The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs Opens July 22
An electro-acoustic score and technologically innovative production bring the Steve Jobs story to the opera stage
Mason Bates, Composer | Mark Campbell, Librettist
July 22, 26 at 8:30 PM; August 4, 10, 15, 25 at 8:00 PM
Sung in English with Opera Titles in English and Spanish.
A Santa Fe Opera World Premiere.
Commissioning and development supported by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Santa Fe, NM – The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs begins at a critical moment in Jobs’ life and circles back to examine the people and experiences that shaped one of the most influential figures of our time: his father’s mentorship, his devotion to Buddhism, his relationships, his rise and fall as a mogul, and finally his marriage to Laurene Jobs, who showed him the power of human connection. Mason Bates, a genius at combining traditional symphony orchestra with electronic sounds, composes this world premiere opera with master librettist Mark Campbell. Bringing their story to life in a technologically advanced production is an esteemed creative team led by stage director Kevin Newbury.
In the spirit of Steve Jobs’ innovation in the tech industry, this production promises to push boundaries. Victoria “Vita” Tzykun, the production’s scenic designer, explains, “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 to 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.”
Steve Jobs’ concept of a minimal design that encases something with endless possibility is what inspired Tzykun’s design for the show. The physical scenic elements function holistically with the lighting design by Japhy Weideman and video projection design by 59 Productions, the combination of which will create an immersive experience. “The core idea of the design is to create a visually minimal physical environment that can morph in an endless variety of ways through physical movement, video, and light,” explains Tzykun. “The scenic units will glow from within and be projected on as they move about the stage, seamlessly blending the different mediums.”
While the story of Steve Jobs has been told in a number of ways, what sets this production apart is the full sensory experience of opera. As Tzykun explains, “Opera allows us to explore his life through music, and metaphoric visual language, which can sometimes say so much more than just words could ever express.” Stage director Kevin Newbury adds, “Our production will be using language and music in combination with innovative technology and design to tell a story that most in the tech industry know well. Unlike the linear narratives of Steve Jobs’ life we have seen and read, our opera takes a more heightened, nonlinear, theatrical approach. Mason Bates’ score features music as varied as electronics, acoustic guitar, and lush string orchestrations.”
Rounding out the creative team are costume designer Paul Carey and choreographer Chloe Treat. Leading this production are conductors Michael Christie (July 22, 26, August 4, 10, and 15) and Robert Tweten (August 25). In the role of Steve Jobs is baritone Edward Parks, joined by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke as his wife Laurene Powell, baritone Kelly Markgraf as his father Paul Jobs, bass Wei Wu as Kôbun Chino Otogawa, Jobs’ spiritual advisor, and tenor Garrett Sorenson as Woz, his friend and business partner.
The mission of Santa Fe Opera is to advance the operatic art form by presenting ensemble performances of the highest quality in a unique setting with a varied repertory of new, rarely performed, and standard works; to ensure the excellence of opera’s future through apprentice programs for singers, technicians, and arts administrators; and to foster and enrich an understanding and appreciation of opera among a diverse public.