SEATTLE OPERA The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs Opening Night Review: 2/23/19

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

McCaw Hall
Seattle, WA

John Moore (Steve Jobs) with members of the Seattle Opera Chorus. Philip Newton photo.


The question I was asked the most when I said I was attending the opening night of, "The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs" by the Seattle Opera was "how are they making that into an opera?" Heck even for me I was wondering the same thing to a degree. I saw the film about Steve Jobs a few years back but outside of that, I didn't know or remember much about the man.

Kudos to the Seattle Opera marketing department as they have been (as they always do) promoting this show on a daily basis, building up to the opening night on Saturday. I read and watched what they shared on social media and it helped fill in the picture of what I was going to see and hear at the production.

With this being a new opera making its west coast premiere, the crowd was more diverse than normal. Well, I say normal like I've been going to the opera for years - more like it was more diverse than the last opera I attended in January. There were more folks that looked tech oriented (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc) in attendance as well as more traditional opera attendees.

John Moore (Steve Jobs) and Emily Fons (Laurene Powell Jobs). Philip Newton photo

The show was approximately 1 hour and 37 minutes with no intermission. So, arrive early and claim your seat before the show starts. No late seating allowed.

The set design stood out from the start of the show. Obviously wanting to make it scream high tech based on the opera subject matter, the large objects on stage that looked somewhat like a blank smart phone were utilized to great effect to show different projections, and were moved around to really change the scenes effectively.

The soundscape was distinctly noticeable and very well done. There has been some chatter due to the mic'd up opera singers but it didn't bother me at all. And, from an audio engineers perspective, it makes total sense (I dabbled as an audio engineer many years ago).

The story of Steve Jobs is a complicated one. He was clearly a visionary that was also lost in his own world, caught up in the drive to bring his visions to life, at the cost of all of those around him. From his daughter that he initially disowned and wanted nothing to do with to his married family life that he did little to support (other than financially), his story has as many lows as it does highs. 

  John Moore (Steve Jobs) with members of the Seattle Opera Chorus.  Jacob Lucas photo.

And of course the main objects he'll be credited for, besides the original Apple desktops computers, will be the iMac, iPod, and perhaps most of all, the iPhone. The theme throughout the production was one of Steve Jobs' life where he isolated himself from basically everyone at one time or another and the parallel to the iPhone - something that brings people together but also isolates them from the present day reality.

The cast was strong throughout the performance. John Moore was particularly compelling as Steve Jobs. He rarely if ever had a scene where he wasn't present in it. Emily Fons was wonderful as Laurene Powell Jobs. Her voice and acting portrayed a wife that was frustrated, supportive, and strong. Adam Lau as Kobun Chino Otogawa - who Steve Jobs learned from on his Buddhist spiritual journey, provided the polite comedy and bass that added another aspect to the show that was much needed. Madison Leonard sang her heart out as Chrisann Brennan and was a delight to watch and hear.

Overall, if you have never been to the Seattle Opera, and you consider yourself a tech-y or tech oriented, and you like the arts, this show is a great opera introduction for you. However, if you are looking for a traditional opera piece and you are also looking to begin your opera journey, this show may hit the mark in some ways but miss it in others.

Adam Lau (Kōbun Chino Otogawa). Philip Newton photo.

The show recently won a Grammy award this year and the buzz around it is definitely growing with each city it is staged in. From concept to production, the team behind the show must be proud of all their hard work over the last few years to bring this show to life.

So, just as you finish this review - what are you reading this on? Smart phone? Tablet? Laptop? Desktop? An Apple product, perhaps?

You're already in Steve Jobs' world. Go see "The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs" and decide for yourself whether his visions have brought people together or increased societal isolation.

See you at the opera!
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on FB
EA on YT

Special Thanks: Gabrielle for the credentials - thank you very much for the opportunity!

THE (R)EVOLUTION OF STEVE JOBS continues through March 9th, 2019.
Buy tickets here:  TICKETS

Seattle Opera presents The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.  Philip Newton photo.


Popular Posts