Feb 12, 2014

MIT's Opera of the Future Lab and "Death and the Powers": Opera Meets Matrix

MIT's Opera of the Future Lab, part of MIT's Media Lab, has been preparing a new version of a performance of "Death and the Powers", an interactive, collaborative opera that is set to be performed on Sunday, February 16th at 2:00 PM (Central Time) at the Dallas Opera, and simulcast world-wide.  

Innovative interactive technology plays a huge role in this performance, connected to the opera's theme, singing, moving robots, sensors, and displays.

Although "Death and the Powers" opera was first performed several years ago, it has evolved and integrated new technologies over the years. What is really exciting about this upcoming performance will be simulcast in a way that will let the audience/viewers interact with the main performance through the use of cell phones or tablets, in real time.  The audience will have the opportunity to experience the opera through the points of view of different characters, including the perspective of the robots.

Video: Humanizing technology with opera-singing robots




RELATED
Opera of the Future Blog
(Lots of pictures, videos, cast interviews, and information about the technologies involved in the opera's performance.)
Death and the Powers
Death and the Powers Image Gallery
Singing robots show humanity of technology in opera of the future
PBS Newshour, 2/10/14
Sci-fi opera 'Death and the Powers' is doing things differently...with robots
Ann Davenport, PBS Newshour Art Beat, 2/10/14
FYI:  The above link has several video clips about the opera as well as the innovative interactive technology t
The Dallas Opera Global Simulcast of "Death and the Powers"
Susan Calvin, The Dallas Opera News and Features, 10/1/14

Excerpts from the above press release:


DEATH AND THE POWERS, scheduled to take place in Dallas on Sunday, February 16th at 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.
However, this unprecedented Dallas Opera Global Simulcast offers far more than a mere stage production; patrons will experience Simon Powers’ perspective from within “The System,” as well as a “robot’s eye view” of the opera, while tapping into a variety of interactive features. Those attending the simulcast anywhere in the world will have an opportunity to interact with the main performance onstage—through cellphones, tablets and other handheld devices—in order to influence the visual elements in the Winspear Opera House in real time, as they unfold.
With the cooperation of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and The Moody Foundation, this production will incorporate the state-of-the-art Moody Chandelier as an important element of the visual and auditory experience.
“The Dallas Opera is thrilled to be collaborating with the brilliant composer and technologist, Tod Machover, on bringing this important work to Dallas,” says Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, “and presenting an unprecedented interactive global simulcast of the work. In this ‘Brave New World’ of high-tech opera, nothing is off-limits, and we are working closely and intensely with the composer, MIT and leading opera companies in the U.S., U.K. and continental Europe to add these new interactive and creative elements to an already outstanding twenty-first century masterpiece.

“All of us at the Dallas Opera are tremendously grateful to Bob Ellis and Jane Bernstein—whose generosity has brought this dream to life.”
Leading a team from the MIT Media Lab, Tod Machover produced “a challenging opera that questioned how far the human race can push technological development toward immortality.” The action centers on a terminally ill billionaire who downloads his consciousness into an artificial construct and then attempts to persuade his loved ones to join him there.
Andrew Porter of Opera magazine described Death and the Powers as “A grand, rich, deeply serious new opera.”

At the same time, critic Stephen J. Mudge of Opera News noted: “Any worry that the opera might be taking itself too seriously is answered by Pinsky’s witty and at times lighthearted libretto, which treats the situation with respect but levity.”
“It is so exciting to be bringing Death and the Powers to The Dallas Opera, and equally exciting to be collaborating with TDO – under the guidance of Keith Cerny and with the generous support of Bob Ellis and Jane Bernstein – to create an interactive streaming experience so that audiences around the world can be connected to the live Dallas performance,” says composer Tod Machover.
“Our challenge is to create extra layers and interactions for this remote viewing so that being ‘there’ will be just as compelling and powerful as being physically in the Winspear, while revealing new aspects of the opera – such as what it feels like to be ‘in The System’ with Simon Powers – for the very first time.”
Post a Comment