SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD Program Book | November 2018

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Clockwise from left: Students from Jackson/Mann K-8 School in Allston perform their classroom opera based on the children’s book Nasreen’s Secret School, Liza Voll Photography; Artists perform in BLO’s collaborative concert series with Castle of our Skins, Todd McNeel Photography; James Myers delivers a pre-performance talk before Tosca, Liza Voll Photography.



It was almost a century ago that Arnold Schoenberg warned his friend and fellow Expressionist artist, Wassily Kandinsky, as anti-Semitic actions and sentiment accelerated during the inter-war period. Schoenberg fiercely objected to his own friend’s permissive attitude to the mounting dangers, and wrote: “What can anti-Semitism lead to other than more violence?” When Arnold Schoenberg came to prominence in the 1930s, the world was readying for war; politics in Germany—where he lived at the time—were shifting in a frightening direction; and any new or radically different art was looked upon with derision, deemed “degenerate.” After a respite in France had ended, it became clear to Schoenberg that he could not return home and instead he and his family fled to the United States. Schoenberg, like so many of us in this country, was an immigrant. He settled for a short time in Boston, taking a post at the Malkin Conservatory in Back Bay and moving into a Coolidge Corner apartment. A year later, he was lured to the warmer climes of California and relocated to Los Angeles, where his renown allowed him to be absorbed into the Hollywood lifestyle, the celebrity culture, along with many other fellow refugees from the Nazi regime. Yet, he didn’t quite fit there either. A few years ago, when Tod Machover first discussed with me the idea for an opera about Schoenberg, I was initially surprised but soon found myself intrigued. Tod’s passion and the late Braham Murray’s great vision for this project opened my eyes to the artistic possibilities. This opera is about so much more than the personal journey of an early 20th-century composer. This is an opera about art itself—how it defines us, how it challenges us, and what it can accomplish in the face of adversity and uncertainty. Tod’s inspiration and Simon Robson’s libretto tackle life in a world gone to hell. The opera is about an artist who has managed to escape, only to struggle with who and what he is to become. Schoenberg in Hollywood also ponders how one continues to create after facing the abyss of human atrocity. It wonders if we can find hope in a world that seems to be falling apart. Miraculously, through pathos, wit, and unexpected humor, this opera find tremendous hope and optimism for a bold new future. This work is relevant and resonant. As is his genius, Tod upends contemporary opera again and brings it to an exciting new place. Since that first meeting where we discussed what would become Schoenberg in Hollywood, I have had the great privilege to witness Tod, Simon, director Karole Armitage, and their creative team on an intense creative journey, living out the very process that Tod illuminates through the opera—the artistic journey of discovery, of experimentation, of holding fast to one’s values and vision. It’s clear there’s much to be said by one composer about another. Along with his artistic team and librettist, I believe Tod has created an artistic triumph. And we are proud to present this World Premiere under our New Works Initiative.


Welcome 1

Support New Works 2

Board of Directors 3

Schoenberg in Hollywood Cast & Synopsis 4

Note from the Creative Team 6

Meet the Artists 9

“Schoenberg in … Hollywood?” 12

BLO New Works 14

BLO Orchestra, Chorus, Production/Artistic Staff 16

BLO Staff/Volunteers/About 17

Donors 18

Acknowledgments 21

Information on Venue 24

Thanks to our friends at Emerson College for welcoming us back to their beautiful Paramount Center, the perfect intimate space for this extraordinary new work.

Esther Nelson | Stanford Calderwood General & Artistic Director

Above: Daniela Mack as Rosina and Jesus Garcia as Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville. COVER: LIZA VOLL PHOTOGRAPHY


Boston Lyric Opera is committed to investing in the future of opera. Schoenberg in Hollywood is a prime example of our dedication to New Works and new voices, like composer Tod Machover, an artist at the forefront of his field. Support us and those artists who are devoted to the art form, who will continue to add to the genre for generations to come. Support from BLO donors goes far beyond the productions seen on stage. In thanks, donors receive great benefits to enhance the opera experience, from our bi-annual magazine, CODA, that enriches your knowledge, to Orfeo Lounges, that bring you closer to other opera enthusiasts. To learn more about joining our community of supporters, we encourage you to visit BLO.ORG/PATRONS or call 617.702.8984.

Jesse Darden as Boy and Sara Womble as Girl, during an orchestra workshop of Schoenberg in Hollywood in the spring of 2018. Tod Machover, composer, with David Angus, conductor. JONATHAN WILLIAMS


A MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD CHAIR As BLO presents the premiere of an exciting new opera—Schoenberg in Hollywood—we do so with the sense of anticipation that accompanies a new creation. While breaking new ground can be difficult and, at times, daunting, we are committed to introducing new work, while continuing to offer “the classics”—often to audience members for the first time. Like any true opera lover, I relish the classics. The enduring canon of operatic works is popular for a reason. And whether a production is traditional or contemporary, the story, the music, and the voices can bring us easily to a place of deep emotion and meaning. But also like any true opera lover who cares deeply for the art form and its future, I welcome the new, the as yet untold, the as yet unheard. The future of opera lies in the hands of companies like Boston Lyric Opera which work to keep the classics fresh and accessible, and develop the classics of tomorrow. Imagine if the American musical theatre had stopped with Oklahoma! and Carousel, never to move on to West Side Story or Hamilton (currently playing just down the street). I was reminded recently—while walking through the excited, diverse crowds clamoring to enter that hit musical—all art forms are continually renewed and enriched by the energy, inclusiveness, and innovation of new works. With Schoenberg in Hollywood, BLO continues to be a leader in the field. Through the financial support of our opera family—including many of you here at this performance—BLO enjoys the ability to chart the future with forward-looking artists like composer Tod Machover and his creative team. Living and working in the Boston area offers a wonderful mix of old and new each day. This is a place where residents whose ancestors settled here generations back live alongside newcomers from across the country and around the world. Where Colonial-era cobblestones make a pathway to gleaming modern buildings. And where an 18th-century barber named Figaro makes way for a 21st-century opera about a composer finding the courage to be true to himself. Your support and your ticket purchase help BLO follow its creative vision, too. For that, I thank you.

Michael J. Puzo | Chair, Board of Directors

BOARD CHAIR Michael J. Puzo VICE-CHAIR Miguel de Bragança TREASURER Susan W. Jacobs CLERK Dr. Irving H. Plotkin STANFORD CALDERWOOD GENERAL & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Esther Nelson, Ex Officio Linda Cabot Black Willa Bodman Alicia Cooney

Wayne Davis Alan Dynner Robert Eastman Andrew Eisenberg Thomas D. Gill, Jr. Mimi Hewlett Amelia Welt Katzen Maria J. Krokidas Jeffrey E. Marshall Abigail B. Mason Anne M. Morgan A. Neil Pappalardo E. Lee Perry William Pounds David W. Scudder Susan R. Shapiro Ray Stata Christopher Tadgell Lady Juliet Tadgell

BOARD OF OVERSEERS CO-CHAIRS L. Joseph LoDato Samuel Y. Parkinson Lawrence St. Clair James Ackerman Sarah Ashby Kimberly Balfour Elizabeth Barker Edward Bell Richard M. Burnes, Jr. Ellie Cabot Carol Deane Amos Deinard JoAnne Walton Dickinson Jessica Donohue Timothy Fulham David Hoffman Kathleen Hull

Amy Hunter Ernest Jacob Louise Johnson Ellen Kaplan Stephen T. Kunian Pam Kunkemueller Louis Lévy Russell Lopez Anita Loscalzo M. Lynne Markus Jillian McGrath Jane Pisciottoli Papa Susanne Potts Carl Rosenberg Carol Rubin Allison Ryder Alex Senchak Wendy Shattuck Wynne Szeto Frank Tempesta

Richard Trant Amy Tsurumi Lydia Kenton Walsh Robert Walsh Peter J. Wender Tania Zouikin EMERITI Steven P. Akin J.P. Barger Horace H. Irvine II Sherif A. Nada

As of October 24, 2018







BRAHAM MURRAY (1943-2018)
















ANNIE RABBAT Concertmaster









MUSIC DIRECTOR DAVID ANGUS 2018/19 Season Sponsor, Linda Cabot Black

SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD An Opera by Tod Machover Music by Tod Machover Libretto by Simon Robson Based on a scenario by Braham Murray Commissioned by Boston Lyric Opera Sung in English with English surtitles


Performance running time is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. TALKBACKS will be held immediately following each performance. EMERSON PARAMOUNT CENTER ROBERT J. ORCHARD STAGE 559 WASHINGTON STREET BOSTON, MA 02111

