent feature article in the current issue of The Jewish Advocate describing tomorrow night’s program with poet laureate Robert Pinsky and composer Tod Machover. The event, titled “I Sing the Body Electric”, is sponsored by the New Center for Arts and Culture and will take place at 7:30pm on Tuesday, December 7, 2010, at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA. The poet and Pulitzer-winning classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz will moderate the event. We look forward to a thought-provoking and entertaining evening!

The Jewish Advocate article does a very nice job of describing the genesis of the collaboration between Pinsky and Machover that led to the new opera Death and the Powers.

Here is a link to the article (access to full text by subscription only).

PDF of Article in The Jewish Advocate

Buy tickets for I Sing the Body Electric, December 7, 2010, 7:30PM