The dramatic details of Steve Jobs’ life are playing out in a new opera

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The dramatic details of Steve Jobs’ life are playing out in a new opera

The Making of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, The Santa Fe Opera

Steve Jobs has been the subject of all kinds of art over the years, and now scenes from his life will play out on stage with powerful vocals in a new opera. The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs highlights the “complicated and messy” life of the Apple cofounder and is the product of a partnership between composer Mason Bates and librettist/Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Campbell.

Pairing something as contemporary as the story of Steve Jobs and Apple with a classical medium such as opera may seem like a mismatch. But Bates was convinced he and Campbell could produce a compelling opera focusing on a big theme of Jobs’ life—his need to control everything and make a perfect product, in contrast with the inherent uncontrollable nature of life.

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs isn’t a simple story, and that’s not just due to Jobs’ complexities. The stage production is nonlinear, recreating 18 scenes that occurred at various times during Jobs’ life and career. It features important characters that made Jobs’ who he was by the time he passed away in 2011, including business partner Steve Wozniak, his wife Laurene Powell, and Japanese priest Kobun Chino Otogawa, who helped guide Jobs’ conversion to Buddhism.

It wouldn’t be a piece of art based on Steve Jobs without some Apple products, and the opera doesn’t disappoint.  During the show, Bates takes a seat among the orchestra musicians and plays sounds from two Mac laptops. According to a report by The Ringer, there are also nostalgic Apple sound effects embedded into Steve Jobs’ character soundtrack. Jobs’ leitmotif, or individual melody, is composed of frenetic, folk-esque guitar sounds (Jobs was a guitar enthusiast) mixed with sound effects from old Apple electronics.

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs is now playing at the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico and will later travel to San Francisco and Seattle.

The dramatic details of Steve Jobs’ life are playing out in a new opera

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