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LIVESTREAM: Met Premieres Nico Muhly’s Cyberspace Opera 'Two Boys'

By Louise Burton on Oct 21, 2013 08:26 PM EDT

The Metropolitan Opera presents the U.S. premiere of Nico Muhly's Two Boys tonight at 8:00 p.m. This Met-commissioned opera tells the story of an elaborate internet deception that led to the murder of the teenage computer prodigy who orchestrated the scam.

The performance will be streamed live on the Met's website, starting at 7:55 p.m.

Craig Lucas's libretto is based on a real incident in an English industrial city at the dawn of the internet age, in which one teenage boy was fatally stabbed by another.

Two Boys opens with a detective investigating the stabbing of Jake, age 13. The prime suspect is 16-year-old Brian, who protests his innocence, saying he was drawn into a web of lies involving Jake, his older sister Rebecca, family friend Fiona (whom they describe as a professional spy) and Peter--Fiona's private assassin.

At first, detective Ann Strawson is skeptical of the story, believing that Brian is making it all up. But as she looks into transcripts from the online chatrooms where Brian met Jake, sensing the intoxicating allure of relationships conducted online, Strawson discovers an astonishing deception perpetrated via cyberspace.

This story can be seen as a modern take on the operatic tradition of masked identity. As Muhly, himself, has said, the internet allows for an even better masking of people's identities than a costumed ball ever provided. Such masking gives characters the courage to tell deep, dark secrets and reveal more of themselves than they ever would in real life.

The production, directed by Barlett Sher, uses video projections created by 59 Productions to bring the world of Two Boys to life.

Just don't call Two Boys an internet opera.

As Muhly told Buzzfeed: "One thing I've been struggling with, with this piece, is that everyone goes, 'It's an opera about the internet!' Well, no! It's about the same thing that people have been doing since the beginning of time, which is feeling lonely and trying to figure out what to do about that."

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TagsMetropolitan Opera, Nico Muhly, Two Boys, Craig Lucas, Bartlett Sher, 59 Productions, Buzzfeed

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