How could the person who indelibly connected humanity in revolutionary ways leave so many people in the wake of emotional turmoil? To me, this is the essence of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs and the reason Steve is such an operatic subject.
To explore the euphoria and struggles of people in Steve’s orbit and his inner journey, Mason Bates and Mark Campbell masterfully employ longstanding theatrical tools such as arias, duets, and ensemble numbers that position you, the patron, in a prime seat to experience both the intimate and/or global impact of a moment. What one may not expect from this relatively new creation is how briskly the story unfolds or the kaleidoscopic configuration of the scenes. With their approach, the creators acknowledge both a perceived attention-deficit of our society and a distinct artistic concept that forces performers and audience alike to stay solidly in the moment.
From my position in the orchestra pit, I’m immediately struck by the fluid approach of Mason’s orchestral palette; most notably, acoustic orchestral instruments working in partnership with the limitless sound world of Steve’s own Apple products! Over the course of the performance, you may notice scenes that have little or no contributions from “electronica” and others where you can feel and hear the computer world seeping into our existence. You’ll also immediately notice “Steve’s instrument,” the guitar, as his constant musical companion through the opera, as was the music of Bob Dylan and Bach to him in real life.
All of this adds up to a spectacular theatrical experience where every word and musical note is carefully chosen, yet the thrust of these thrilling 95 minutes flows like a stream on a sunny day. I think Steve would have appreciated that balance especially knowing our smartphones were within reach!
Purchase your tickets to The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs here.
Production photos by Erich Schlegel for Austin Opera.
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