Nico Muhly’s Internet Opera, Two Boys, Gets Live Metropolitan Opera Release via Nonesuch Records on September 30

By Maria Jean Sullivan on Aug 22, 2014 05:25 PM EDT

Nico Muhly's internet opera, Two Boys, will be released on Nonesuch Records on September 30, 2014. Two Boys was recorded live (and streamed) at the Metropolitan Opera in 2013, with production by conductor David Robertson and director Bartlett Sher. The two-act opera also features a libretto by playwright Craig Lucas and vocals by Alice Coote and Paul Appleby.

“The choral music in Two Boys references the ecstatic vocal music of Meredith Monk and Steve Reich—the sense of overlapping vocal patterns creating a larger architecture of meaning,” Muhly said. “It’s almost as if you’re hearing the entire aggregate of all the things that people are saying on the Internet at once.”

Two Boys is set in an English industrial city in 2001. Muhly brings to stage two occurrences never used before in an opera: a police procedural and a dramatization of the mysterious and lonely lives of those who inhabit the dark corners of the Internet. Loosely based on true events, Muhlys’ opera trails a lonely detective who gets caught up in the Internet world.

“What was so exciting for me about this story, and what was so poignant is that we don’t live in a place where there are masked balls, really, anymore,” Muhly said on the construction of the opera. “So I thought the Internet—where you can really pretend to be another person—would actually be quite a traditional frame for an opera. I’d like to think Two Boys is both new and also very, very old.”

Muhly, 32, is the youngest composer ever commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. Coincidentally enough, the release news of Two Boys comes during a rough time for the Met, as they have been in the weeds financially facing salary cuts. The internet has run rampant with the story, or the details there of including: general director Peter Gelb’s statement on opera audiences declining; union members’ high salaries; and Peter Gelb’s productions are to blame.

Time will tell how the Met will hold up. Until then, take a look at a preview of Two Boys below.

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TagsNico Muhly, Two Boys, Nonesuch Records

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