Schoenberg in Hollywood is the most recent opera by composer Tod Machover that explores the complex relationship between uncompromising art and mass appeal, and of whether—and how—art can change the world. The opera begins with a meeting (one that did occur in history) between the legendary producer Irving G. Thalberg of Metro Goldwyn Mayer and the radical Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg. Thalberg asks Schoenberg to compose music for a film based on Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, a best-seller about the life of peasants in a Chinese village. The prospect of writing a Hollywood film score that would reach millions appealed to Schoenberg greatly, but he was not offered the job when he demanded a $50,000 fee—an astronomical sum at the time—from Thalberg. Schoenberg in Hollywood exploits—and explores—the hypothetical scenario of what would have happened if Schoenberg had indeed composed for Hollywood.
See extensive excerpts from press and media here.
Come see Schoenberg in Hollywood at the Vienna Volksoper in April 2020!
See excerpts from Tod Machover’s previous operas here.
See highlights from Tod Machover’s Opera of the Future Group/MIT Media Lab here.
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