CAST in order of vocal appearance A BOY




Sponsored by Katie & Paul Buttenwieser


Sponsored by Mimi Hewlett


Sponsored by Willa & Taylor Bodman

SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD PRODUCTION SPONSORS We recognize and thank our production sponsors for their generous and visionary support of this World Premiere:

*Boston Lyric Opera Debut

† Boston Lyric Opera Jane and Steven Akin

Emerging Artist

‡ B oston Lyric Opera Jane and Steven Akin

Emerging Artist Alumnus

**Principal Artist-in-Residence

Amphion Foundation M. Steinert & Sons National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency OPERA America Jane & Jeffrey Marshall, with special support for Tod Machover, composer David & Marie Louise Scudder, with special support for Simon Robson, librettist Mr. & Mrs. Ray Stata, with special support for Braham Murray, original production concept Linda Cabot Black, with special support for David Angus, conductor Susan & Dennis Shapiro, with special support for Karole Armitage, stage director



Braham Murray, who penned the scenario for Schoenberg in Hollywood and was slated to serve as the stage director of the World Premiere production, passed away suddenly this summer. Braham devoted most of his working life to the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre Company, which he established in 1976 with fellow directors Michael Elliott and Casper Wrede. He was the longest serving artistic director and did not retire officially until 2012. In addition, he collaborated on—and directed the premiere productions of—two other operas by Tod Machover, Resurrection for Houston Grand Opera and Skellig for the Sage Gateshead (Newcastle, UK). Braham made vast contributions to the development of Schoenberg in Hollywood, and his intellectual vigor, artistic insight, and keen wit are missed. We dedicate these performances to his memory.

SYNOPSIS “We are America. We are the new world. Now you are safe.” So sing two young, hopeful, American music students to their teacher. It is 1935. Arnold Schoenberg has escaped the horror of Nazi Germany. The great innovator and self-proclaimed torchbearer of German music now finds himself a refugee amongst the palm trees of California, playing tennis and teaching music composition at UCLA. “Once upon a time,” he muses, “the future was me. Now…it is annihilation.” How will the exiled artist move forward? Arnold has accepted an invitation to meet wunderkind MGM producer Irving Thalberg with a view to writing music for the burgeoning film industry. “Find new audiences; find new friends,” Thalberg counsels. This young Mephistopheles offers the modernist the mass audience he has been denied: “We can tell every man’s story,” says the glamorous, ambitious spokesman for the new, universal Art of Cinema. Troubled and tempted all at once, Arnold returns to his students. “I could play to a million people. And yet…who am I? ” Before he can look forward, he must look back. Unable to resist the thought-experiment, he engages with his own, innate musical playfulness: “What if?” he asks. What would the story of his life be, told in the new language of music and movies? “Play!” he tells his students. “We will do it together,” they sing. So, aided by his loyal students, he begins an imaginary odyssey through his past. Childhood is a silent movie, till music arrives with the monthly magazines from which Arnold teaches himself. There follows the soft focus of friendship and musical discovery with the young composer Zemlinsky; then the moonlit, silver screen fantasy of love and courtship of Zemlinsky’s sister, Mathilde.

Marriage and infidelity follow; Arnold is plunged into the film noir of jealousy, a private-eye Bogart on the trail of his own misery. As he finds his musical individuality, so the critics savage him and his colleagues laud him; he defies them with the élan of the movie musical, dancing through the pain. Love suffers: “I have pared everything down to the essentials,” he says of his music. “You have pared me down to nothing,” sings the long-suffering Mathilde. As she dies, he pleads: “Don’t leave me alone with Arnold Schoenberg.” With her death, the world descends into the Great War. From the ruin of Europe, Arnold begins again, armed with a new discovery: “Twelve tones only related to each other.” But in Arnold’s fantasy a new, horrific farce is unleashed: through the distorted lens of the Marx Brothers and animated cartoons, the atrocities of Europe’s anti-Semitism take over. With the homemade-movie happiness of a new wife, Gertrud, Arnold takes flight to Paris, and re-converts to Judaism, then, armed with a pair of Wild West revolvers—“a bullet for each tone”—Arnold-as-cowboy heads for Southern California and sanctuary. The Past finally catches up with the Present. Schoenberg in Hollywood. Schoenberg as superhero. Now he has looked back, how will he go forward, and how to answer Thalberg’s provocative offer? As all conventions eventually break down, so Arnold indeed finds himself “alone with Arnold Schoenberg,” but responds now with a Vision that unifies all the paradoxes of his life and work. He gives thanks, free, fearless, and ready for action.

Synopsis by Simon Robson, librettist BOSTON LYRIC OPERA 2018 | SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD | 5




TOD MACHOVER, COMPOSER I started thinking about Schoenberg in Hollywood over 20 years ago, when I came across a remarkable book by Alexander Ringer called Arnold Schoenberg: The Composer As Jew. The book was a revelation. I had long admired Schoenberg’s music but didn’t know about his complex relationship to Judaism, or about how Nazi critics used his Judaism as a way of justifying their hatred for his music. I also discovered in that book the story of Schoenberg’s meeting with MGM’s Irving Thalberg—to whom he was introduced by Harpo Marx—soon after Schoenberg’s arrival in Los Angeles. All of this made me think about the interpenetration of politics and art, and about the tension between artistic purity and popular acclaim, in a fresh, broader way. Schoenberg’s journey—musical, spiritual and political—emerged for me as one of the great stories of our time, one that I wanted to tell. His meeting with Thalberg, poignant and comically absurd, felt like the pivot around which the arc of Schoenberg’s life could be explored. I sensed that this was an ideal story for exploring the tricky relationship between uncompromising art and mass appeal, and of whether—and how—art can change the world. Creating this opera became a sort of obsession for me, but many thought that it was too wild a story or too impractical to produce. When Esther Nelson approached me about writing a new work for Boston Lyric Opera, I told her about this Schoenberg idea and she immediately said, “This is it!” I am deeply grateful to her for believing in the project and for giving me the opportunity to realize this dream. 6 | BOSTON LYRIC OPERA 2018 | SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD

I grew up immersed in Schoenberg’s musical world. My parents’ tastes in music were highly eclectic, and our home was filled with Bach, Beethoven, Schoenberg, Cage, and beyond. At Juilliard, I studied with the composers Roger Sessions and Elliott Carter, both of whom had been deeply influenced by Schoenberg. When Sessions described Schoenberg’s vast importance by telling me that “Schoenberg owned the estate where Berg and Webern were the gardeners,” I knew exactly what he meant. You really can find everything in Schoenberg, much as you can in Bach. I was drawn to the deep expressivity and richness of Schoenberg’s music, to the way it absorbs the past while always feeling totally new, and to the way his music combines overwhelming emotion with powerfully rigorous—but always imaginative and non-academic—intellect. As I found my own voice as a composer, I moved toward a simpler, more direct form of expression—identifying more with Cage than with Carter, more with The Beatles than with Boulez. But over the past 10 years or so, I have realized how much of Schoenberg’s sound, texture, complexity, and variety have influenced me, and how important his values are to me. Working on Schoenberg in Hollywood has led me to appreciate Schoenberg’s unmatchable, uncompromising integrity as an artist, along with his lifelong search to combine a deeply personal vision with a profound desire to change the world. There were many complex aspects to this project, but finding the right musical language and sound world was perhaps the most challenging of all. I wanted the work to be infused with


Tod Machover and Simon Robson during a 2017 piano workshop of Schoenberg in Hollywood.

Schoenberg but not to be a pastiche. I also wanted it to tell the history of musical language, because Schoenberg’s music evolved so much and in itself incorporated so much previous music. Lastly, I wanted to find a musical language for this opera that could be poised on the razor’s edge between accessibility and complexity, dipping from one side to the other with the slightest tweak. Not surprisingly, I had to invent my own language to do this. So most of the music in the opera is mine, although there are a few quotes from Schoenberg as well as a kind of blitz near the end with a lot of Schoenberg fragments juxtaposed, as if we were able to glimpse suddenly into his musical mind. The opera builds to a climax called “Schoenberg’s Vision,” in which I imagined what it would sound and feel like to reconcile the many opposites that Schoenberg grappled with, if only for a moment. To do this, I had to find melodies, harmonies, and textures (augmented subtly with electronics) that follow their own logic while both welcoming and illuminating Schoenberg’s own. I hope that audiences are tantalized, challenged, and delighted by this music, and go away with some tunes to hum—perhaps some of them in 12-tones. I also hope that audiences will leave the opera admiring and loving Schoenberg as much as I do. He is one of the greatest composers who ever lived and, in my view, many people still do not appreciate the breadth of his achievement or the richness of his legacy. The title of the opera is not exactly misleading, but it is a bit sly. When I started imagining the piece, I thought that it would mostly revolve around Schoenberg’s life as an exile in the Los Angeles of the 1930s and 1940s. The whole opera could have been filled with tennis matches with George Gershwin and garden parties with Charlie Chaplin. But Braham Murray—my close creative collaborator on the project, as he had been on my Resurrection and

