Opera Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute will take part in a global experiment in 21st century opera: on Sunday, February 16, a live performance of Death and the Powers, by acclaimed American composer/inventor Tod Machover, will be simulcast from The Dallas Opera to more than ten locations in Europe and the U.S.– including The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Streaming live from the Franklin Theater, the opera simulcast is the closing event of The Franklin Institute’s Robot Day.
Death and the Powers is a visually spectacular ‘robot pageant’ that tells the story of a terminally ill billionaire who cheats death by uploading his mind, memories and emotions into ‘the System’, a technological environment of his own creation, and uses all of his powers to persuade his loved ones to join him. “Together, humans and robots will change the way you look at life, love and eternity.” So say we all.
Death and the Powers takes interesting twist on classical opera and standard set elements by including a ‘Chorus of Operabots’, as well as three dynamic ‘bookshelf periaktoi’, which join the vocalists on stage. All are controlled by software that was specifically developed for their choreography. A new technique was also developed for the production, called ‘Disembodied Performance’: gestural and physiological sensors are used, as well as voice analysis, to capture the vocalist’s offstage performance; a visual representation is displayed– in real time– onstage, through multiple set elements.
Philly can enter ‘the System’ and get a ‘robot’s eye view’ of the opera at a free viewing on 3pm Sunday, February 16th at The Franklin Institute.
Well, we very much hope nobody cheats. But we look forward to the coming wave of robot operas:
The Robot of Seville
Dot (Matrix) Giovanni