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Music and theater arts

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The Boston Globe

Maya Levy '21 speaks with Boston Globe reporter Steve Annear about “The 24-Hour T Ride,” a play written by Levy and friends as part of their work with the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble group. The group is “known to produce 24-hour shows in which only the title is decided on beforehand,” explains Levy. “You can expect silly incredibly local scenes that would not hold up if you performed it anywhere else. You can expect the actors to be having a wonderful time.”

WBUR

WBUR’s Lloyd Schwartz spotlights Prof. Tod Machover’s revival of “VALIS” at MIT, staged by Prof. Jay Scheib. “The score is an inventive and often hauntingly beautiful arrangement of synthesizer, live instruments, and electronically expanded instruments,” writes Schwartz, “which Machover calls ‘hyper-instruments,’ a compelling amalgamation of minimalism, medieval, Wagner and rock.”

Associated Press

AP reporter Ronald Blum spotlights the premiere of Prof. Jay Scheib’s augmented reality-infused production of Wagner’s “Parsifal” at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. “We sort of focus on a future society in which myth has become possible again," says Scheib. "But at the same time, we’re not that far in the future and the third act is set around a broken lithium-ion field. We’re set in a world that is somehow post-planet and post-collapse of energy production.”

WBUR

Collage New Music, Boston’s longest-running contemporary music group, will be performing at MIT’s Killian Hall on March 12, 2023, reports Lloyd Schwartz for WBUR. Schwartz also notes that Professor Emerita Ellen Harris will be introducing the Boston Camerata production of “Dido and Aeneas” on March 18 at Pickman Hall.

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Prof. Emily Richmond Pollock and University of Michigan Prof. Kira Thurman explore how the idea that performing or listening to classical music is an apolitical act flourished in the wake of World War II due to the process of denazification. “In moments of war and violence, it can be tempting to either downplay classical music’s involvement in global events or emphasize music’s power only when it is used as a force for what a given observer perceives as good,” they write.

Gramophone

Gramophone contributor Laurence Vittes spotlights Prof. Tod Machover’s “Death and the Powers,” an opera about robots and humans that has recently been released as an “electrifying surround-sound thriller.” Vittes writes that “Machover’s arsenal of music stands triumphantly on its own, fusing and defusing technoflash from the composer’s MIT Media Lab with rich writing for Gil Rose’s Boston Modern Orchestra ensemble.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Don Aucoin spotlights the virtual MTA Playwrights Lab, an annual festival led by senior lecturer Ken Urban that features “staged readings resulting from collaborations between MIT students and professional theater artists.”

New York Times

Prof. Jay Scheib serves as the director of “Bat Out of Hell – The Musical,” a show based on the popular Meat Loaf album of the same name, which opens this month at New York City Center. “Mr. Scheib said he was attracted to “Bat Out of Hell” specifically because of its reputation as an unstageable work,” writes Dave Itzkoff for The New York Times.

The Washington Post

Prof. Evan Ziporyn and his colleagues have created a multimedia, interactive performance that allows viewers to tour a spider’s web, reports Erin Blakemore for The Washington Post. “The group took laser-scanned images of the spider’s web, then associated different parts of the web with different sounds,” Blakemore explains. “They were inspired by the intricate, yet tough protein fibers that make up spider webs.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Zoë Madonna spotlights a performance by the Arneis Quartet at MIT, which included pieces by Prof. John Harbison and lecturer Elena Ruehr. Madonna writes that, “With high risks came high reward, and the Arneis Quartet offered an intense, indelible experience to the small crowd in Killian Hall.”

WBUR

Reporting for WBUR, Amelia Mason spotlights a collaboration between graduate student Ben Bloomberg and Jacob Collier, a singer and former MIT artist-in-residence. Bloomberg explains that he and Collier aim to use technology as a means to augment human capabilities, explaining that, “technology should do things that technology is good at, and the people should do things that people are good at.”

Boston Magazine

Boston Magazine’s Matthew Reed Baker highlights Prof. Tod Machover’s new opera, “Schoenberg in Hollywood.” Baker writes that “in typically Machoverian fashion, the production uses mixed media and time jumps” as it explores composer Arnold Schoenberg’s flight from Nazi Germany to California.

WBUR

Keith Powers highlights Prof. Tod Machover’s new opera, Schoenberg in Hollywood,” in WBUR’s guide to the most innovative operas being performed in Boston this fall. Powers writes that in the opera, Machover “investigates the improbable but true story of Schoenberg, the leader of the Second Viennese School, who actually did flee to Hollywood to escape the Nazis.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Jeremy Eichler spotlights Prof. Tod Machover’s new opera, “Schoenberg in Hollywood,” which looks at the life and work of the composer Arnold Schoenberg. Eichler writes that the opera is “at once an earnestly admiring tribute and an unconventional biographic fantasia.”