Skellig operas, and to whom I have dedicated this opera—had the idea of using the Thalberg meeting as a framing device from which Schoenberg would reconsider his whole life…through the lens of film history! So while the opera begins and ends in Hollywood, we also journey with Schoenberg more widely through place and time. I’d like to extend special thanks to my friend and colleague Leslie Epstein for valued advice during the initial phase of this project. And I am very grateful to the many wonderful collaborators on this project, from the brilliant actor and writer Simon Robson who has crafted a most intricate and witty libretto, to media artist and MIT Media Lab grad Peter Torpey who has imagined projections that shift the stage from filmic to very real in a lightning flash, to Ben Bloomberg who has worked his characteristic sonic magic to blend acoustics and electronics in subtle and startling ways, to choreographer Karole Armitage who designed the movement language for the piece and then took over the direction following Braham’s passing, and to the amazing singers, musicians, production teams, student engineers and artists at the MIT Media Lab, and so many more. Because I often invent new technologies and because many of my musical projects are quite multidisciplinary, I typically collaborate with all kinds of people, from experts, to teams of graduate and undergraduate researchers, to thousands of citizens from every conceivable background in my City Symphony projects. But in this opera, it feels as if I have been collaborating with Schoenberg himself, trading with him sounds and ideas and experiences and even jokes. I have learned immeasurably from “Arnold” during this process, and I hope that what we have done in Schoenberg in Hollywood—together—would have made him smile, and sing… and maybe even dance. w

SIMON ROBSON, LIBRETTIST It was an irresistible scenario, posited to me by Tod Machover and Braham Murray: Harpo Marx brokers a meeting between Schoenberg and the legendary MGM producer Irving Thalberg, with a view to the composer writing for the movies. That much is fact. Now the fiction: provoked, or intrigued, or at a desperate personal crossroads, Arnold Schoenberg looks back over his life as if it were expressed in the language of his new home—Hollywood. The movies. The ground-breaking, Viennese composer, the writer of allegedly esoteric music, suddenly finds himself in the populist, popcorn playground of 20th-century storytelling. And all this in 1935, as European civilization crumbles; as Arnold, a Jew, finds himself a refugee in the New World. In telling his story, I first had to consider which cinema conventions to employ. It seemed to make sense to be chronological—to begin with silent movies and see the medium grow older along

with Arnold. Yet to stop at 1935, the present day of the opera, seemed to deny what the medium was about to become. Since Schoenberg’s music and influence looked to the future, I felt his imagination should look forward also—to the thrillers and musicals of the 1940s, and the Westerns of the ’50s. Some events in the composer’s life seemed best related through conventions that obviously mirrored his mental state—such as the Raymond Chandler thriller sequence as he follows the trail of his wife’s affair. At other times, I felt that the sheer inappropriateness of a certain style or genre, be it Marx Brothers or animated films, might best relay the shock and indeed the impossibility of any narrative to portray the worst atrocities of that time. Some mini-movies ended up on the cutting room floor or morphed as we refined our approach—what was once a Boris Karloff style horror sequence is now a Hollywood musical dance. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE u BOSTON LYRIC OPERA 2018 | SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD | 7

But where was Arnold’s “reality” in all this? In very early drafts, I had him returning to his comfortable LA home after his meeting with Thalberg. But this rooted the action in a very specific, naturalistic setting, from which there was no obvious springboard into his imaginative journey. Then, in a discussion about Schoenberg’s role as a teacher, Tod suggested we reference his students—and that provided a crucial frame for the whole opera. I shifted the “action” to the neutrality of the lecture room, with his pupils able to engage with him in the notion of play, giving Arnold a sense of power over his past and, by implication, his future—something which he lacks at the start, as a refugee in crisis. So I was able to deploy the Boy and Girl as his willing muses, educating and being educated all at once. Telling this story, of course, involves a contradiction—to see a composer so reviled for being difficult and inaccessible seeking to express himself in such populist terms. But that was Schoenberg’s

contradiction, too. As he says to Thalberg, he’s “short of an ending” to his opera, Moses und Aron, in which he attempted to articulate just that conflict. The difficulty of expressing the specific in the language of the universal never goes away. But every attempt brings out the best in people. Otherwise art would be pointless. Collaborating with Tod and Braham has been truly thrilling; Tod has found a musical language that is both faithful to our story’s media, its historical context and yet always of the present—the difficult present we all occupy. It is inestimably sad that Braham Murray is not here with us to see the opera realized. He believed passionately in the role of artists to signal and generate change, to challenge and to express. And to, as Arnold says, “play, play, play!” But I know he would bless the contribution of the wonderful Karole Armitage, who has embraced so whole-heartedly the spirit of the piece, and found her own, unique vision to convey Tod’s magnificent score. w

KAROLE ARMITAGE, STAGE DIRECTOR My first encounter with Schoenberg in Hollywood was reading the marvelous libretto by Simon Robson, in which succinct, imaginative imagery paints a fascinating, humorous portrait of a complex artist. Tod Machover’s score brings this portrait to life, with vibrant rhythms and timbres written in his unique compositional voice, yet incorporating the soundtrack of Schoenberg’s life: references to Bach, musicals, movies, and Schoenberg’s own work are threaded throughout. The words are set to music in such a way that they are natural and easy to understand, and the score creates a visceral experience, portraying the clashing forces that make up the political, personal, and artistic destiny of a man.


Karole Armitage works with Omar Ebrahim, Jesse Darden, and Sara Womble during a rehearsal for Schoenberg in Hollywood.

and as the theater of identity. The production also plays with the history of movies, as seen in projections by Peter Torpey and the set by Simon Higlett. Torpey’s imagery depicts episodes from Schoenberg’s life and 20th-century events in a mixture of poetic imagery, recreated and real documentary footage, and visuals that interact with the singers on stage—a liminal, on-screen world that both parallels and expounds on Schoenberg’s memory. In bringing this rich musical stew to life, I hope you enjoy the wild ride offered by Schoenberg in Hollywood, as it careens across popular and esoteric traditions to portray a very full, and uniquely artistic, life. w


In staging the opera, I sought to get inside Schoenberg’s head. He stands on stage remembering, meditating on his past, measuring himself as a man. Much spins out of his control: the musical elite reject his compositions; his beloved wife dies; the cataclysmic rise of the Nazis forces him to become a refugee; Hollywood proffers a tantalizing carrot, but has no place for him. Like a rock, he stands up to contingency with wit, humor, and imagination. My direction dances on the fault line between a subversive form of musical theater—the ancient Japanese Noh theater of ghostly memory—and the spirituality of the concert hall and opera traditions. Mirroring the eclectic, yet highly personal, musical allusions of Tod’s masterful score, the staging references everything from iconic dances by Fred and Ginger, to tango and marching bands, to the Hora, and beyond. Body language informs the many changes of character by the Boy and Girl, as they embody a wide array of figures throughout Schoenberg’s life. At times, Arnold watches his younger self, portrayed by the Boy, and at others times he thrusts himself right into the action. The staging is constantly alternating between “play” as music, as imagination, as savagery,


Recognized in 2016 as Musical America’s Composer of the Year, Tod Machover has been called “America’s most wired composer” by The Los Angeles Times, and “a musical visionary” by The New York Times. Mr. Machover is Academic Head of the MIT Media Lab, where he is also Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media and Director of the Opera of the Future Group. He is especially known for his visionary operas, including VALIS, Brain Opera, Resurrection (performed by BLO in 2001), Skellig, and the “robotic” Death and the Powers, which has been performed in Monte Carlo, Boston, Chicago, and Dallas, and was a Finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Through his “City Symphonies” series, Mr. Machover invites people of all ages and backgrounds to collaborate with him—using specially designed online tools, smartphone apps, and public workshops and forums—to create a musical portrait of their city. After creating such projects worldwide, he is currently working on a massive City Symphony for Boston’s HUBweek Festival, as well as a Symphony for the Koreas, to help foster peace and understanding on the troubled peninsula. Mr. Machover’s music has been performed and commissioned by some of the most prestigious international soloists, ensembles and festivals, and has been awarded honors by institutions such as the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, the German Culture Ministry, and the French Culture Ministry. He was the first recipient of the Arts Advocacy Award from the Kennedy Center’s National Committee of the Performing Arts. In addition to his musical compositions, Tod Machover is renowned for designing new technologies for music performance and creation. His Hyperinstruments extend musical expression for both virtuosi and amateurs, and the popular video games Guitar Hero and Rock Band grew out of his Lab. His Hyperscore software allows anyone to compose original music using lines and colors. Mr. Machover is also working with his team at the MIT Media Lab to develop a new generation of multisensory experiences to diagnose and improve a range of brain ailments—from Alzheimer’s to depression—and to promote general health and wellbeing. Mr. Machover is currently working on commissions for the Kronos Quartet and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and is starting to plan his next opera.

