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Seattle Opera.

The (R)evolution of
Steve Jobs

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Feb. 23, 24, 27
Mar. 2, 6, 8, & 9, 2019

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February

23

Sat 7:30PM

 

24

Sun 2:00PM

 

27

Wed 7:30PM

 

March

2

Sat 7:30PM

 

6

Wed 7:30PM

 

8

Fri 7:30PM

 

9

Sat 7:30PM

 

Overview

Totally user-friendly.”

—LA Times

Music by Mason Bates
Libretto by Mark Campbell

Following the world premiere’s “rapturous reception” (The Washington Post), the Grammy-nominated smash hit makes its West Coast debut at McCaw Hall! Go behind the headlines for a “visually stunning” (ABQ Journal) examination of a flawed and hugely influential figure. When faced with his mortality, the visionary Apple co-founder revisits 18 of his most important memories in search of a perfect moment to take with him.

Mason Bates’ dazzling score features a glossy mix of lyrical and rhythmic music, combining traditional and electronic instrumentation. Mark Campbell’s compelling, funny, and touching libretto draws on universal themes of human communication and connection in its respectful yet unflinching depiction of Jobs’ innovative ideas and troublesome truths.

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© 2017 Santa Fe Opera

Listen to the music

© Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera, 2017

In English with English Subtitles | at McCaw Hall
Performance Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes with no intermission.

 

This opera contains some mature themes.   Read content advisories

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Synopsis

PROLOGUE
1965: The Jobs family garage, Los Altos

Paul Jobs presents his son Steve with a workbench as a birthday present and calls it “a fine place to start.”

SCENE 1
2007: The stage of a convention center, San Francisco

An adult Steve Jobs delivers a public launch of his company’s new product—“one device”—that will revolutionize technology. He ends his pitch noticeably weak and short of breath.

SCENE 2
2007, directly after: Corporate offices, Cupertino

Steve goes on a long meditative walk. He encounters Kōbun Chino Otogawa, Steve’s former spiritual mentor in Sōtō Zen Buddhism, who died five years before. Steve remembers something he once said: “You can’t connect the dots going forward. You can only connect them going backward.” As they gaze at the sunset, Kōbun prompts Steve to acknowledge his mortality.

SCENE 3
2007, later that afternoon: The hills around Cupertino

Steve goes on a long meditative walk. Kōbun Chino Otogawa, Steve's former spiritual advisor in Sōtō Zen Buddhism, joins him. As they gaze at the sunset, Kōbun prompts Steve to acknowledge his mortality.

SCENE 4
1973: A class in calligraphy, Reed College, Oregon

A teacher discusses the significance of the ensō, a circle drawn in Japanese calligraphy. Steve is inspired by the aesthetic ideas of elegance and simplicity.

1973: The Jobs family garage
Steve's best friend, Steve Wozniak, has created a "blue box," a device that allows the user to make free calls. Steve and “Woz” celebrate the ease with which corporate giants can be toppled.

SCENE 5
1973: The garage of the Jobs family home, Los Altos

Steve’s best friend Steve Wozniak has created a “blue box,” a device that allows the user to make free telephone calls. Steve and “Woz” celebrate the ease with which they think corporate giants can be toppled.

SCENE 6
1974: An apple orchard near Los Altos

Steve and his girlfriend Chrisann take LSD. Steve imagines their surroundings coming to life as an orchestra, playing Bach. The two start to make love when Kōbun interrupts them.

SCENE 7
2007: The hills around Cupertino
1975: Los Altos Zen Center

Kōbun informs Steve that he cannot live at the Zen Center and hints that his destiny may lie elsewhere.

SCENE 8
1989: A lecture Hall, Stanford University

Steve meets Laurene for the first time.

SCENE 9
1976: The garage of the Jobs family home, Los Altos

Woz presents a new computer interface to Steve. Chrisann arrives and tells Steve that she is pregnant. When Steve demands that Chrisann end the pregnancy, she leaves in tears. Steve and Woz dream about the future of their invention, Steve remembering the orchestra in the orchard playing Bach and imagining the computer as “something we play.”

SCENE 1O
1980: Corporate offices, Cupertino

Steve severs ties with Chrisann and angers Woz by denying a fellow employee his pension. Chrisann and Woz lament the loss of the Steve they once knew.

SCENE 11
1989: Steve Jobs' home, Palo Alto

Steve shows Laurene his sparsely furnished home. A shared love for Ansel Adams work and Ella Fitzgerald albums prompt Laurene to encourage Steve to find meaning in his work.

SCENE 12
1981-1986: Corporate offices, Cupertino

Steve denies palimony to Chrisann for their child, Lisa, and offends Woz, who quits. Demoted by the board of directors, Steve bitterly leaves the company he founded.

