Release date: 5/9/2017
An Electro-Acoustic Opera by Mason Bates with a Libretto by Mark Campbell
Scheduled for the 2019–20 Season, War Memorial Opera House
New Opera Is a Co-Commission with Santa Fe Opera and Seattle Opera, with Support from Cal Performances and Co-Produced with Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music
Santa Fe Opera to Give the World Premiere July 22 – August 25, 2017
Steve Jobs Commission Announced.pdf Photos Available
San Francisco Opera today announced its participation as a co-commissioner of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs—the first full-length opera written by Bay Area composer Mason Bates and set to a libretto by Mark Campbell—joining Santa Fe Opera and Seattle Opera, with support from Cal Performances. The new work is a co-production with Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and will have its world premiere beginning July 22, 2017 at Santa Fe Opera. San Francisco Opera will present the Bay Area premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs during the Company’s 2019–20 repertory season at the War Memorial Opera House. Bates’ electro-acoustic opera is composed in one act and is comprised of a prologue and 19 scenes.
The creative team is led by director Kevin Newbury, who previously staged the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (2013) and a new production of Norma (2014) for San Francisco Opera. In their Company debuts, the designers include scenic artist Victoria “Vita” Tzykun, costumes by Paul Carey, lighting by Japhy Weideman, projection design by London-based 59 Productions and choreography by Chloe Treat. Casting and conductor for San Francisco Opera’s presentation will be announced at a later date.
San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock said: “This is a profoundly moving new opera that I am excited to bring to Northern California audiences. Steve Jobs was an iconic figure in contemporary life whose genius has impacted the very way in which we engage with the world. But he was also a real person and a member of our immediate community. Mason’s new opera is a deeply layered, moving portrayal of a man grappling with the complex priorities of life, family and work. Like all great operas, I have been so impressed by how it speaks to the universality of the human condition. This is not just an opera about one man. It is an opera about all of us.”
Composer Mason Bates added, “Jobs’ search for inner peace is the story of the opera, which is about a man who learns to be human again.” Together, Bates and Mark Campbell have fashioned an opera that traces the development of Jobs’ spirituality through his relationships with five major figures in his life: his wife Laurene, his confidant Steve Wozniak, his girlfriend Chrisann, his spiritual advisor Kobun and his father Paul. The past informs the present along this deeply emotional journey, during which Steve Jobs never leaves the stage. Bates has established distinct musical idioms for each character and notes that “as they interact, their music will blend almost like on a DJ rig.”
According to scenic designer Victoria Tzykun: “The products and experiences that Steve Jobs dreamed up with his teams defied expectations and provided a sense of wonder. That sense of wonder is what is very important for us to capture in this production. In order to provide that for modern audiences, we are harnessing cutting-edge technology and fusing it with traditional stagecraft in a way that will create a world that has never yet been seen on an operatic stage: a visually minimal physical environment that can morph in an endless variety of ways through physical movement, video and light. The scenic units will glow from within and be projected on as they move about the stage, seamlessly blending the different mediums.”
Since its inception in 1923, San Francisco Opera has embodied a spirit of innovation. From the building of the iconic War Memorial Opera House in 1932 to the creation of the Merola Opera Program and Adler Fellowships, San Francisco Opera continues to be an industry leader in the opera world. The Company has also had a long history of presenting world and United States premieres including a new work by John Adams, Girls of the Golden West, scheduled to open November 21, 2017.
For more information about San Francisco Opera visit sfopera.com.
ABOUT COMPOSER MASON BATES
Recently named the most-performed composer of his generation, Mason Bates serves as the first composer-in-residence of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His music enlivens imaginative narrative forms with novel orchestral writing, the harmonies of jazz and the rhythms of techno, and it has been the first symphonic music to receive widespread acceptance for its unique integration of electronic sounds. Leading conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas and Leonard Slatkin have championed his diverse catalogue. He has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, whether through institutional partnerships such as his residency with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or through his club/classical project Mercury Soul, which transforms spaces ranging from commercial clubs to Frank Gehry-designed concert halls into exciting, hybrid musical events drawing over a thousand people. In awarding Bates the Heinz Medal, Teresa Heinz remarked that “his music has moved the orchestra into the digital age and dissolved the boundaries of classical music.” In addition to performances of Liquid Interface and Garages of the Valley by the National Symphony Orchestra this season, the Kennedy Center will premiere a new work celebrating the centennial of John F. Kennedy. Scored for mezzo-soprano, orchestra and electronica, the work juxtaposes the poetry of longtime JFK confidant Robert Frost with excerpts of the President’s own words. Fall 2016 saw the release of legendary film director Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees, starring Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts and Ken Watanabe and featuring a score by Bates. In July 2017, Santa Fe Opera premieres The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, a kinetic and emotional exploration of one of the most compelling figures of our time.