BRAHAM MURRAY | Scenario & Original Production Concept Braham Murray was a Founding Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre Company, for whom he directed over 70 productions, ending with Bernstein’s Wonderful Town with The Halle Orchestra led by Sir Mark Elder. From the Century Theatre, where he was Artistic Director, he became a Founding Director of the ’69 Theatre Company; credits include She Stoops to Conquer, Charley’s Aunt, and Mary Rose. Productions include Uncle Vanya (Circle in the Square Theatre, NYC), The Good Companions, The Black Mikado, Andy Capp, The Cabinet Minister, and Lady Windermere’s Fan (all West End). Other credits include The Dybbuk, Waiting for Godot, Hamlet, Maybe, The Count of Monte Cristo, Peer Gynt, Riddley Walker, Miss Julie, Hedda Gabler, Othello, and the World Premieres of Snake in Fridge and Cold

Meat Party by Brad Fraser. He directed the North America premiere of Cold Meat Party for Factory Theatre, Toronto. Mr. Murray’s recent productions for the Royal Exchange Theatre include 5@50, The Bacchae, True Love Lies, The Glass Menagerie (which completed a national tour in 2008), and the World Premiere of Haunted, which completed a UK tour, toured to New York as part of the Brits on Broadway Season, and played at Sydney Opera House, Australia. He directed the World Premiere of Tod Machover’s opera Skellig for The Sage, Gateshead. He translated Moliere, Beaumarchais, Marivaux, Feydeau and Hennequin, and Veber and co-authored two shows, The Three Musketeers and Bats, all for The Exchange. His autobiography, The Worst It Can Be Is A Disaster, is published by Methuen Drama and his book, How to Direct A Play, was recently published by Oberon Books. He received an Order of the British Empire in January 2010 for services to drama. For a special tribute to Braham Murray, please see page 5.

SIMON ROBSON | Librettist

As an actor, Simon Robson has worked extensively with many of the UK’s top theatre companies including Shared Experience, Method and Madness, Hampstead Theatre, Bristol Old Vic and the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre and has appeared in London’s West End as Lord Darlington in Lady Windermere’s Fan, (Haymarket Theatre) and A Busy Day by Fanny Burney (Lyric Theatre). At the Royal Exchange he has portrayed Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Tesman in Hedda Gabler, Robert Chiltern in An Ideal Husband, and Billings in The Happiest Days of Your Life, for which he was nominated for a MEN award. He played the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac at Southampton’s Nuffield Theatre. Recent acting roles have included Prospero in The Tempest (Singapore Repertory Theatre), Elyot in Private Lives and Professor Higgins in Pygmalion (Royal Exchange Theatre). As a writer, his first play The Ghost Train Tattoo premiered at the Royal Exchange in 2001, and his collection of short stories The Separate Heart was published in 2004 and short-listed for the prestigious Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. His first novel, Catch, appeared in 2010. Since then he has adapted Purcell’s The Indian Queen for Les Arts Florissants and written the narration for Carolyn Samson’s Marie Fel concerts with Ex Cathedra. In October 2017 he curated and performed a concert of Shakespeare songs and speeches with Anne-Sofie von Otter and Julius Drake for the Oxford Lieder Festival, and was the Narrator in Purcell’s King Arthur for the Early Music Group Vox Luminis at the Aldeburgh Festival, reprised this winter in Belgium and Holland. Schoenberg in Hollywood is his first opera; he is currently working on a second novel.



David Angus is Music Director of Boston Lyric Opera, following a very successful period as Music Director of Glimmerglass Opera. He conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra every Season and is also Honorary Conductor of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra, where he was Chief Conductor for many years and built the orchestra into one of the most exciting young orchestras in Northern Europe. Maestro Angus now conducts all over Europe and North America. He began his career working at Glyndebourne, where he conducted a wide range of operas, and he went on to work in Italy and then across Europe. In the concert hall, he performs particularly in the UK and Scandinavia, and this Season, apart from conducting all productions at BLO, includes further work in the recording studio with the London Philharmonic, and performing with the orchestra of Opera North (UK) where he began his career.

KAROLE ARMITAGE | Stage Director

Karole Armitage, Artistic Director of the New Yorkbased Armitage Gone! Dance Company, is renowned for pushing boundaries to create contemporary works that blend dance, music, science and art. She performed in Balanchine’s Grand Théâtre de Genève Company and in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company prior to founding her own company in New York City in 1981. She directed MaggioDanza di Firenze at the Teatro Comunale in Florence; the Biennale of Contemporary Dance in Venice; and served as resident choreographer for the Ballet de Lorraine in France. She has directed opera at Teatro di San Carlo in Naples; Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris; Het National Opera in Amsterdam; Opera Saratoga; and choreographed two productions for the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center. Ms. Armitage also choreographed the Broadway productions of Passing Strange and Hair (the latter earning her a Tony Award Nomination), videos for Madonna and Michael Jackson, and the Cirque du Soleil production Amaluna. She has collaborated with physicist Dr. Brian Greene and biologist Dr. Paul Ehrlich. She is currently an MIT Media Lab Directors Fellow.

BEN BLOOMBERG | Sound Designer

Ben Bloomberg is a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab, where he was a 2017 Marvin Minsky Fellow. He specializes in the conception and implementation of interactive music systems, but has also created work ranging from custom electro-acoustic musical instruments to AI-driven performances. He joined Mr. Machover’s research group as an undergraduate student in 2007, and has been helping to imagine the sound and performance systems for Mr. Machover’s works ever since. Most recently, he collaborated with Tod Machover on his six City Symphonies and before that, his robot opera Death and the Powers. He has also designed customized interactive technology for Jacob Collier, Ariana Grande, Björk and others. Mr. Bloomberg is very passionate about finding human-centric experiences even when technology is abundant and predominant. This is his Boston Lyric Opera debut.


SIMON HIGLETT | Set Designer Simon Higlett has numerous credits in the West End, at all the major theatres in the UK and designs for opera worldwide. Forthcoming, current and most recent designs include The Price with David Suchet (Theatre Royal Bath), An Ideal Husband (West End), Twelfth Night (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Chalk Garden and The Midnight Gang (Chichester Festival Theatre), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em (both UK tours). Other highlights include Much Ado About Nothing and Love’s Labour’s Lost, Singer, A Russian in the Woods and Thomas More (Royal Shakespeare Company), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (West Yorkshire Playhouse and UK tour), The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni (Scottish Opera), Blithe Spirit with Angela Lansbury (West End and USA), The Force of Change (The Royal Court), Hayfever with Judi Dench (West End), Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Donmar Warehouse), Enemies, Whistling Psyche and The Earthly Paradise (Almeida Theatre), and Kean directed by Sam Mendes. Mr. Higlett is the winner of two UK Theatre Awards for Best Design and the Helen Hayes Award in the US.

NANCY LEARY | Costume Designer Nancy Leary is a Costume Designer whose visionary work for opera and theater has spanned several decades and graced various stages in the United States. From 2000 to the present, Ms. Leary has worked on operas including several new pieces for BLO, Virginia Opera, The Pittsburgh Symphony, Opera Saratoga, Utah Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Mobile Opera, Juilliard Opera, LSU Opera, Opera Boston, New England Conservatory, The Boston Conservatory, and Boston Musica Viva. Theater credits include Weston Playhouse, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, New Repertory Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Chamber Repertory Theatre, Boston Children’s Theater, North Shore Music Theatre and Knife Edge Productions, New York. She is also an Assistant Professor of Design and Production for Boston University School of Theatre.

