The Dallas Opera Presents DEATH AND THE POWERS, Now thru 2/16
The Dallas Opera is proud to present the second production in the 2013-2014 "By Love Transformed" Season: DEATH AND THE POWERS (The Robots' Opera) by acclaimed American composer and inventor Tod Machover of the MIT Media Lab with a libretto by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, one of America's greatest living poets.
This production, the Southwest Regional Premiere and only the fourth set of performances, worldwide, will open tonight, February 12, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center with subsequent performances in this exclusive engagement scheduled onFebruary 14, 15 and 16.
The February 16th matinee performance will also be simulcast to ten locations in the U.S. and abroad to create the world's first global interactive simulcast on two continents.
"Bringing this unique and groundbreaking opera to North Texas has been an important goal for me since first encountering the work in Chicago," explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny. "TDO's extraordinarily talented artistic, production and technical teams are eagerly anticipating working hand-in-hand with their counterparts from MIT to give this work new life-not only onstage in Dallas but for simulcast audiences across the globe.
"I am also thrilled to welcome back two individuals who made the Dallas Opera's new production of Peter Maxwell Davies' The Lighthouse such a huge success in 2012: conductor Nicole Paiement and baritone Robert Orth in his role debut as Simon Powers."
DEATH AND THE POWERS, praised by Lawrence A. Johnson of Chicago Classical Review as "envelope-pushing, thought-provoking and brilliantly executed," received its 2010 world premiere at Opera Monte-Carlo's Salle Garnier. The production, created and developed at the MIT Media Lab where Machover heads the Opera of the Future Group, earned additional rave reviews in Boston and Chicago before being named a 2012 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Music. Described by The Wall Street Journal as a work filled with "passionate intensity, full-bodied arias in a post-organic world," Death and the Powers blends Machover's artistic and technological expertise to create an inventive score filled with arching melodic lines, richly nuanced textures and propulsive rhythms.
The libretto for Death and the Powers came from a story by Randy Weiner and Pinsky. The original production was directed by Tony Award Winner Diane Paulus, who is renowned for her talent in delivering adventurous productions with audience appeal, as in her recent revivals of HAIR, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess,and Pippin on Broadway. Director and dramaturg Andrew Eggert, a mainstay of Chicago Opera Theater and the Associate Director of Death and the Powers' Monte-Carlo world premiere, will stage the work in Dallas in his company debut.
Other members of the original artistic team returning for the Dallas production include choreographer Karole Armitage and production designer Alex McDowell, who is best known as the creative director of films such as Man of Steel, Minority Report and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Characterized by Opera magazine as, "A grand, rich, deeply serious new opera," Death and the Powers tells the story of Simon Powers, a successful and powerful business man, who wishes to perpetuate his existence beyond the decay of his natural being. Nearing the end of his life, Powers seizes his one chance for immortality by downloading his consciousness into his environment, creating a living version of his mind and spirit, called "The System." His family, friends and associates must decide what this means, whether or not Simon is actually alive, how it affects them and-most importantly-whether they, too, should follow.
Highly praised for his interpretations in contemporary opera roles, baritone Robert Orth (Moby-Dick, The Lighthouse) joins the Dallas cast of Death and the Powers in the leading role of Simon Powers. Mezzo-sopranoPatricia Risley, who sang the role of Wellgunde in our 2002 Götterdammerung, returns to the Dallas Opera stage as Evvy, Simon's third wife; soprano Joélle Harvey reprises her role as Miranda (she sang Barbarina in TDO's 2008 production of The Marriage of Figaro) and tenor Hal Cazalet makes his Dallas Opera debut as Nicholas, Simon's research assistant and adopted son.
Rounding out the cast are the delegates: countertenor Frank Kelley as The United Way, baritone David Kravitz as The United Nations and bass Tom McNichols as The Administration.
This Dallas Opera production will mark the return of renowned contemporary music specialist and conductorNicole Paiement, who made her Dallas Opera debut at the helm of Peter Maxwell Davies' haunting-and daunting-1980 opera, The Lighthouse, garnered special praise for her work on the project. As Artistic Director of Opera Parallèle (OP), a professional San Francisco-based company dedicated to contemporary opera, and the BluePrint Project-a new music series sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Maestra Paiement has commissioned new works, recorded extensively and conducted a host of new productions, as well as West Coast, American and world premieres.