Saturday, July 22 – Friday, August 15, 2017
Santa Fe, NM — From Saturday, July 22 – Friday, August 15, 2017, conductor Michael Christie will lead world premiere performances of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs composed by Mason Bates on a libretto by Mark Campbell, presented by Santa Fe Opera. The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, directed by Kevin Newbury, begins at a critical moment in Jobs’ life and examines the people and experiences that shaped one of the most influential figures of our time: his father’s mentorship, his devotion to Buddhism, his relationships, his rise and fall as a mogul, and finally his marriage to Laurene Jobs, who showed him the power of human connection. The role of Steve Jobs is sung by baritone Edward Parks, joined by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke as his wife Laurene Powell, baritone Kelly Markgraf as his father Paul Jobs, bass Wei Wu as Kôbun Chino Otogawa, Jobs’ spiritual advisor, and tenor Garrett Sorenson as Woz, his friend and business partner. “It is a pleasure and an honor to be part of another phenomenally talented American composer's first opera,” Christie says. “Mason is a true theater composer, blending voice, drama and his revelatory musical vision.”
In the spirit of Steve Jobs’ innovation in the tech industry, this production promises to push boundaries. Victoria “Vita” Tzykun, the production’s scenic designer, explains, “The products and experiences that (Steve Jobs) dreamed up with his teams defied expectations and provided a sense of wonder. That sense of wonder is what is very important to us to capture in this production. In order to provide that for modern audiences, we are harnessing cutting edge technology, and fusing it with traditional stagecraft in a way that will create a world that has never yet been seen on an operatic stage.” Steve Jobs’ concept of a minimal design that encases something with endless possibility is what inspired Tzykun’s design for the show. The physical scenic elements function holistically with the lighting design by Japhy Weideman and video projection design by 59 Productions, the combination of which will create an immersive experience. The creative team also includes costume designer Paul Carey and choreographer Chloe Treat.
Conductor Michael Christie works extensively in bringing new opera to the stage. He led world premiere performances of composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell’s The Shining, based on the 1977 novel by Stephen King, in 2016 at Minnesota Opera. Also at Minnesota Opera, he led composer Kevin Puts and librettist Campbell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night in 2011 as well as Puts and Campbell’s 2015 collaboration The Manchurian Candidate. Anthony Tommasini praised his “supple pacing and vitality” in The New York Times when Christie led Silent Night in 2013 with Opera Company of Philadelphia. He recently conducted world premiere performances of Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene with San Francisco Opera and Ricky Ian Gordon's "27" at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Notable past engagements include highly praised productions of Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles and John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, and the North American premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland, all with Opera Theatre of St. Louis; and the European premiere of The Ghosts of Versailles at the Wexford Festival Opera.
Michael Christie is a thoughtfully innovative conductor, equally at home in the symphonic and opera worlds, who is focused on making the audience experience at his performances entertaining, enlightening, and enriching. The New York Times reports, “Michael Christie is a director open to adventure and challenge,” and the Cincinnati Enquirer declares, “If Michael Christie represents the future of music in this country, the future looks promising indeed.”
Christie, who was featured in Opera News in August 2012 as one of 25 people believed to “break out and become major forces in the field in the coming decade,” began his tenure as the first-ever Music Director of the Minnesota Opera with the 2012-13 season. Deeply committed to bringing new works to life, Christie has championed commissions by leading and emerging composers alike, including Mark Adamo, Mason Bates, Michael Daugherty, Osvaldo Golijov, Mark Grey, Daron Hagen, Matthew Hindson, Marjan Mozetich, Stephen Paulus, Kevin Puts, and more.
Christie’s nearly 20-year symphonic conducting career has included serving as Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony (2005-2013) and Brooklyn Philharmonic (2005-2010), and as Chief Conductor of the Queensland Orchestra (2001-2004) in Australia, as well as guest appearances leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Symphonies of Dallas, St. Louis, Atlanta, Houston, Minnesota, Oregon, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. Christie’s many European engagements have included leading the Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Orchestre National de Lille, Swedish and Netherlands Radio Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, NDR Hannover Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic. In addition, Christie enjoys a strong profile in Australia, where he has conducted the Sydney Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony, Opera Queensland, and the Western Australian Symphony in Perth.
Christie’s New York Philharmonic debut came in 2007 when he stepped in on short notice for an ailing Riccardo Muti, and his Carnegie Hall debut came in 2014 when he led the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Spring for Music festival. Christie also served as the Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival from 2000-2013, where he was highly praised for his innovative programming and where audiences are now at an all-time high, resulting in him being named “Musician of the Year” by The Denver Post in 2010. Michael Christie first came to international attention in 1995 when he was awarded a special prize for “Outstanding Potential” at the First International Sibelius Conductors’ Competition in Helsinki. Following the competition, he was invited to become an apprentice conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra where he subsequently worked with Daniel Barenboim as well as at the Berlin State Opera during the 1996-1997 season. Christie graduated from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a bachelor's degree in trumpet performance.
Christie lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Alexis, a physician, and their two children. A licensed pilot for over 15 years, Christie often flies his Mooney Airplane Company single engine aircraft to his conducting engagements across the U.S. He volunteers for Angel Flight Central, flying people in need with serious medical issues to receive care. For more information, visit www.michaelchristieonline.com.