COT’s “Death and the Powers” proves a dazzling, thought-provoking multimedia experience

When the eleven robots glide gracefully out on the stage of the Harris Theater to take their curtain call with the cast, composer and conductor of Death and the Powers—and bow their triangular heads in unison—-it’s hard to maintain any lingering objection to Tod Machover’s envelope-pushing, thought-provoking and brilliantly executed opera, a work that raises serious contemporary themes while mostly refusing to take itself too seriously.

Media Date 
April 4, 2011
Media Source 
Chicago Classical Review
Media Location 
Boston, MA
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Media Quote 

Gil Rose led the BMOP players with fine momentum and balancing of Machover’s undulating textures.

Media Contact Name 
Lawrence A. Johnson

Review: Death and the Powers/Chicago Opera Theater

Combining all of the art forms as it does in a live setting, opera is the ultimate human creation. A cursory look at the history of the genre reveals that, at its best, opera remains a step ahead of culture whether in the form of the cutting-edge eighteenth-century operas of Mozart, or the nineteenth-century “music dramas” of Wagner, which even managed to foresee much of what became twentieth-century cinema.

Media Date 
April 5, 2011
Media Source 
Newcity Stage
Media Location 
Boston, MA
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Media Quote 

No less impressive is how precisely conductor Gil Rose holds all of this together with the remarkable new music group that gave the American premiere last month, BMOP.

Media Contact Name 
Dennis Polkow

Robot opera less than meets the eye

The future of opera is a hotly debated topic these days with the Metropolitan Opera’s general manager Peter Gelb taking to the op-ed pages of the New York Times to defend his company’s new emphasis on cinematic-style stagings and HD broadcasts to theaters around the country. Others have questioned what this means for the role of the human voice as opposed to production values and what movie-priced broadcasts do to performance troupes in smaller cities.

Media Date 
April 4, 2011
Media Source 
Chicago Sun-Times
Media Location 
Boston, MA
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Media Quote 

The music is performed live by 15 members of BMOP under the direction of Gil Rose, and all parts are quite carefully amplified.

Media Contact Name 
Andrew Patner

COT’s dazzling ‘robot opera’ poses provocative new questions

Our wondrous technology could conceivably evolve to the point that it will enable us to shed this mortal coil and achieve a kind of digital immortality. But is living beyond the corporeal world really worth it if we’ve left our souls, our humanity, indeed other people, behind?

Media Date 
April 3, 2011
Media Source 
Chicago Tribune
Media Location 
Boston, MA
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Media Quote 

Machover's tonally grounded music flickers, hums, pulses, thunders and soars from the expert, 15-piece BMOP under Gil Rose’s firm and trenchant baton.

Media Contact Name 
John von Rhein

‘Robots’ Opera’ proves Chicago the next stage in the future of opera

It’s not every opera that has its origins in a visit by a wealthy Iraqi widow from Monaco to a computer lab near Boston.

Media Date 
April 1, 2011
Media Source 
Chicago Sun-Times
Media Location 
Boston, MA
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Media Quote 

Gil Rose of BMOP conducts the 90-minute intermissionless work.

Media Contact Name 
Andrew Patner

"Death and the Powers:The Robots’ Opera"

If you missed American Repertory Theater (ART) and MIT’s FAST Arts Festival one-act, 90-minute production of “Death and the Powers:The Robots’ Opera,” I hope it returns, for your sake. You won’t see the likes of it again. Writers Tod Machover, Robert Pinsky and Randy Weiner, with ART Artistic Director-Director Diane Paulus have struck theatrical gold with this innovative, futuristic opera that makes every minute on stage breathtaking.

Media Date 
March 29, 2011
Media Source 
Theater Mirror
Media Location 
Boston, MA
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Media Quote 

The phenomenal BMOP, conducted by Gil Rose, provides superb accompaniment.

Media Contact Name 
Sheila Barth

Tod Machover's Death and the Powers

In her director’s note for the American premiere of Death and the Powers: The Robots’ Opera, which was composed by Tod Machover, with a libretto by poet Robert Pinsky, Diane Paulus, artistic director of the American Repertory Theater, wrote that this “work of music-theater . . .

Media Date 
March 25, 2011
Media Source 
The Boston Phoenix
Media Location 
Boston, MA
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Media Quote 

Machover’s music, which combines a live orchestra (the splendid BMOP, conducted by Gil Rose) and ‘live’ electronic manipulation by a team from Machover’s Media Lab, is powerful.

Media Contact Name 
Lloyd Schwartz

Full-bodied arias in a post-organic world

Composer Tod Machover heads the Opera of the Future project at MIT’s Media Lab, and that term nicely describes his “Death and the Powers: The Robots’ Opera,” which was given its U.S. premiere by the American Repertory Theater in Boston last week. It is clearly recognizable as opera: It has a story and characters, and its full-blooded arias, elegantly illuminating the apt (if occasionally self-conscious) text by the poet Robert Pinsky, are sung with passionate intensity by humans.

Media Date 
March 24, 2011
Media Source 
The Wall Street Journal
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

Conductor Gil Rose ably coordinated these disparate musical forces, welding the 90-minute, intermission-free opera into a strong dramatic arc.

Media Contact Name 
Heidi Waleson

Death and the Powers, Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston

Technological wonders go only so far towards achieving results in the opera house. Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers: the Robots’ Opera, the latest work by a mainstay of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, has a dramatis personae that includes 12 functioning robots. Yet 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.

Media Date 
March 22, 2011
Media Source 
Financial Times
Media Location 
Boston, MA
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Media Quote 

The fine conducting by Gil Rose underscores that it is the human dimension that really counts.

Media Contact Name 
George Loomis

Second Life: Death and the Powers from A.R.T.

Tod Machover’s new sci-fi opera, “Death and the Powers,’’ sets its gaze on subjects both ancient and ultra-modern. In the former camp is the question of whether the soul, or something beyond the body, can live after our death. In the latter camp is the question of the deeper meanings of our infatuation with technology — the way we experience our lives increasingly through its prism.

Media Date 
March 21, 2011
Media Source 
Boston Globe
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

Gil Rose led with great focus from the pit.

Media Contact Name 
Jeremy Eichler

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