Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

The Santa Fe Opera


Rediscovering the universe within

Many of us wanted to change the world. Steve Jobs did. A masterful marketer who decried materialism, Jobs led a binary life — magnetic and unapproachable, empathetic and cruel, meditative and restless. He helped connect us all while building a firewall around his own emotions.

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs begins at a critical moment in Jobs’ life and circles back to examine 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.

Mason Bates, a genius at combining traditional symphonic orchestration with electronic sounds, composes this world premiere opera with master librettist Mark Campbell. It captures the buzzing sphere of Silicon Valley with a kinetic electro-acoustic score, an absorbing non-linear narrative, and a high-tech production.

Opened July - August 2017

The Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe

At the end of the world premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, the audience roared its approval as if it had witnessed a blockbuster musical. [..] The production, staged by Kevin Newbury, has sets and projections by Victoria Tzykun and 59 Productions that brilliantly reinforce the opera’s high-tech ambience, as six large boxes reconfigure themselves to create new settings.
The projection design is a very important part of the storytelling,” Campbell said. “How can you create an opera about a man who advanced technology so much and not have a technically advanced production?” [..] With “(R)evolution” — which took two years to develop — projections take the audience inside settings like the California apple orchard that inspired the company’s name, and on stage at an iPhone launch event.
Campbell and Tsykun’s extremely visual narrative and Bates’s music reveals the conflicted energy from which spring words and events. A gripping and illuminating musical, dramatic, and visual achievement — one that transcends the divides of generations and genres — has just joined the operatic canon.
The most modern and consistently exciting aspect of the show was the production. Six translucent boxes, their design reminiscent of the Apple stores, moved around swiftly to become the different locations, aided by the projections, which ranged from subtle paper screens in a Zen center, to the flashing headlines tracking Steve’s rise and fall, to animated computer circuitboards (in one scene, brightly colored by an acid trip)
Sets, lighting and projections (devised respectively by Victoria “Vita” Tzykun, Japhy Weideman and 59 Productions) work as a piece. [..] The imagery of Jobs’ life is projected, often in energetic juxtaposition (circuit boards, press clippings, Zen calligraphy), and a scene where he does LSD with his girlfriend in an apple (!) orchard gets woozy indeed.
For the production’s opening scene, the black sides of the boxes enclose the dusty garage where Paul Jobs gives his adopted son Steve a workbench for his 10th birthday. Later, as Jobs wanders the hills around Cupertino with Kōbun, the boxes part to reveal the fiery New Mexico sunset on the mountains far beyond the stage. The process for moving the pieces is purely analog, with the ensemble and stage crew collaborating to slide them across the grid. There’s also cutting-edge digital technology at work: infrared beacons on the top corners of each box communicate with projectors in the opera’s rafters to line up images on the glowing planes.

A Santa Fe Opera World Premiere production. Commissioned by Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, and San Francisco Opera, with support from Cal Performances. A co-production with Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, and The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music with a special thanks to San Francisco Conservatory of Music.


Mason Bates

Mark Campbell

Kevin Newbury

Scenic Design
Victoria “Vita” Tzykun

Projection Design
59 Productions

Lighting Design
Japhy Weideman

Costume Design
Paul Carey

Sound Design
Rick Jacobsohn

Chloe Treat

59 Team

Project Director
Benjamin Pearcy

Tommy Lexen

Design Assistant
Hannah Fasching

David Curtis
Marcus Chaloner

Assistant Video Designers
Nick Corrigan
Brad Peterson