"Into the midst of suburban malaise Bernstein throws the fictional movie, Trouble in Tahiti. As Dinah sits in a movie theater, then sings “What a Movie!”, Staufenbiel and his video/media design team have a ball. I’m not going to give it away — if any reviewer starts to describe the footage, stop reading unless you don’t plan to attend — but this little projected scena, filled with as many clichés as the radio trio’s recurring rendition of “The Little White House in [Scarsdale, etc…]” — the precursor to Malvia Reynolds’ Daly City-inspired “Little Boxes” — is not to be missed." - San Francisco Classical Voice
"And of course, there is 'What a movie!,' the opera's centerpiece and most brilliant achievement. This is Dinah's retelling of her afternoon plunge into Technicolor escapism through the movie musical that gives the opera its title, and it's a beautiful encapsulation of the power of even the cheesiest art to touch our core in unexpected ways." - San Francisco Chronicle
"The new version goes even further. Staufenbiel and Murakami then shot a new version of the film, recreating Cocteau’s distinctive black-and-white visual palette with members of their own cast. The 90-minute entertainment that results is a multi-veined phantasmagoria of sights and sounds, drama and pathos and humor. Excerpts from the two films complement each another and Glass’ music. The live performers sometimes venture into the aisles of SFJazz’s Miner Auditorium, as video projections on the side walls create an illusion that plunges the audience into the opera’s mysterious world...
Music, drama, words, visuals, theatrical spectacle — it’s hard to imagine all these aspects sharing a small performance space with such vividness and grace. But the evidence was unmistakable in this potent triumph of the imagination." 
"David Murakami's digital wizardry augments the composer's leitmotifs with spectacular projections that together capture the motion, moods and moments of the drama. Paramecium-like particles swirl in the ether morphing into the cogs and gears of industry; a mysterious giant eye peers out over the stage; a huge dragon emerges; waves roil and roll until they flow into the more tranquil waters of the river Rhine." - BroadwayWorld
"Kish's images were enlarged and transformed, to their theatrical advantage, by Frederic O. Boulay, projection designer, and David Murakami, media designer. The very use of projected color adds not simply a filmic quality but also vibrancy to the art. Transitions from the black-and-white images of the Thames to the lush green and yellow of the Congo were created by circles of images that would appear, expand and multiply across the surface of the screen. The effect was like raindrops falling on the surface of the world, transforming it from the dull white of fog and industry into saturated colors of fecund leaf and flower. Even so, the circles retained a geometric simplicity in keeping with the original illustrations. My hat goes off to the media guys for retaining the integrity of the images during their metamorphoses into stage media." - Bachtrack
The set is truly an homage to the new technology that is all the rage in theatre nowadays, with sharp high definition projections and classic Teatro touches, namely fruit boxes that dot the stage. Joe Cardinalli’s set design is wonderful, creating two distinct worlds that are fused together consistently. And Joe Cedillo’s soundscape, along with Michael Palumbo’s lighting design helped support the visuals that pierced the story. Finally, David Murakami’s projections, using a blend of animation and historical footage is masterful. - Bay Area Plays
Searing, too, are the scrolling video projections by David Finn and David Murakami that variously etch onto the backdrop the topography of mountains; lines of native script that appear to go up in smoke; and a slew of hieroglyphics that blaze then fade, as if pilot lights are being extinguished. - Bachtrack
As usual with Lines, “Figures of Speech” looked simple and elegant. Robert Rosenwasser contributed earth-toned costumes that never got in the way. The lighting and video by David Finn and David Murakami plunged us into a perpetual twilight illuminated by the dancers’ verve. - SFGate
Brian Staufenbiel is Director par excellence. He fuses not only these many narrative and dramatic elements but the magical projections created by David Murakami. These include shots of Cocteau’s original line drawings, and the unique film shot by Staufenbiel, Murakami, Saskia Lee, and Joe Bourekas, in the San Francisco home of Betty Wallerstein. Inset into Sean Riley’s set and lit by Matthew Antaky, these intensify the drama as Glass’s score uncoils from the opening motif, intense, repetitive, and flexible. - Operawire

Carol King with David Murakami following her viewing of the Daphnis et Chloe rehearsal by The Sun Valley Summer Symphony

Back to Top