Autopilot Saves Model S, a new opera by Marco Galvani and Leoe Mercer, is at the Mathematics institute, in an acoustically unforgiving café space under a crystal ceiling based either on the graph K3,3, or on a surface plot of the solution of an eigenfunction problem for the two-dimensional Laplacian, depending on whether we are under the South or North lightwell. There is a row of laptops, a data projector, a small orchestra and a Korg in the corner.
Three women in office smarts march in, start talking, spin up the drives and crack on fast, as this is a short, exciting opera, perfect for 21st Century attention spans. The women are Annalyn Kurtz, then a New York Times intern doing desk-work for her on-the-road boss (Katherine Cooper) who is off doing "real" journalism – hitting the street, talking to people. "You need real facts," Cooper alpha-female drawls, before letting her dizzying mezzo off the leash, "you can't find out anything on the internet". But sparky Annalyn (a Lois Lane-ish Rosalind Dobson) has a hunch, and sensible Annalyn (Susannah Hardwick) wants information density, and even sullen Annalyn (Sofia Kirwan-Baez) has turned up.
They unite briefly for a melodious skype-chat with her son, then fret, fight, and disappear down the rabbit-hole of internet research accompanied by a chorus of cat videos, Big Dog, car-alarm flutes, rumble-strip cello and brake-screech violins. Their research topic is the death of Joshua Brown, Tesla enthusiast and author of a popular Youtube series where he demonstrated the effectiveness of the Tesla's autopilot on the road. Those familiar with the news story will not be surprised to hear that the opera's climax is a scratch-mix Harry Potter car-crash montage. Quite unlike anything else you'll see until the next show from Faded Ink Productions, The Marriage of Kim K.