Seattle Opera Explores Modern Tech With Steve Jobs Opera
As Seattle Opera gears up to present The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, the company is asking hard questions about the effects of Big Tech, both in Jobs' life, and in our rapidly expanding community. Prior to the production's Feb. 23 - March 9 run at McCaw Hall, the public is invited to join the dialogue at two free panel discussions. Both events take place in Tagney Jones Hall, in the newly opened Opera Center.
"When planning our season, (R)evolution was an obvious choice to bring to Seattle, a city that has benefited greatly from the technology industry but has also been faced with new challenges as a result," said General Director Aidan Lang. "We hope to provide a platform for the civic conversation that's been happening with the expansion of the technology industry in Puget Sound."
The first panel, "The Flawed Brilliance of Steve Jobs" on Feb. 7, will examine questions like: What were the formative events in Steve Jobs' life? How do you tell the story of a man who revolutionized human communication while struggling to find personal connection himself? What attracts the public to stories like Steve Jobs, and why have so many books, movies, plays-and now an opera-been written about him? The event includes perspective from performer John Moore (Steve Jobs, in (R)evolution), Stage Director Kevin Newbury, and librettist Mark Campbell, who will share the creative process of turning Jobs' life into an opera.
"Steve Jobs is arguably digital technology's most mythic figure, known as much for what he did at Apple as for what he now represents in our current relationship with technology," said panel moderator Frank Catalano, who coversculture, the arts, and technology as a contributor/columnist for GeekWire. "That relationship has both benefits and flaws, so exploring Jobs is exposing a type of creation story."
The second panel, "Tech has changed Seattle. Now what?" on Feb 12 is inspired by the opera's wrestling with themes of counterculture versus corporate culture. For better or worse, the technology industry has forever changed Seattle. As industry and the population expand, how can everyone-from longtime residents to newcomers-help secure the legacy of arts, culture, and civic engagement in Puget Sound?
KUOW's Carolyn Adolph and Joshua McNichols, hosts of Prime(d), a podcast about how Amazon is changing life as we know it, will moderate a discussion with panelists: Cynthia Brothers, Creator of the Instagram account Vanishing Seattle; Tasia Endo, Manager of Interpretive Technology at Seattle Art Museum; Kathy Hsieh, award-winning actor, writer, and public servant; and Waxie Moon, gender-bending burlesque performer, one of the city's cultural icons.
Photo Credit: Ken Howard