MASON BATES (b.1977): The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.
Catalogue Number: 07U073
Reference: PTC 5186 690
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: A larger-than-life, already quasi-mythical figure, Steve Jobs is in many ways the ideal subject for an opera, and this is exactly the kind of opera for which he is the ideal subject. Bates is accustomed to incorporating technology, and the kind of music technology makes, into the human context of an immensely approachable, tonal, neo-romantic idiom (03R079, 11R085). Since a major subject of the work is precisely the collision and reconciliation of humanity and technology, Bates is in his element here. Key scenes from various stages of Jobs' life are presented as clearly delineated scenes, like the panels of a meticulously drawn graphic novel, populated by exactly the right dialogue to demonstrate the characters' interactions as efficiently as possible, and circling back non-chronologically to make clear the connections between them (an Infinite Loop!) In fact, the whole opera effortlessly interfaces with the audience like the most user-friendly musical operating system ever. Bates' vocabulary is tonal and, depending on what he's trying to achieve at any given point, affinities with Adams, Bernstein or Michael Daugherty may come to mind, but the incorporation of loops of sampled computer sounds into the instrumentation and the driving techno beat that intrudes into the increasingly frantic scene of the company's unstable headlong rush into innovation under Jobs' increasingly erratic leadership (the first time around) are very much Bates' own personal touch. After the juggernaut has sped past, the final scene in which Jobs' re-connection to things that are essentially human is memorialised, is unexpectedly profoundly moving. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Edward Parks (baritone), Sasha Cooke (mezzo), Wei Wu (bass), Garrett Sorenson (tenor), Santa Fe Opera Orchestra; Michael Christie.