Critical Acclaim for Mason Bates' "The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs"

08.08.17
Mason Bates

Wall Street Journal
“energy of the composer reacts to that of his subject to create something theatrically arresting & new”

The San Francisco Chronicle
"...Bates’ musical setting... brilliantly captures all the implacable ambiguity and thrilling creative energy of the event.”

“The opera, which is having its world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera in a theatrically arresting production...draws you in at every opportunity.”

Financial Times
“At the end of the world premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, the audience roared its approval as if it had witnessed a blockbuster musical.”

SF Classical Voice
“Exhilarating, moving, shocking, and enlightening…”

“A gripping and illuminating musical, dramatic, and visual achievement — one that transcends the divides of generations and genres — has just joined the operatic canon.”

“The score swings between mechanical, extremely visceral passages and surprisingly touching, lyrical ones of timeless beauty. It carries a deeply human resonance, transcending the ever-increasing anonymity of our computer age. The opera’s music is infused with wows and wonder, but also with warmth and wisdom.”

The San Jose Mercury News
“...“Steve Jobs” seems destined to enchant the very people who adore its namesake’s sleek minimalist devices, which means pretty much everyone.”

Chicago Tribune
“Bates’ music is some of his most inventive and alluring to date...”

The Los Angeles Times
“[Bates’s] first opera reveals a genuine feeling for the theater.”

The Washington Post
“Mason Bates, composer, and Mark Campbell, librettist, had a triumph on Saturday night with the world premiere of “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” at the Santa Fe Opera. The audience let out a whoop as soon as the music ended, and the curtain calls were downright raucous.”

Musical America
“There’s no question that the near-capacity audience for the second performance (July 26) voted its enthusiastic approval. They appeared won over as instantly as are the fictional conference attendees at the iPhone presentation, who join in singing one of the opera’s key ideas: ‘One device/All you need…’ Which is to say: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs makes a distinct first impression—itself a laudable achievement for a debut opera—and knows how to do what it wants to do effectively. The partnership between Bates and veteran librettist Campbell (who’s pretty much become the sought-after Metastasio of the current crop of American opera composers) has produced a sleek, streamlined work that’s user-friendly, ideally suited for frictionless consumption.”

Minnesota Post
““The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” an important, often thrilling new work…”

“Bates’ score has equally playful moments. Powerful brassy passages alternate with the gentle sound of acoustic guitar. For each of the main characters there is a specific sound world: Tibetan prayer bowls and soft Chinese gongs for the Buddhist temple scenes; a bustling mix of orchestra and electronics for Jobs; a grounded sense of calm for Laurene. ’Mason is changing what opera sounds like,’ said Campbell.”

The Santa Fe New Mexican
“A good deal of advance chatter focused on Bates’ use of electronic sounds, which he presided over from his computer setup in the orchestra pit. But it’s not like olden days when superimposing electronic sounds over an orchestra had an oil-and-water quality. Bates has spoken of how he considers modern electronica to be a further family of symphonic music-making — strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, electronica — and this score exemplifies his contention, with the electronic sounds weaving in and out of the integrated texture with a sense of inevitability. These are hardly unfamiliar sounds, to be sure. We hear them all the time in movie soundtracks, but Bates shows real expertise in using them to enlarge orchestral texture.”

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