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


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.

“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

Missing Operabot found!!


Photo by Megan Meister, Dallas Opera

One of the operabots from the cast of Death and the Powers went AWOL a few days ago from the Media Lab. It turned up yesterday in, of all places, the Dallas Cowboys Stadium! Apparently it was invited there to help publicize the Dallas Opera’s 2013-2014 season, which will include a simulcast of Turandot this April. Death and the Powers performances are scheduled for February 12, 14, 15 and 16 of next year.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Opera’s production of Death and the Powers “will feature baritone Robert Orth as the dying entrepreneur Simon Powers, soprano Joélle Harvey as Miranda, mezzo Patricia Risley as Evvy and tenor Hal Cazalet as Nicholas.

“Employing cutting-edge technology, the production will be directed by Diane Paulus, designed by Alex McDowell and conducted by Nicole Paiement. A partnership with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science will include special exhibits, lectures, demonstrations and workshops.”

Read the full story here: Dallas Opera announces 2013-14 season, ‘Turandot’ simulcast at Cowboys Stadium

More coverage here: Culturemap Dallas: Dallas Opera goes big for 2013-14 season, with another Cowboys Stadium simulcast

October 5 – Robots and Chowdah

If you’re in Boston in early October, check out this event at the Museum of Fine Arts:

Mixed Taste: Tag-team Lectures on Unrelated Topics: Robot Opera and Clam Chowder

Huh? You may well ask. What do operatic robots have to do with chopped clams simmered with onions in a creamy broth? We don’t know, and that’s the idea behind this wildly popular series of talks curated by Adam Lerner , director and “chief animator” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver. He is hosting this evening’s discussion with Tod Machover, composer of Death and the Powers, and Richard Vellante, executive VP of restaurants and executive chef, Legal Sea Foods. Chowder will be served!!

Event details

October 5, 2011, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Remis Auditorium, 161
$15MFA members, seniors, and students

Ticket Purchase Required

A couple of wonderful blog posts…

Just when we thought the Chicago coverage was finished, we came across these two thoughtful and thorough blog posts:

MAL Music – Death and the Powers “This is one of those posts that makes it difficult for me not to just hit caps lock and begin effusing unintelligibly about how wonderful this show I saw was…Watching the show got me so engrossed in the plot, though, that it made it pretty difficult to admire the tech on its own — it all became a part of the story, which was probably their plan all along.”

A tale of two operas: ‘Vincent’ and ‘Death’ “Back in the day, opera was a true multimedia experience, from trompe l’oeil backgrounds to pre-digital sound effects. The use of robotics and other special effects in Death and the Powers gets towards that somewhat archaic sense of opera as a complete sensory experience — it was paced like a film and with just as much action, packed with ideas and humor, emotionally affecting and resonant, surprising and cutting-edge.”