Now This Might Be Just What It Takes to Lure Me to the Opera

I love going to see plays (especially musicals), movies, concerts, and other live performances (jugglers, magicians, comedians, etc.), but for whatever reason, I’ve never had any desire to go see an opera.

My perception of opera is that you sit there and listen to people sing in a language you don’t understand, so where’s the appeal?

I have a couple of friends who enjoy going to the opera, and tell me it’s worth going just to see the sets. That may be true, but I’m not going to pay $100 just to see the set.

To me, opera is the modern art of the performing arts world; I just don’t get it, and as a result, I have no appreciation for it.

I remember the scene from Pretty Woman where Richard Gere takes Julia Roberts to the opera, and Julia is visibly moved by the story. When I saw that scene, my first thought was that “I hope I never have to go see an opera.”

Well, now I may have a reason to go.

The Seattle Opera and the San Francisco Opera announced a partnership on Tuesday that they are underwriting both the already completed artistic creation of an opera about the life of Steve Jobs, led by composer and electronica DJ Mason Bates, and its physical stage production.

Sponsors of the Jobs opera are counting on Bates and librettist Mark Campbell to deliver a “deeply layered, moving portrayal of a man grappling with the complex priorities of life, family and work,” in the words of San Francisco opera General Manager Matthew Shilvock.

Charles MacKay, general director of the Santa Fe Opera, said Jobs provides the “sort of heroic, tragic figure” that operas have explored for centuries — who also may lure new and younger audiences to metropolitan opera houses.

“The proof is in the pudding and in how the audience responds,” MacKay told the Associated Press. “This is not an opera about technology, although it will be the highest technology production that we’ve ever done. It is an opera about relationships, and it is an opera about human frailties. … He could be a difficult man.”

Here’s a detailed description of the various scenes in the opera, and here’s a video clip about the making of the opera:

While the Santa Fe Opera is preparing for its July world premiere of “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” at its open-air summer stage in the foothills of New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains, MacKay cautioned that “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” could take a few years to reach other parts of the country — normal delays in the painstaking opera planning cycle. As beautiful as it would be to see the opera in Sante Fe, I’ll have to wait for it to come (hopefully) to the East Coast.

I’ve read books about Steve and watched movies, documentaries, and a seemingly endless number of YouTube clips about him (if you’ve never seen his graduation speech, it’s a must see – I’ve included it below).

So it will be interesting to see if I’ll learn anything new about Steve from the opera. And given my proclivity to get a little misty-eyed when watching movies and musicals, I wonder if I’ll have the same reaction Julia Roberts had when she saw her first opera.

Who knows, I may become a regular at the Met…

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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