New York Times
By WILLIAM ROBIN
Opera and technology have long had an uneasy relationship. The one has always required the other — from the Baroque spectacle of 17th-century operas, with their deus-ex-machina gimmickry, to the stagecraft required to mount any contemporary production of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle.
Historically, though, opera tended to avoid confronting the technological head-on. Composers stuck to timeworn subjects from literature, myth or history. Machines controlled the staging; they didn’t usually appear onstage.
But we live with a different set of myths today, and contemporary opera has begun to reflect the age of Mark Zuckerberg and Edward Snowden. Thus, Nico Muhly’s “Two Boys,” a story of intrigue and murder in online chat rooms, which will arrive at the Metropolitan Opera in October; and Tod Machover’s 2010 “Death and the Powers,” a “robot pageant” featuring animatronic sets and a wealthy industrialist who downloads his own consciousness. And in David Lang’s “whisper opera” — which will have its New York premiere on Saturday at the Clark Studio Theater at Lincoln Center — the Internet takes center stage. MORE