From New York to San Francisco, audiences can now experience and participate in composer and MIT Professor Tod Machover’s legendary robot opera, “Death and the Powers” through a global interactive simulcast — the first of its kind. When the simulcast debuts at the Dallas Opera on February 16, remote audiences around the world will not only be able to view the performance through live broadcast, but actively engage with it.
To participate in this interactive simulcast, audience members at each site must download the specially created app, Powers Live. From here, viewers will be granted unique access into the world of protagonist Simon Powers, the successful businessman who hopes to prolong his existence by downloading his consciousness to his physical surroundings, a responsive environment called “The System.”
Audiences may witness episodes from Simon’s memory flash across the screen, see through the “robot’s eye-view” of the multiple cameras placed throughout the set, or even receive a pulsating buzz during key moments. Remote audience members can also affect The Moody Foundation Chandelier in the Dallas opera house’s signature computer-controlled chandelier, by directing the shape and motion of the object in real time through their devices.
Death and the Powers is already known for its pioneering use of technology, featuring an animatronic stage, a vast surround sound system, nine singing robots and an immense chandelier that emulates the human voice and responds to physical touch. Now Machover and his team in the MIT Media Lab’s Opera of the Future group have upped the ante even more: blending the human and the robotic, the virtual and the real, in a stunning sensory spectacle.