SCENE 13—15
2007: The hills around Cupertino
1989: A lecture hall, Stanford University (REPLAY)
1989: Steve Jobs’ home, Palo Alto (REPLAY)

Kōbun reminds Steve that it was necessary for him to learn from his mistakes. He helps Steve relive the more positive aspects of his life, like Laurene.

SCENE 16
2007: Steve Jobs’ home

Steve returns home after his walk to find Laurene waiting for him. She confronts him and persuades him to finally accept his illness and mortality. Laurene leaves and Steve is alone. Kōbun conjures the best day in Steve’s life: the day he married Laurene.

SCENE 17
1991: Yosemite National Park
2011: Stanford University Chapel

Attendees of the wedding gather in a circle while Kōbun officiates a Buddhist ceremony. Steve steps away to express his love for Laurene. The wedding scene changes suddenly into another ceremony and Kōbun informs Steve that he is witnessing his own memorial celebration. Steve protests a few production elements in the service, and Kōbun tells him to be still, to simplify. Laurene and Woz contemplate Steve’s legacy and their time with him. Finally, Laurene is left alone and observes that while Steve will be both lionized and demonized, no one can deny his influence on the world.

EPILOGUE (FULL CIRCLE)
1965: The garage of the Jobs family home, Los Altos

As Laurene looks on, Paul Jobs presents his son with a workbench on his birthday…“a fine place to start.”

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Dig Deeper

Why write an opera about Steve Jobs? How does Jobs' buddhism influence the opera's structure? And how does Bates' music reflect the pace of modern life?

 

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Cast

John Moore

Steve Jobs

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Steve Jobs, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs
At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Eugene Onegin, Eugene Onegin

Hometown: Milford (Okoboji), IA
Seattle Opera Debut: Count Almaviva, The Marriage of Figaro ('16) 
Previously at Seattle Opera: Figaro, The Barber of Seville (’17); Papageno, The Magic Flute (’17)
Recently: Count Almaviva, The Marriage of Figaro (San Diego Opera); Achilla, Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Glyndebourne Festival Opera House); Mr. Johannes Zegner, Proving Up (Opera Omaha)
Upcoming: Grand Prêtre, Alceste (Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisboa); Steve Jobs, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Seattle Opera); Zurga, The Pearl Fishers (Lyric Opera of Kansas City)

Last Updated: December 2018

John Moore

Steve Jobs

Feb. 23, 24, & 27
Mar. 2, 6, 8, & 9

Emily Fons

Laurene Powell Jobs

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Laurene Powell Jobs, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Sister Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking (Kentucky Opera); Ruby Thewes, Cold Mountain (North Carolina Opera); Cherubino, The Marriage of Figaro (Boston Lyric Opera)
Upcoming: The Child, L’enfant et les sortilèges (Berlin Philharmonic); The Child, L’enfant et les sortilèges and La Ciesca, Gianni Schicchi (Ongaku-Juku); Orontea, Orontea (Haymarket Opera)

Last updated: December 2017

 

Emily Fons

Laurene Powell Jobs

Seattle Opera Debut
Feb. 23, 24, & 27
Mar. 2, 6, 8, & 9

Garrett Sorenson

Steve Wozniak

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Steve Wozniak, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

Seattle Opera Debut
Recently:  Bacchus, Ariadne auf Naxos (Kentucky Opera); Steve Wozniak, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, world premiere (Santa Fe Opera); Laca, Jenůfa (Metropolitan Opera)
Upcoming: Faust, Faust (Kentucky Opera)

Last updated: December 2017

Garrett Sorenson

Steve Wozniak

Seattle Opera Debut
Feb. 23, 24, & 27
Mar. 2, 6, 8, & 9

Adam Lau

Kōbun Chino Otogawa

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Ferrando, Il trovatore; Kōbun Chino Otogawa, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs
At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Alidoro, Cinderella

Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Seattle Opera Debut: Papa, Makoto Kobayashi, An American Dream (’15)
Previously at Seattle Opera: The Speaker, The Magic Flute (’17)
Recently: Sarastro, Die Zauberflöte (Kentucky Opera); Frère Laurent, Roméo et Juliette (Utah Opera); Figaro, The Marriage of Figaro (Lyric Opera of Kansas City); 
Upcoming: Kōbun Chino Otogawa, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Seattle Opera); Oroveso, Norma (Utah Opera); Basilio, Il barbiere di Siviglia (Portland Opera)

Last Updated: December 2018

Adam Lau

Kōbun Chino Otogawa

Feb. 23, 24, & 27
Mar. 2, 6, 8, & 9

Madison Leonard

Chrisann Brennan

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Chrisann, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, and Frasquita, Carmen
At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Gilda, Rigoletto

