June 4-14, 2015

INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS, the surrender of self in mystical contemplation


In June 2015, SoBe Arts presented the world premiere of Intelligent Systems, a provocative 90 minute multimedia opera exploring epic conflicts at the intersections of the natural universe, technology and humanity.

Through a wonderful integration of sonic and visual images, audience members were taken through time and space on a quest to understand — and actually feel as though they are experiencing — creation, natural catastrophe, social evolution, and the modern threat of self-annihilation.

Composer Carson Kievman was originally inspired to begin work on this project more than 30 years ago when Stephen Hawking published his groundbreaking research on the Big Bang theory and the transformative nature of the universe. In 1980, Dr. Kievman received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and, in 1982, a commission from Germany’s Donaueschingen Festival to begin developing the work. The musical score and storyboard/libretto were created periodically through the ensuing years and finally revised, updated and completed early this year.

Intelligent Systems maps out the history of a parallel universe and one of its planets as a series of natural catastrophes occurring over billions of years, leading to the development of civilization and ultimately a man-made catastrophe (including climate change and sea-level rise; raging viral pandemic; out-of-control digital miscommunications; and global nuclear fallout) followed by a post-apocalyptic speculation about what a future species might look and act like. 

These are big ideas, and they translate well into a music-theater experience using animated projections, vocal, and instrumental ensembles. The evening was made more engaging through the use of unique costuming, and unusual stage and lighting effects. Intelligent Systems is a one-of-a-kind theatrical event that reaches a degree of communication beyond the normal opera/music-theater experience

For this new production, SoBe Arts engaged the production team from last season's triumph: Fairy Tales, Songs of the Dandelion Woman, a chamber opera by Carson Kievman that received rave reviews * and considerable local and national attention.

Intelligent Systems ran for seven performances from June 4 (open dress rehearsal) and June 5 (world premiere) through June 14 in the Little Stage Theater at SoBe Institute of the Arts, a beautiful, historic setting and intimate venue on Miami Beach.


Music and libretto by Carson Kievman


Danielle Buonaiuto, soprano as Dr. Helium White / Nathalie Avila, soprano as Mission Specialist Hydrogen Jade / Zaray Rodriguez, mezzo soprano as Professor Nitrogen Scarlet / Timothy Stoddard, tenor as Flight Engineer Oxygen Cobalt / David Robinson, baritone as Commander Plutonium Plum / Eric McConnell, bass-baritone as Science Officer Curium Black


Stage Director, Jeffrey Marc Buchman / Music Director, Mary Adelyn Kauffman / Projection Design, Alain Lores / Choreographer, Rosa Mercedes Costume Design, Camila Haith / Lighting Design, Patrick Tennent / Properites Design, Michael Miles / Stage Manager, Jane Rosenbaum / Rehearsal Pianist, Elena Formicheva / Assistant Stage Manager, Robyn Meredith Davis / Sound Design, Carolina Perez / Sound Assistant, Jack Le Sante


Digital Artist, Barbara Gutierrez / Digital Artist, Andrew Lopez / Digital Artist, Steven Guas / Executive Producer, Brian Bobinski


Conductor, Mary Adelyn Kauffman / Flute, Carol Naveira-Nicholson / Bb Clarinet, Carlos Ortega / Bb Clar./Bass Clarinet, Christine Pascual-Fernandez / French Horn, Matthew Marshall / Percussion, Karli Mason & Tyson Voigt / Keyboards, Elena Fomicheva, Masami Miyazaki / Violins, Anna Tsukervanik & Nora Maria Lastre / Violas, Felicia Besan & David RIker / Cellos, Hilary Glen & Anna Litvenko

This is Kievman’s most daring, strikingly original work and it succeeds
through a plethora of musical and theatrical invention.
— The Miami Herald, June 2015
[A] richly evocative, rhythmically urgent score. The mix of vocal and
orchestral timbres is beautifully conceived, with a vast array of colors.
— The Miami Herald, June 2015
Connoisseurs of experimental music-theater, dance and film should not miss this groundbreaking production
— The Miami Herald, June 2015

A huge thank you to our sponsors:


Horowitz Family Foundation, Firestone Family Foundation, Audrey Love Charitable Foundation