Nico Muhly brings social networking to life, and to the opera

Have you ever thought about just how bizarre our online relationships are? I mean, really, are you actually “friends” with all those people on Facebook? What if you really “followed” people over the course of days, or years?

Composer Nico Muhly has been pondering these questions, and it’s the inspiration for a charming – albeit slightly disturbing video – promoting his upcoming opera “Two Boys,” which gets its premiere later this month by the English National Opera.

However, according to The Guardian’s Tom Service, the film is nothing like the actual opera.

If the wit of the film gets people to turn up to ENO for the show, so much the better, but anyone who buys their ticket based on the film is in for a shock. If Two Boys lives up to the potential of its music and its story, it will be a searing night at the theatre that will do more than make you delete a few friends on Facebook. It should force you to think about the complexities of human identity and relationships, on- and offline, as well as confront you with some of the freshest music in the opera house in the 21st century.

And truly, to read the opera’s description on the ENO website, viewers are in for something quite dark:

A teenage boy is stabbed. An older boy is caught on CCTV leaving the scene. An open-and-shut case, it would seem. But, as Detective Inspector Anne Strawson investigates the older boy’s story, she uncovers a bizarre nexus of chatroom meetings, mysterious internet identities, supposed spy rings and disturbing cybersex, leading to a stunning conclusion.

Loosely inspired by actual events that occured in an English industrial city, Nico Muhly’s new opera is a cautionary tale of the dark side of the internet.

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