For Austin Opera it’s “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” and also a Fusebox collaboration


Just as Austin Opera stages “Everest,” a sleek, tense contemporary opera — the latest in the company’s presentations of operas of our time — comes the announcement of the 2020-2021.

While it will stage traditional fare including “Tosca” and “The Marriage of Figaro,” Austin Opera will open its next season with “Penelope,” presented in collaboration with Fusebox, established presenters of innovative performance, chiefly the Fusebox Festival. The one-hour song cycle for a solo female singer will be performed at the North Door performance venue. It’s the latest offering in the company’s “OperaATX” series of operas presented in places different from Austin’s Opera’s regular venue, the 2400-seat Dell Hall at the Long Center for the Performing Arts.

“Penelope” represents another Austin Opera first: It’s the company’s first presentation of an opera written by women. Composed by Sarah Kirkland Snider with a libretto by Ellen McLaughlin, “Penelope” offers a contemporary take on the Homeric tale of Odysseus’ wife.

Then in January 2021 comes “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” an opera by Mason Bates and Mark Campbell. Santa Fe Opera premiered it in 2017 and won a Grammy for its recording. It is a one-act opera that follows 19 of the most significant moments in the Apple founder’s life and career.

Last year, Apple broke ground in Austin — aka ‘Silicon Hills’ — on its $1 billion new campus a facility that will eventually have 15,000 employees.

“Next season will serve as a new high-water mark for artistic excellence at Austin Opera,” said Annie Burridge, General Director & CEO of the company. “We continue to push for the excellence that our audiences have come to expect, as well as break new ground for the field of opera.”

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is an arts and culture journalist who has covered visual art, performance, film, literature, architecture, and just about any combination thereof. She was the staff arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman for 17 years. Her commendations include the First Place Arts & Culture Criticism Award from the Society for Features Journalism. Additionally, Jeanne Claire has been awarded professional fellowships at USC’s Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and NEA/Columbia University Arts Journalism Institute. In 2022, she was awarded the Rabkin Prize in visual art journalism. Jeanne Claire founded and led Sightlines, a non-profit online arts and culture magazine that reached an annual readership of 600,000. And for two years, she taught arts journalism at the University of Texas College of Fine Arts. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Architecture magazine, Dwell, the Review of Contemporary Fiction, Art Papers, and ICON design magazine, among other publications.

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