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A thoroughly modern opera: Robots enter a new frontier

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Then you see – it's true!

It isn't the blood,

It isn't the bone.

It's never the matter that matters.

Particles, molecules, cells, fingers, eyes, nerves

Are only places for the system

Of meaningful vibrations.

It's all in the meaning, the movement,

The idea – that's the idea.

The opera, more than a decade in the making, was composed by Tod Machover, who heads the Opera of the Future lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab in Cambridge. The libretto is written by Robert Pinsky, a former US poet laureate. Other key contributors include Diane Paulus, the artistic director of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, and her husband, writer and producer Randy Weiner. Alex McDowell, the production designer, who establish the futuristic look of the production, has designed such films as "Minority Report," with its gadgetry, and the comic-book fantasy "Watchmen."

"I think what's exciting about this opera is the meditation on technology," says Ms. Paulus, who directs the production. "The subject matter itself is about how technology is part of our lives, and therefore there is actual technology in the show.... But it's actually a very poignant story about a family."

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