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Mobile App Enhances ‘Robot Opera’

(February 2014)

Global simulcast of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers at Dallas Opera

Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music, will be presented this February by Dallas Opera. An opera that explores the boundaries of human consciousness and the limitations of the physical self, Tod Machover traversed unexplored terrain with a tale that intrigued opera lovers and science fiction enthusiasts alike. After its world premiere in 2010 in Monaco, Death and the Powers received acclaim for not only its story and music, but for its use of electronics and robotic components.

To watch a video of Tod Machover discussing Death and the Powers with performance footage, click here.

In Dallas Opera’s production, a brand new element will be introduced as an enhancement to the audience’s listening and viewing experience. Viewers will be able to watch Dallas Opera’s production live on Sunday, February 16 from select venues around the world (see below) and manipulate the stunning Moody Foundation Chandelier that graces the Winspear Opera House in real time by using a new mobile app developed specifically for this purpose. Viewers will also be able to view the show from "robot’s eye-view" cameras on stage and see displays of information from Simon Powers as he enters The System on their mobile devices.

Tod Machover says, "One of my core visions at the beginning of Death and the Powers was to see if we could find a way for the physicality of the stage and set to 'come alive' to help tell the story, going beyond traditional multimedia which I feel often has a flattening, distancing effect. The interactive simulcast we have designed is an extension of this idea: allowing audiences in remote locations to perhaps feel even closer to the performance in Dallas than if they were there. We have added new layers of image and story and allow the show to jump off the screen and right into your hand (and from there back to Dallas), empowering technology to increase immersion, participation, and connection."

Death and the Powers
will be performed February 12, 14, 15, and 16 at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas, Texas. Directed by Diane Paulus with set design by Alex McDowell, the production stars Robert Orth, Joélle Harvey, Patricia Risley, Hal Cazalet, Frank Kelley, David Kravitz, and Tom NcNichols, and is conducted by Nicole Paiement. Death and the Powers features a libretto by former United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, adapted from a story by Pinsky and playwright Randy Weiner.

Download the "Powers Live" app for your mobile device here:
Google Play App Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.mit.powers&hl=en
iTunes App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/powers-live/id779916980?mt=8

For tickets and more information on this production, click here.

Interactive Simulcast Locations (Sunday, February 16, 2014 — 2:00 PM US Central Time):

New York, NY:
National Opera Center at Opera America
San Francisco, CA: San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Los Angeles, CA: The Industry at The Hammer Museum
Silicon Valley, CA: Stanford University, Bing Concert Hall
Philadelphia, PA: Opera Philadelphia at The Franklin Institute
Cambridge, MA: MIT Media Lab
Dallas, TX: Perot Museum of Nature and Science
London: Royal Academy of Music
Stockholm: University College of Opera and Royal Institute of Technology



Photo: Gino Spiro

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