PABLO SANTIAGO | Lighting Designer Pablo Santiago’s lighting design spans theater, opera, dance and gallery work. His work has been seen at Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.), the Paramount Center (Boston), Skirball Center (New York City), South Coast Repertory (Costa Mesa, CA), Mark Taper Forum, Geffen Playhouse (both in Los Angeles), Los Angeles Theatre Center, and more. Recent highlights include War of the Worlds with the LA Phil, Pélleas et Mélisande at Cincinnati Symphony, Breaking the Waves for Opera Philadelphia and PROTOTYPE Festival, Destiny of Desire at the Goodman Theatre and Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Flight and Pagliacci for Opera Omaha, Ted Hearne’s Place at BAM, as well as the professional World Premiere of Proving Up at Opera Omaha and the Miller Theatre (New York City), Eugene Onegin at The Boston Conservatory, The Threepenny Opera at BLO, and Boris Godunov at San Francisco Symphony. Upcoming projects include: Mother Road and Macbeth at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

PETER TORPEY | Media & Projection Designer

Peter Torpey combines light, image, music, interactivity, and storytelling. As the founder and principal creative at The nth Art, he collaborates with theater-makers, orchestras, museums, educational institutions, and other artists to create experiences that connect audiences and participants with stories and each other. By incorporating new technologies and techniques as part of his artistic palette, he explores novel modes of representing expression (Death and the Powers, 2010; Lilith, 2015; Fensadense, 2015) and presence in live performance (Remote Theatrical Immersion: Sleep No More, 2012; Powers Live, 2014; Ipomoea, 2017). Throughout his work, Mr. Torpey addresses the technological needs of complex performances and exhibitions, as well as the design of visual and experiential languages for each project. His media, lighting, and interactive works have appeared worldwide, including: Virginia Opera, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Chicago Opera Theater, Dallas Opera, 7 Stages Theater, Curious Encounters Festival, Best of Atlanta, Google, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Lucerne Festival, MIT Media Lab, and CalIT2 IDEAS San Diego, Boston Cecilia, Rockport Music, and The Boston Camerata. This is his Boston Lyric Opera debut.

JASON ALLEN | Wig-Makeup Designer Jason Allen has been Boston Lyric Opera’s resident Wig and Makeup Designer since 2003. A fixture of the Boston performing arts community, he also works with Huntington Theatre Company, Boston Ballet, and many other organizations in Boston and throughout the country.

JESSE DARDEN | A Boy Jesse Darden returns to BLO as the Company’s first Principal Artist-in-Residence, performing in all four operas of the 2018/19 Season. This summer, Mr. Darden returned to Santa Fe Opera singing the Officer in Ariadne auf Naxos and covering the role of Robert Wilson in Doctor Atomic; he previously served as an Apprentice Artist with the company in 2017, and has also completed apprenticeships with Chautauqua Opera and Opera North. Mr. Darden was a New England Regional Finalist with the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, won Third Prize in the Gerda Lissner International Voice Competition, and was a recipient of the Chautauqua Opera Studio Artist Award. He has performed roles and solos with Odyssey Opera, Dartmouth College, Piedmont Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and the Chautauqua Symphony. Mr. Darden is also a BLO Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artist alumnus.

SARA WOMBLE | A Girl Sara Womble is a BLO Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artist alumna, where her recent roles have include Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro (while covering Susanna), the Shepherdess in Tosca, and Gretel in an educational production of Hansel and Gretel. Other recent engagements include Ilia in Opera NEO’s Idomeneo, Countess Ceprano in North Carolina Opera’s Rigoletto, Susanna in Point Loma Opera’s Le Nozze di Figaro, St. Margaret in Odyssey Opera’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher, and Zerlina in Opera NEO’s Don Giovanni, and her North Carolina concert debut as a soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Winston-Salem Symphony. This spring, Ms. Womble will return to BLO to sing Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia and will appear as Frasquita in North Carolina Opera’s Carmen. She received a Master of Music in Voice from Boston University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Music Performance from Duke University, Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude.

OMAR EBRAHIM | Arnold Schoenberg Omar Ebrahim has been involved with many contemporary opera and concert performances, including Osborne’s The Electrification of the Soviet Union, Tippett’s New Year and Birtwistle’s The Second Mrs. Kong for Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Berio’s Un Re in Ascolto, Birtwistle’s Gawain for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Hans Jürgen von Bose’s 63 Dream Palace and Peter Lieberson’s King Gesar for the Munich Biennale and Tanglewood; and many more. He sang in the highly acclaimed performance of Birtwistle’s The Mask of Orpheus at the South Bank Centre’s Birtwistle Festival, and concert performances of Philip Glass’ Satyagraha at SBC London and the title role in Laman’s Agamemnon at the Holland Festival. As an actor, he has performed Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon at the Salzburg Festival as well as at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic; he also played Archie Cannibal in Chips with Everything at Leeds Playhouse, and Alan Yentob in the new musical Committee at the Donmar Warehouse. Recent highlights include Liza Lim’s Tongue of the Invisible with Ensemble Musikfabrik, Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro for English Touring Opera, and Danaos in a new version of Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women with the Actors Touring Company. This is his Boston Lyric Opera debut. BOSTON LYRIC OPERA 2018 | SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD | 11


Tod Machover in 2017.


“ Can a man know the truth and tell it to the greatest number and still be misunderstood? Can one man be of the many and still be known?” The title of Tod Machover’s new opera, Schoenberg in Hollywood, will likely be reframed as a question by many audience members, e.g. “Schoenberg in Hollywood?” What could the inventor—or perpetrator, depending on your perspective—of the musical revolutions of atonality and twelve-tone music, the composer whose works the philosopher Theodor Adorno described as severing the last connection to the listener, what could such a figure possibly have to do with Hollywood? The answers to this question that the opera poses can tell us a lot about Schoenberg, but they also provide interesting insights into how Machover has positioned himself in relationship to his famous forebear as well as the challenge of communicating complex ideas. Some audience members may be surprised to learn that in the year 1935, when the opera takes place, Schoenberg was in fact very much part of the Hollywood scene, living in a nice house in Brentwood with his two young children by his second wife Gertrud Kolisch (another son would follow six years later), building friendships with other émigrés and celebrities such as Thomas Mann and George Gershwin, and teaching at UCLA. But already 12 | BOSTON LYRIC OPERA 2018 | SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD

then, the question of “Schoenberg in Hollywood?” posed a problem to those who thought they had him figured out. His first American work was the surprisingly tonal “Suite in the Old Style for String Orchestra” (1934); one measure of just how surprising was an article that appeared in the New York Herald Tribune (with emphases from Schoenberg’s own copy): Only one thing more fantastical than the thought of Arnold Schönberg in Hollywood is possible, and that thing has happened. Since arriving there about a year ago Schönberg has composed in a melodic manner and in recognizable keys. That is what Hollywood has done to Schönberg. We may now expect atonal fugues by Shirley Temple. But as this opera enacts so vividly, no one explored the question of “Schoenberg in Hollywood?” more deeply than Schoenberg himself. Schoenberg’s lifelong way of thinking and creating was marked by an intense self-consciousness, considering his place in history and his influence on the future, and often experiencing a profound self-doubt. Central to this process of self-examination—and the core of this opera—was the question of how he should or could relate to the broad public, a public that Schoenberg both disdained and desired


Arnold Schoenberg circa 1948.

to reach. Schoenberg had made this dilemma the driving force of his unfinished opera Moses und Aron (1923–37). Throughout Schoenberg in Hollywood, Machover interweaves the defining dramatic opposition between the characters of Moses and Aron, with Moses tasked to be God’s prophet but unable to find the words, and Aron blessed with the ability to communicate, but lacking a true vision of the infinite. Schoenberg was most often associated by himself and others with Moses, rejecting compromise, dedicated to the pure idea, and embracing the image of noble isolation. The opera’s unfinished state and Moses’s closing lines, “O Word that I lack,” are often viewed as the perfect embodiment of the impossibility of communicating an ultimate truth. Thus, it is fitting that we first see Schoenberg with his back to the audience. But as Schoenberg in Hollywood dramatizes, Schoenberg also had a powerful affinity with Aron. This comes through in countless ways in his works and writings throughout his life, as for example in a 1931 lecture where he states, “there can be no one for whom it is more painful to be unable to communicate in an understandable way with his contemporaries.” We can see Schoenberg’s “Aron side” in his interest in engaging with jazz and other popular styles, his pieces for workers’ choruses, his orchestral arrangements of Bach and Brahms, and his fascination with new technologies including radio and—with central significance for this opera—film. The impetus for Machover’s opera might be thought of in terms of another answer to the question, “Schoenberg in Hollywood?” this time by the famous Irving G. Thalberg of Metro Goldwyn Mayer. On the suggestion of Harpo Marx, Thalberg approached Schoenberg in 1935 about composing a film score for the bestselling novel, The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck. As is foreshadowed in the opera’s second scene in Thalberg’s office, the project quickly foundered when Schoenberg demanded complete control over all aspects of the music and sound track. Yet this was more than just a sudden impractical whim for Schoenberg; he had been pursuing a visionary ideal for the new medium for decades through writings like his 1940 essay “Art and the Moving Pictures,” which argued that while the audience for artistic films would initially be small, people would want to experience them many times over many generations. He concludes, “perhaps people might come to realize then that art is less expensive than amusement, and more profitable.” Schoenberg’s idealism here also underscores a crucial dimension of his personality that comes through in several points in Machover’s opera and that is also evident in the kinds of projects that Machover takes on: a deep commitment to a belief that the world can be, and must be, made better. When Thalberg proposes setting the world to music, Schoenberg replies, “I’d rather set the world right.” Having experienced the rise of Fascism, Schoenberg was profoundly ambivalent about the public, and in Moses und Aron the masses are portrayed as fickle, easily misled, and prone to violence. But the whole point of the opera is about the vital need to persuade—and thus to liberate—the people, whose fate depends on understanding.

