FAST Opera

Death and the Powers by Tod Machover
March 18, 20, 22 and 25, 2011
The Cutler Majestic Theatre

Attend the U.S. premiere of Death and the Powers, a musically and technologically visionary new opera composed by Tod Machover, and developed at the MIT Media Lab. Commissioned by Association Futurum of Monaco and given its world premiere in Monte Carlo in September 2010, “This was a grand, rich, deeply serious new opera, presented by a team with manifold coherent accomplishments,” writes Opera magazine’s Andrew Porter. This one-act, full-evening work tells the story of Simon Powers, a powerful businessman and inventor, who wants to go beyond the bounds of humanity. Reaching the end of his life, Powers faces the questions of his legacy: When I die, what remains? What will I leave behind? What can I control? What can I perpetuate? He is now conducting the last experiment of his life, passing from corporeal existence into The System where he will be free of death yet still be able to influence the world. His loved ones must work out their altered relationships and, ultimately, decide whether to follow him. Machover elegantly blends his artistic and technological expertise to create an inventive score filled with arching melodic lines, wry humor, richly nuanced textures and propulsive rhythms. The Boston production is presented by the American Repertory Theater in collaboration with FAST. The opera introduces specially designed technology – including animated walls, a chorus of robots and a musical chandelier – assuredly launching a new era in opera production and expression.

The Wall Street Journal: Full-Bodied Arias in a Postorganic World
“…its full-blooded arias…are sung with passionate intensity by humans…the orchestral writing…skillfully combines acoustic and electronic music to create a remarkable range of colors and levels…how seamlessly the technology and the music worked together, so that all that hardware and software was about the people and the story, not about itself.”

Financial Times: Death and the Powers, Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston
“…the quality of Machover’s music, steeped in the language of Elliott Carter and Pierre Boulez, wedded to an imaginative libretto by Robert Pinsky, is what makes the opera worth seeing.”

Boston Globe: Second Life: ‘Death and the Powers’ from ART
“…Machover’s music, his soaring vocal writing, and especially some of his sculpted electronic soundscapes, are highly imaginative and quite compelling. Robert Pinsky’s libretto is often deft, and the production, directed by Diane Paulus with choreography by Karole Armitage, is often visually stunning…”

Variety: Death and the Powers: The Robots’ Opera
“Tod Machover creates a mesmerizing score that blends the coolness of dissonance with the warmness of melody, backed by a 19-piece orchestra and sung splendidly by a cast headed by a powerful and charismatic baritone James Maddalena (Nixon in China).”

Press kit / Death and the Powers website
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