Death and the Powers

Death and the Powers doesn’t point the way to a new era of opera. It’s there. Now.”
—David Patrick Stearns,
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Opera Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute hosted a global experiment in 21st century opera on Sunday, Feb. 16, as a live performance of Death and the Powers by acclaimed American composer/inventor Tod Machover was simulcast from The Dallas Opera to more than ten locations in Europe and the U.S.

Audiences who attended this special simulcast received secondary audio, video and multimedia through a specially developed app downloaded to their cellphones, tablets and other handheld devices. They could also interact with the main performance onstage in order to influence the visual elements in the opera house in real time, as they unfolded. After the performance, audience members participated in a Q&A led by David DevanOpera Philadelphia's General Director and President, and Youngmoo Kim, Director of the Expressive & Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center at Drexel University. 

About the Opera: Science fiction and poignant family drama combine in this cutting-edge opera developed at the MIT Media Lab.  The visually spectacular robot pageant tells the story of terminally ill billionaire Simon Powers (Robert Orth) who cheats death by uploading his mind, memories, and emotions into “the System,” a technological environment of his own creation.  He proceeds to use all his powers to persuade his loved ones (Joélle Harvey as Miranda, Patricia Risley as Evvy, and Hal Cazalet as Nicholas) to join him there.