“...PERHAPS PEOPLE MIGHT COME TO REALIZE THEN THAT ART IS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN AMUSEMENT, AND MORE PROFITABLE.” - ARNOLD SCHOENBERG In the same way, we can see throughout Machover’s career a commitment to engaging with big challenges facing society, as in Death and the Powers with its meditation on embodiment and artificial intelligence, as well as works like his City Symphonies which engage the audience and their sonic environments directly in the creative process. In Machover’s opera, when his meeting with Thalberg ends with Schoenberg sardonically saying that he would “think about it,” that is just what he does, and in his most characteristic manner of thinking though an idea to its fullest conclusions. Schoenberg’s subsequent discussion with his students leads him to imagine what it would be like to rearrange his life in film, like the twelve pitches are rearranged in his “method of composing with twelve tones related only to one another” he developed in the 1920s. Following Thalberg’s suggestion, he considers what a film of his own life could be if he were Moses and Aron together, “the past and future, tradition, revolution; style and idea.” We thus experience, as if we were in Schoenberg’s mind, how it would be to tell his life through the tropes and clichés of Hollywood films, films that could perhaps make him understood and appreciated. In a remarkable feat of storytelling, the libretto by Simon Robson, based on a scenario by Braham Murray, manages to weave together crucial features of Schoenberg’s life story depicted in a range of the Hollywood film styles, including a silent movie, a 1930s thriller, a Western, and a darkly distorted animated film. Opera-goers can trust that every event depicted has some clear basis in Schoenberg’s biography, though often intentionally distorted as he imagines how his life would be told through the Hollywood lens. Besides Schoenberg, the opera uses only two other characters, male and female singers who take on all the roles, starting with his UCLA students in the opening scene who serve as embodiments of the New World that Schoenberg found so exhilarating and mystifying. CONTINUED ON PAGE 23 u BOSTON LYRIC OPERA 2018 | SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD | 13


Today, BLO’s New Works Initiative has grown out of Opera Annex, and is dedicated to the development and support of new pieces of opera-theatre. We are honored that this Fall’s World Premiere of Schoenberg in Hollywood marks the Company’s first full-length solo commission.


From top left, the cast during a 2017 piano workshop of the opera. Left, Braham Murray, original production concept; right, Simon Robson, libretto. Set rendering by designer Simon Higlett for the World Premiere production. Members of the cast and creative team. Left to right: Omar Ebrahim, Braham Murray, David Angus, Tod Machover, Esther Nelson, Sara Womble, Jesse Darden, and Peter Torpey.


In the 2009/10 Season, BLO launched Opera Annex, a series that explored rarelyperformed repertoire and built curiosity for the art form through immersive, unique opera-going experiences. Opera Annex quickly became an essential part of the Company’s identity and has given BLO opportunities to build relationships with many of the leading contemporary composers and writers in opera.


BLO NEW WORKS 1987 | BLO produced the first entirely computer-assisted opera ever, entitled Countdown. 1988 | BLO developed and presented portions of The Wife of Martin Guerre, with music by Roger Ames and libretto by Laura Harrington, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; the work developed further and eventually premiered as a musical at the Hartford Stage in CT. 1992 | BLO and Boston Music Theatre Project collaborated to present scenes from Elmer Gantry, by Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein. The work eventually premiered in full at Nashville Opera in 2007. 2011 | Opera Annex: Richard Beaudoin’s prologue The After Image was created in response to—and staged in conjunction with—Viktor Ullmann and Peter Kein’s The Emperor of Atlantis.



2013 | Opera Annex: James MacMillan’s acclaimed work Clemency, co-commissioned with The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Scottish Opera, and Britten Sinfonia, had its North American premiere at BLO, and was later released on the BIS label. 2013 | Opera Annex: BLO commissioned a chamber version of Jack Beeson’s 1965 opera, Lizzie Borden. 2017 | BLO staged its first full-length World Premiere: The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare by Julian Grant and Mark Campbell, commissioned by Music-Theatre Group with the support of BLO.

2018 | The Company’s first full-length solo commission has its World Premiere: Schoenberg in Hollywood by Tod Machover and Simon Robson, based on a scenario by Braham Murray. Schoenberg image by Media & Projection Designer Peter Torpey; Neal Ferreira, David McFerrin, and Christine Abraham in Clemency; the cast of the World Premiere of Burke & Hare; above, Omar Ebrahim as Schoenberg in a film noir-style sequence by Media & Projection Designer Peter Torpey. BOSTON LYRIC OPERA 2018 | SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD | 15
















Steinway piano provided by M. Steinert & Sons

Mike Janney Stage Manager Kirsten Z. Cairns Assistant Stage Director Bruno Baker Assistant Stage Manager Kate Johnson Assistant Stage Manager Christopher McKenzie Film Production Coordinator Carmen Alfaro Production Assistant Emma Cooney Stage Management Intern Lisa Berg Props Master Alex Brandt Lighting Director Harrison Burke Assistant Lighting Director Maxx Finn Assistant Lighting Designer Amanda Fallon Lighting Intern Liz Perlman Costume Director Lynn Jeffery Costume Supervisor Ben Bloomberg Sound Operator J Jumbelic Audio-Visual Supervisor Sizi Chen Producer of Special Projects, MIT Media Lab Eliot Bayless Video Technician Renee Goudreau Audio Technician JoAnna Pope Surtitle Operator Maynard Goldman Orchestra Personnel Manager



The Artists and Stage Managers employed on these productions are members of the American Guild of Musical Artists. All musicians are members of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.

Brendan Ritchie Head Production Carpenter Patrick Barrett First Assistant Production Carpenter Brian Willis Second Assistant Production Carpenter Michael Gottke Head Production Electrician Donald King First Assistant Production Electrician John “Jack” Sullivan Second Assistant Production Electrician Rebecca Marsh Light Board Programmer Hilliary Kramer Head of Production Properties Larasha Payne First Assistant of Production Properties Hilliary Kramer Hospitality Coordinator Dianna Reardon Wardrobe Supervisor

The scenic, costume, and lighting designers are members of United Scenic Artists, Local USA-829 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). Stagehands are represented by Local #11 of IATSE. Boston Lyric Opera is a member of OPERA America, the national service organization for opera in the U.S. and Canada.




Esther Nelson Stanford Calderwood General & Artistic Director David Angus Music Director John Conklin Artistic Advisor

Jeannie Ackerman Jose Alberto Sharon Barry Katie Bauer Allyson Bennett Laima Bobelis Pamela Borys Jane Cammack Susan Cavalieri Amy Molloy Michelle Chen Karla De Greef Marsha dePoo Mary DePoto Frances Driscoll Marian Ead Lee Forgosh Audley Fuller Linda George Christine Gilbert Hauray Mencken Graham Eva Karger Milling Kinard Esther Lable Daniel Levin Richard Leccese Nancy Lynn Domenico Mastrototaro Terri Mazzuli Amy Molloy Patti McGovern Anne McGuire Meg Morton Kameel Nasr Cosmo and Jane Papa Barbara Papesch Jeffrey Penta Yamel Rizk Nikta Sabouri Elizabeth Sarafian Sasha Sherman Barbara Trachtenberg Gerry Weisenberg Beverly Wiggins Debra Wiess Lynn Williams Sybil Williams

ARTISTIC Nicholas G. Russell Director of Artistic Operations Steven Atwater Artistic Manager Zachary Calhoun Auditions Coordinator Julian Killough-Miller Artistic Associate PRODUCTION Anna B. Labykina Production & Technical Director Amanda Robie Production Operations Manager Patrick McGovern Associate Technical Director Andrew M. Trego Production Coordinator Samantha Layco Production Administrative Assistant Jessica Pfau Master Carpenter William “Billy” Douglass Carpenter Thomas Farrell Carpenter Julia Noulin-Mérat Associate Producer FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION Karen T. Frost Director of Finance and Administration David J. Cullen Accounting Manager Reingard Heller Finance Manager Angela Rowland Senior Accountant Caitlin Hayes Finance & Office Coordinator Lizabeth Malanga Executive Assistant to the Stanford Calderwoord General & Artistic Director EXTERNAL RELATIONS Eileen Nugent Williston Managing Director Sarah B. Blume Director of Major Gifts Cathy Emmons Director of Institutional Gifts Robin Whitney Development and Outreach Manager Narcissa McArthur Development Coordinator Jeila Irdmusa Marketing & Communications Manager Madison Florence Marketing & Communications Coordinator JMK PR Public Relations Rebecca Kittredge Audience Services Manager Bailey Kerr Patron Services Associate Molly O’Keefe Audience Services Associate Rachel Webb Audience Services Associate Lacey Upton Director of Community Engagement Rebecca Kirk Manager of Education Programs Sara O’Brien Events Manager Patricia Au Resident Teaching Artist Lydia Jane Graeff Resident Teaching Artist IRN Internet Services Website Leapfrog Arts Graphic Design As of October 30, 2018

