Adam Hetrick
March 18, 2011

The American Repertory Theater production of Death and the Powers: The Robot's Opera, starring baritone James Maddalena, begins performances March 18 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College.

Maddalena, who recently reprised his performance in the title role of Nixon in China at the Metropolitan Opera, created the role of inventor Simon Powers in the world premiere of Death and the Powers at l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo last September. He returns for the A.R.T. production, which will run through March 25.

Tony Award nominee Diane Paulus (Hair, Prometheus Bound) directs the work, which has a score by Tod Machover and a story by U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and Randy Weiner (The Donkey Show). The Boston Modern Orchestra Project performs the score under the baton of Gil Rose.

In addition to Maddalena, the cast includes Emily Albrink as Simon’s third wife, Evvy; Sara Heaton as Simon’s daughter, Miranda; Hal Cazalet as Simon’s research assistant and adopted son, Nicholas; Doug Dodson as The United Way; David Kravitz as The United Nations; and Tom McNichols as The Administration.

A.R.T. describes Death and the Powers as "a one-act, full-length work which tells the story of Simon Powers, a rich, successful inventor, who wishes to perpetuate his existence beyond the decay of his physical being. Reaching the end of his life, Powers uses his vast resources and devises a way to 'download' himself into his environment. This transformation turns every object in his surroundings—such as his books, furniture and walls—into a collective, living version of himself, called The System. His family, friends and business associates are left to explore how this transformation impacts their relationships and ability to move forward with their own lives and legacies. Death and the Powers introduces specially designed technology and an animated set—including a chorus of robots and a musical chandelier."

Production design for Death and the Powers is by Alex McDowell with costume design by David C. Woolard, lighting design by Donald Holder, sound design by Chris Full, visual and software design by Peter Torpey, media design by Matt Checkowski and sound technology by Ben Bloomberg.

For tickets visit AmericanRepertoryTheater. The Cutler Majestic Theatre is located at 219 Tremont St. Boston, MA.