Steve Jobs the movie was recently filmed at San Francisco Opera, and now a Steve Jobs opera by a Bay Area-based composer will receive its world premiere in Santa Fe. The world-renowned Santa Fe Opera announced the commission of an opera about the iconic Bay Area tech entrepreneur for its 2017 season. The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs will be composed by Burlingame resident Mason Bates with a libretto from Mark Campbell.
Bates is famous as a track suit wearing DJ and the second most performed living composer after John Adams, while Campbell is best known as the librettist for the opera Silent Night, which won a Pulitzer prize for composer Kevin Puts in 2012. Bates answered some questions about the Jobs work, his first opera.
What is it about Steve Jobs? Sure, he was charismatic and he was instrumental in getting Apple's sleek products in everybody's pockets. But isn't there something vaguely ironic about an opera about someone whose work routinely interrupts classical music performances?
The ubiquity of his devices speaks to how much he changed human communication. How can you simplify the richness of our lives onto sleek little devices when people are so messy? That tension lies at the heart of the opera, as does Jobs' journey from hippie to mogul to -- ultimately -- a someone with a deeper understanding of true human connection.
The opera will be workshopped this September in San Francisco in collaboration with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, and with additional support from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. How does that work? Does that mean you will be working with students from those organizations?