ABOUT BOSTON LYRIC OPERA Both locally and beyond, Boston Lyric Opera leads the way in celebrating the art of the voice through innovative programming and community engagement initiatives that redefine the operagoing experience. Under the vibrant leadership of Stanford Calderwood General & Artistic Director Esther Nelson, BLO’s productions have been described by the magazine Musical America as “part of the national dialogue” because of their role as entry points for new audiences. The New York Times observed that BLO “clearly intends [its productions] to catch the interest of operagoers around the country.” This view is shared by the nearly 25,000 people who experience BLO each year through dynamic performances, extensive partnerships with leading cultural organizations, and programs throughout our vastly diverse and exuberant community. BLO’s programming remains faithful to tradition while blazing new ground, building audiences, and creating new ways to enhance the opera-going experience. BLO’s Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artists hone their craft and prepare to expand their careers to other worldleading stages. And BLO’s wide-reaching education initiatives introduce opera to new audiences across generations. Through your support and attendance, BLO employs nearly 350 artists and creative professionals annually—vocalists, artisans, stagehands, costumers, and scenic designers—many of whom are members of our own community. The Company is proud to play a significant and meaningful role in Boston’s vibrant arts community.

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Board Member * Lyric Circle Member † Goldovsky Society Member § Deceased ‡

INSTITUTIONAL PARTNERS Boston Lyric Opera’s programs are funded, in part, by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Boston Lyric Opera extends its gratitude to the following vendors, partners, individuals, community organizations, and school partners for their extraordinary courtesy in making our 2018/19 Season possible: 4Wall Boston | Rui Alves, Mike Texeira Abby Lane Acentech, Inc. | Carl Rosenberg, Ben Markham American Repertory Theater | Stephen Setterlun Alexander Aronson Finning ArtsBoston Backstage Hardware Susan Bennett, M.D., Company Physician, Consultant, Associate Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital BOCA Systems Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Boston Center for the Arts | Gregory Ruffer Boston College Club Boston Public Library Boston Public Schools Visual & Performing Arts Office Caffé Nero Cambridge Masonic Hall Cartage America | Tim Riley Casa Myrna Chandler Inn Charcoalblue LLP | Andy Hayles, Gary Sparkes, John Owens Coastal Advisory | Tom Lynch Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP | Andrew Eisenberg, Will Krasnow Costume Works, Inc. | Liz Perlman C3 Commercial Construction Consulting, Inc. | Doug Anderson Jennie Dorris East Cambridge Piano | James Nicoloro Elderhostel, Inc. | Road Scholar Emerson College | Office of the Arts Eric Antoniou Photography Fessenden & Sykes Films Around the World, Inc. | Alexander W. Kogan, Jr. Furnished Quarters | Annette Clement Louis A. Gentile Piano Service Goldstar Grand Image Inc. | Tamir Luria, Shane Bandzul Timothy Hamilton High Output Inc. | Jim Hirsch Mark Howard Hubspot, Inc.

HUM Properties | Casey Smith The HYM Investment Group IATSE Local #11 JACET | Colleen Glynn IRN Internet Services | Jay Williston Jayne’s Flowers Inc. JMK PR Leapfrog Arts | Melissa Wagner-O’Malley Legal Crossing Liza Voll Photography Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation | Nick Connors mindSHIFT Technologies Inc. Mitel Myles Standish Business Condominiums NEPS Primary Freight New England Professional Systems | Bill Miller Production Advantage Opus Affair | Graham Wright Oregon Shakespeare Festival PABU Boston ProPrint Boston Quality Graphics, Inc. Robert Silman Associates Structural Engineers | Michael Auren, Ben Rosenberg Rosebrand Inc. Ryder Transportation Santander Scalped Productions Sebastians | Maureen Carey Sentinel Group | Denise Roney Seyfarth Shaw LLP | Brian Michaelis StageSource Starburst Printing | Jason Grondin Stoddard’s | Jamie Walsh The Strategy Group Tessitura Toshiba, Corp. | Cheryl Hayford, Todd Tweedie United Staging & Rigging | Eric Frishman Vantage Technology Consulting Group | Geoffrey Tritsch WBUR WGBH/WCRB


SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ABOUT THE MIT MEDIA LAB At the MIT Media Lab, the future is lived, not imagined. Actively promoting a unique, antidisciplinary culture, researchers in seemingly disparate fields—product designers, nanotechnologists, neuroscientists, artists, data-visualization experts, pioneers of computer interfaces, and many more—work side by side to invent—and reinvent—how humans experience, and can be aided by, technology. Since opening its doors in 1985, the Lab has pioneered areas such as wearable computing, tangible interfaces, and affective computing. Today, faculty members, research staff, and students at the Lab work in over 25 research groups and initiatives on more than 450 projects that range from innovative approaches to treating Alzheimer’s, to advanced imaging technologies that can “see around a corner,” to music that can radically shape community or reshape the mind. The Lab is supported by more than 80 members, including some of the world’s leading organizations. These members provide the majority of the Lab’s approximately $80 million annual operating budget. Research at the MIT Media Lab is tightly coupled with the graduate academic Program in Media Arts and Sciences, which offers master’s and doctoral degrees. MIT MEDIA LAB TEAM Tod Machover Creative Director Sizi Chen Producer of Special Projects Priscilla Capistrano Project Coordinator Ben Bloomberg Sound Designer Nikhil Singh Assistant Sound Designer Alexandra Rieger Voice Recording for Opera Soundscape

Nicole L’Huillier, Peter Torpey, and Hannah R. Lienhard Designers of Special Scenic Triangles Charles Holbrow and Sebastian Franjou Sound Editing Hane Lee Musical Assistance Rohan McDonald Animation Sequence

SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD, MIT MEDIA LAB EXHIBIT (OCTOBER 2018 – APRIL 2019) Ellen Hoffman MIT Media Lab, Curator and Content Developer Paul Montie Designer and Producer Gary Van Zante MIT Museum, Consulting Curator SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD SYMPOSIUM, MIT MEDIA LAB (1–4PM, NOVEMBER 17, 2018) Jess Sousa Director of Special Events Guest Speakers: Joseph Auner Austin Fletcher Professor of Music, Dean of Academic Affairs, Tufts University Anne Shreffler James Edward Ditson Professor of Music, Department of Music, Harvard Jeremy Eichler Public Scholar, National Endowment for the Humanities; music critic of The Boston Globe

SPECIAL THANKS Special thanks to the individuals and organizations listed below who partnered with Tod Machover, the MIT Media Lab team, and Boston Lyric Opera during the creation of Schoenberg in Hollywood: • Barco, for sponsoring the state-of-the-art projector system used in this World Premiere. • Stephen Setterlun and his team at American Repertory Theater, for engineering and building the special scenic triangles. • SAVI (Specialized Audio-Visual Inc.), for co-designing a custom-built sound system for the performances. • Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna, for its collaboration in conceiving the MIT Media Lab’s Schoenberg in Hollywood exhibit, and for its generous loan of so many materials never before shown in the United States. • Bose Corporation, for contributing headphones used throughout the MIT Media Lab exhibit. And special gratitude is extended to the following individuals and foundations who helped fund the MIT Media Lab’s development of the film/video and creative technology components of Schoenberg in Hollywood: John and Cynthia Reed, Jane and Neil Pappalardo, Robert and Bethany Millard, Jim and Kim Pallotta, Sam Waksal, The Koerner Foundation, The Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation, Lore H. McGovern, Jim Champy, Susan Whitehead, Bob Ellis, Kenneth Wang, Lawrence and Atsuko Fish, and Hyun-A and Jacob Friis. 22 | BOSTON LYRIC OPERA 2018 | SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD

“Schönberg Family” (detail) by Richard Gerstl, painted during the summer of 1908. Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria.


