by VICTORIA HENLEY
Founded in 1979, The Atlanta Opera has cemented its status as a world class production company, garnering acclaim from critics and audiences alike worldwide throughout its storied 40-year history.
Operating under the guidance of Tomer Zvulun, the internationally recognized stage manager and Carl W. Knobloch Jr. General and Artistic Director, The Atlanta Opera works with renowned vocalists, conductors, instrumentalists and costume designers for a breathtaking operatic experience.
Visionary and unpredictable, the Atlanta Opera is known to bring both revered operatic classics and unexpected modern, contemporary pieces to the main stage, even pivoting their production aesthetic to an outdoor setting in order to accommodate the pandemic of 2020 with the wildly successful “Big Tent Series.”
Most recently, the Atlanta Opera presented “The (R) evolution of Steve Jobs”, a haunting, viscerally sharp, and unapologetically revealing portrayal of iPhone Creator, Apple Co-founder (and arguably one of the world’s greatest tech entrepreneurs), Steve Jobs.
The riveting opera begins with Jobs as a child being presented a workspace by his father, who encourages him to use the humble, hand-made wood shop to build, create, and disassemble things, as he was always naturally inclined to do.
Moving seamlessly between past, present, and future, “The (R) evolution of Steve Jobs” masterfully paints a deeply personal portrait of the ideas, events, people, and places that shaped Jobs.
As a young adult, our titular character was a college drop out without a clue regarding his life or career trajectory. Jobs — portrayed with staggering realism and great aplomb by praised international baritone, John Moore– sought occasional hallucinogenic escapes from reality with his free-spirited girlfriend Chrisann — beautifully played by coloratura Elizabeth Sutphen.
Partnering with his friend and collaborator, Steve “Woz” Wozniak — portrayed by tenor Billie Bruley– Jobs sets out to “take down the greedy capitalist pigs” including former giant of the telephone industry, Bell, by creating a revolutionary cellular device, through which individuals can connect with nearly anyone, anywhere in the world.
Just as the creators found themselves on the brink of a breakthrough, Steve’s girlfriend revealed to him that she is pregnant . Unhappy with this revelation, Jobs prompts her to “get rid of it.” Ignoring her calls, Jobs finds himself increasingly focused on his burgeoning corporation, which is driving him to become like the very people at which he and Woz balked at the beginning of their careers .
Finding himself shunned by his company shareholders due to his belligerent refusal to acknowledge any outside ideas or suggestions and at the center of much unwanted press regarding his neglected daughter, Jobs finds reprieve from the chaos upon a chance meeting with Laurene – superbly performed by mezzo soprano Sarah Larsen– at one of his lectures. He eventually marries and starts a family with Laurene.
Although his wife’s straight shooting advice and sensible logic help somewhat soothe Steve’s restless nature, a devastating cancer diagnosis begins to send him into a downward spiral.
Overworked and frustrated by his inability to function like the machines he created, Jobs places himself on a highly restrictive diet hoping to naturally repair his body without treatment and relies upon the wisdom of his spiritual guide, Kobun Chino Otogawa — a role stunningly inhabited by bass Adam Lau, who effortlessly infused his role with a rare blend of humor, lightheartedness, and undeniable poignance.
Beautifully performed and exceptionally acted, “The (R) evolution of Steve Jobs” has a gripping storyline that remains with you long after it ends.
The entire creative team created a breathtaking work of art through “The (R) evolution of Steve Jobs,” including Grammy-winning conductor, Michael Christie, assistant conductor Aaron Breid, associate director Rebecca Herman, assistant director Ricardo Aponte, scenic and costume designer Jacob A. Climber and lighting designer Robert Wierzel.
Special thanks to Greg for facilitating our spotlight features of The Atlanta Opera’s productions.
PHONE NUMBER: (404) 881-8885
Victoria Henley writes Backstage Pass for iHeart Radio and CTFashionMag.com
COURTESY OF ATLANTA OPERA