Hometown: Coeur d'Alene, ID
Recently: Juliette, Romeo et Juliette (Wolf Trap Opera); Ilia, Idomeneo (Wolf Trap Opera), Zegner Sister 1, Proving Up (Washington National Opera)

Last Updated: December 2018

Madison Leonard

Chrisann Brennan

Seattle Opera Debut
Feb. 23, 24, & 27
Mar. 2, 6, 8, & 9

Morgan Smith

Paul Jobs

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Paul, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Seattle Opera Debut: Donald, Billy Budd (’01)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Jim Crowley, An American Dream (’15); Count Almaviva, The Marriage of Figaro (’16); Riccardo, I puritani (’08) 
Recently: Joseph De Rocher, Dead Man Walking (Kentucky Opera); Eugene Onegin, Eugene Onegin (Lyric Opera of Kansas City); Scarpia, Tosca (National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra)
Upcoming: Herman Broder, Enemies, A Love Story (Kentucky Opera); Tadeusz, The Passenger (Israeli Opera); Musiklehrer, Ariadne auf Naxos (Cincinnati Opera)

Last updated: July 2018

Morgan Smith

Paul Jobs

Feb. 23, 24, & 27
Mar. 2, 6, 8, & 9

Cast

Creative Team

Mason Bates

Composer

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

Recently named the most-performed composer of his generation and the 2018 Composer of the Year by Musical America, Mason Bates serves as the first composer-in-residence of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  His symphonic music is the first to receive widespread acceptance for its unique integration of electronic sounds. The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs was hailed as the best-selling new production in the history of Santa Fe Opera.  As both a DJ and a curator, he has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, through his residency with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and his club/classical project Mercury Soul, which transforms spaces ranging from commercial clubs to Frank Gehry-designed concert halls into exciting, hybrid musical events. 

Last updated: December 2017

Mason Bates

Composer

Seattle Opera Debut

Mark Campbell

Librettist

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

Hometown: New York, NY
Mark Campbell’s work as a librettist is at the forefront of the contemporary opera scene in this country, with five new operas premiering in 2017 alone. His best-know work is Silent Night, which received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Other operas include Later the Same Evening, The Manchurian Candidate, Bastianello/Lucretia, Volpone, As One (produced at Seattle Opera in 2016), The Shining,and Elizabeth Cree. 

Last updated: December 2017

Mark Campbell

Librettist

Nicole Paiement

Conductor

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

Hometown: San Francisco, CA 
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Michael van der Aa’s Sunken Garden, American premiere (Dallas Opera); Kevin Puts’s Silent Night (Glimmerglass & Washington National Opera); Joby Talbot’s Everest, world premiere (Dallas Opera)
Upcoming: Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Laura Kaminsky’s Today It Rains, world premiere (Opera Parallèle San Francisco)

 Last updated: December 2017

Nicole Paiement

Conductor

Seattle Opera Debut

Kevin Newbury

Director

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

Hometown: New York, NY
Seattle Opera Debut: Mary Stuart (’16)
Recently: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, world premiere(Santa Fe Opera); The Perfect American (Chicago Opera Theater); Norma (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Upcoming: Faust and Fellow Travelers (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Norma (Houston Grand Opera)

Last updated: December 2017

Kevin Newbury

Director

Vita Tzykun

Set Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

Hometown: Odessa, Ukraine 
Seattle Opera Debut: Semele (’15)
Recently: Scenic designer, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, world premiere (Santa Fe Opera); Costume designer,The Passenger (The Bolshoi Theater | Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theater); Costume designer, Dinner At Eight, world premiere (Minnesota Opera)
Upcoming: Scenic and costume designer, Faust (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Last updated: December 2017

Vita Tzykun

Set Designer

Paul Carey

Costume Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

Hometown: Wooster, OH
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, world premiere (Santa Fe Opera);Fellow Travelers (Cincinnati Opera and Prototype Festival); Kansas City Choir Boy (American Repertory Theater)
Upcoming: The Revolution of Steve Jobs (Indiana University); Fellow Travelers (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Bernstein’s Mass (Ravinia Festival)

Last updated: December 2017

Paul Carey

Costume Designer

Seattle Opera Debut

Creative Team

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Sponsors

2018/19 Season Sponsor

Lenore M. Hanauer

Production Sponsor

Lenore M. Hanauer
ArtsFund
C.E. Stuart Charitable Trust
Tagney Jones Family Fund at Seattle Foundation

 

Co-commission with Santa Fe Opera and San Francisco Opera, with support from Cal Performances
Co-production with Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, and The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Photos © Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera, 2017