As the story unfolds, Machover interweaves his own distinctly propulsive and meticulously crafted musical language with allusions to various Hollywood film styles along with keys works in Schoenberg’s development. These include the Wagnerian Transfigured Night (1899), which is used in the context of his courtship of his first wife Mathilde, the sister of his friend and only teacher of composition, Alexander Zemlinsky. “The Painting Lesson” scene depicts the tragic affair between Mathilde and the painter Richard Gerstl, featuring a substantial quote of the Second String Quartet (1908) with its epochal break with tonality along with near riots and virulent reviews that greeted the work. A central theme in the opera is Schoenberg’s wrestling with his Jewish identity. He had become a Lutheran in 1898, but with the rise of anti-Semitism in the 1920s he began to confront the issue more directly. An important trigger was his experience in 1921 when he and his family were made to break off a summer holiday in the resort town of Mattsee near Salzburg. His darkly sardonic tone in a letter to Berg about the incident—“Toward the end it got very ugly in Mattsee. The people there seemed to despise me as much as if they knew my music.”—sets the stage for a Marx Brothers movie version of the event. As the Nazis gained power in the ’20s and ’30s, he increasingly struggled to reconcile his German and Jewish identities, as he wrote in 1932: “Today I’m proud to call myself a Jew; but I know the difficulties of really being one.” In the spring of 1933 after Hitler was elected as Chancellor and Jews were purged from the Prussian Academy, Schoenberg and his family fled to France in May, where he formally reconverted to Judaism, before boarding a ship to the United States that fall. During this period Schoenberg became involved with efforts to establish a Jewish state. He wrote to the composer Anton Webern in August of his desire to sacrifice his art and “to do nothing in the

future but work for the Jewish national cause.” He outlined a plan, referred to in the scene with Thalberg, through which he would travel the world speaking and producing recordings and films to organize assistance for the German Jews. While these ambitions were not realized, he did produce a series of political and religious works in his final years, including A Survivor from Warsaw (1947), which critic Jeremy Eichler has discussed as the first major musical memorial to the Holocaust. One of the most striking aspects of an answer to the question “Schoenberg in Hollywood?” is the use of electronic sounds in several passages throughout the opera. Throughout his life, Schoenberg was fascinated by new sound technologies and new conceptions of the borders of music, sound, and noise. In 1940 he drafted a visionary document called “School for Sound Men” which outlined a broad practical and aesthetic training for film, radio, and recording engineers so that they could play their role in realizing the full potential of sound and music to reach everyone: “As nobody can escape the waves of cosmic rays, or of electricity or of gravitation, so nobody can escape entirely the magic effect of these well-arranged acoustic waves we call music.” Machover’s Schoenberg in Hollywood, similarly can point us to something ultimately hopeful and productive in all of Schoenberg’s activities. As Machover’s Schoenberg states: “Movies tell us what the world should be? Or could be? The first is politics, the second, music.” And here, too, we might see a profound point of contact between Schoenberg and Machover in the way that both of them are driven by a boundless energy, creativity, and a commitment to questioning assumptions about what is possible. There is no more fitting word for them both than the last word we hear in Schoenberg in Hollywood: “Action!” w BOSTON LYRIC OPERA 2018 | SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD | 23

PERFORMANCE & VENUE INFORMATION All performances begin on time. At the request of our patrons, Boston Lyric Opera observes the national opera standard of a no late seating policy. Additionally, if you must leave during the performance, reentry may be prohibited. While we understand that traffic conditions, public transportation, weather and other factors can have unexpected effects on your arrival, we wish to minimize disruptions for our seated patrons and for our artists on stage. As a courtesy to the artists and for the comfort of those around you, please turn off all mobile phones, pagers, watch alarms, and any other device with audible signals prior to the start of the performance. The use of cameras or recording devices in the theatre is strictly prohibited. TICKET INFORMATION: For information on Boston Lyric Opera productions, subscriptions and tickets, visit or call BLO Audience Services at 617.542.6772, M - F | 10 - 5.

EMERSON PARAMOUNT CENTER ROBERT J. ORCHARD STAGE ACCESSIBILITY: The Emerson Paramount Center Robert J. Orchard Stage can accommodate both wheelchair and companion seating. Restrooms are located in the lower lobby and second floor, both accessible by elevator. Assisted listening devices are available at the box office windows. VENUE INFORMATION: Emerson Paramount Center Robert J. Orchard Stage | 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111 617-824-8000 | FIRE EXIT PLANS: For your own safety, please take a moment to view the exits for each floor.

BOSTON IS AN OPERA TOWN Whether you’re an opera lover or an opera novice, we invite you to explore and experience the work of this unique and vibrant art form taking place in our city. 24 | BOSTON LYRIC OPERA 2018 | SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD




A NOTE FROM THE GENERAL & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR A few weeks ago, the news about the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue broke during our rehearsals of Schoenberg in Hollywood. We watched along with the nation, feeling helpless, as tragedy unfolded at a peaceful gathering of celebration and worship. Sadly, the ugly stains of anti-Semitism are still with us today, the same cancer that caused the Schoenbergs to flee to the United States in 1933, and that would lead to the murder of millions of Jews and other targeted peoples. Tod Machover’s brilliant opera is ultimately one of great hope. It finds tremendous meaning and courage in Schoenberg’s quest to understand himself, both as a man and as an artist. We journey with him as he embarks on a lifelong process to embrace his Jewish identity, and his own responsibility to create art that would impact the world around him. The artistic process is one of grappling to understand the world, of communicating with one another, and of finding light even in our darkest hour. A few weeks ago, I sat down to write my introductory letter for this program book, and I included a quote from Schoenberg to the artist Kandinsky about rising anti-Semitism in Germany. Never did I imagine then that those words would feel so prescient, and so heart-wrenching, today. As they do so many other times in life, words fail; but music speaks. Thank you for joining us today—we have poured our hearts into Schoenberg in Hollywood, and we hope that its search for meaning is one that resonates and reverberates today.

ESTHER NELSON Stanford Calderwood General & Artistic Director

Arnold Schoenberg’s remarkable life intersected with some of the most traumatic and violent human atrocities of the 20th century—born a Jew in Vienna, he converted to the Lutheran faith as a young adult, served in World War I, faced the rise of the Nazi party in Germany, and re-converted to Judaism just before he and his family fled to the United States as refugees. Schoenberg in Hollywood dramatizes many of these moments in his life, as the character of Schoenberg strives to find artistic meaning in the wake of brutality and personal loss—an aspiration that all of us, as artists and audience members, share. Please be aware that this opera depicts unsettling and potentially disturbing images and themes, including: brief, graphic images of the Holocaust; Nazi references and imagery; suicide; irreligious imagery; and a recorded gunshot sound.


SCHOENBERG’S LIFE: A TIMELINE 1874 | Arnold Schoenberg was born in Vienna to a middle-class Jewish family. 1896 | For the first time, one of Schoenberg’s compositions was performed in a public concert, with the Musikalische Verein Polyhymnia orchestra. 1898 | Schoenberg converted to the Lutheran faith. 1901 | Schoenberg married Mathilde Zemlinsky, the sister of composer Alexander Zemlinsky who was also Schoenberg’s counterpoint teacher. 1908 | For several months, Mathilde left Schoenberg for Richard Gerstl, a painter. Mathilde eventually returned to the family; Gerstl subsequently killed himself. 1910 | Schoenberg wrote his book Theory of Harmony and explored tonality, composing Five Orchestral Pieces, Op. 16 (1909) and Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21 (1912). 1916–17 | Schoenberg served a brief stint in the army during World War I (1914–18), interrupting most of his composing from this time. 1921–23 | Schoenberg continued to develop the twelve tone method of composition and composed his first piece is this style, Piano Suite, Op. 25. 1923 | Mathilde Schoenberg died. Schoenberg remarried the following year, to Gertrud Kolisch. 1926–1933 | Schoenberg served as Director of a Master Class in Composition at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin. He also composed a number of important works during this period, and began work on an opera, Moses und Aron, which he never finished. 1933 | The Nazis came to power, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. While vacationing in France, the Schoenbergs decided it would be too dangerous to return to Germany. He reconverted to Judaism in a Paris synagogue then the family fled to the United States, moving to Boston. 1934 | Citing the cold weather and health concerns, the Schoenbergs headed west to California. 1936 | Schoenberg became a full professor at UCLA, a position he would hold through 1944. 1939 | World War II began, lasting through 1944. 1941 | In April, Schoenberg became a naturalized citizen of the United States. In December, Pearl Harbor was attacked, and the US entered WWII. 1947 | Schoenberg composed a memorial for the victims of the Holocaust, entitled A Survivor from Warsaw, Op. 46. 1951 | On July 13, Schoenberg passed away after a heart attack. 1974 | According to the composer’s wishes, his remains were interred in the Vienna Central Cemetery, alongside composers such as Christoph Willibald Gluck, Antonio Salieri, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, and many more.

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