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The Turing Test - an opera by Julian Wagstaff

The Turing Test - a chamber opera in one act (2007)

The Turing Test is an hour-long chamber opera for 6 voices and small orchestra by composer Julian Wagstaff. Inspired by English mathematician Alan Turing's test for human-level intelligence in a computer, it was a sell-out success on the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Why not visit the dedicated Turing Test opera website at www.turingtestopera.com?

The Turing Test received its first performance on 15th August 2007 as part of a five-night sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, performed by Edinburgh Studio Opera. The production was supported by Edinburgh University School of Informatics in association with Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh And Lothian (SEEL).

You can listen to MP3 files of excerpts from the opera (recorded live at the Edinburgh Fringe) by clicking on the links below:

Listen to the music of Julian Wagstaff Scene 1 opening (Milotovic) [2.4MB]
Listen to the music of Julian Wagstaff Scene 2 opening (Ferdinand) [2.2MB]
Listen to the music of Julian Wagstaff Scene 2 ending (Trevelyan, Stephanie) [4.0MB]
Listen to the music of Julian Wagstaff Scene 4 duet (Miltotovic/Stephanie) [3.8MB]
Listen to the music of Julian Wagstaff Scene 5 opening (Trev., Steph., LUCIE) [1.5MB]

(if the music doesn't start, right-click the link and select
"Save Target As...")

The premiere production was cited as a cultural highlight of 2007 by the novelist Alexander McCall Smith in the Daily Telegraph's review of the year. Please click on the links below for this and other reviews:

The Guardian, 19th August 2007
British Theatre Guide, August 2007
Daily Telegraph, December 2007
MusicOMH.com
FringeReview.co.uk

Click Here to download a copy of the souvenir programme from the premiere production in PDF format (4.3 MB). (N.B. For private use only. Strict copyright applies!)

The opera was inspired by a display in the MIT museum in Boston, Massachusetts, about the English mathematician Alan Turing's test for human-level intelligence in a computer. Essentially, Turing suggested that if you couldn't tell a computer and a human apart when chatting to them via a keyboard, then the computer had passed the test and could be said to be intelligent.

When I saw this exhibit in March of 2006 it suddenly crystalised a number of ideas which had been with me for a while, looking for a means of expression. I had been struggling for several months to find a subject for a chamber opera I had planned to write - and suddenly here it was.

Almost immediately I began to see and hear characters in my head, and these characters were telling a story. It was a story of rivalry, betrayal, love, hate, envy and triumph - the very stuff of opera. I wrote the scenario on the plane back to London the following day, and the piano score was completed around nine months later.

Please see the Turing Test page at AllAboutOpera.com for further details on the opera, including roles and a complete synopsis. You can also visit the new turingtestopera.com website, a site devoted exclusively to the opera.

First Production - Credits
Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 15th-19th August 2007
Julian Wagstaff The Turing Test - sellout show on Edinburgh Fringe
Musical Director - Tom Butler
Director - Christopher Neil
Set Designer - Moley Campbell
Technical Manager - David Pammenter
Stage Manager - Jody Bicknell
Wardrobe - Laura Wallace
Properties - Natasha Dare

Original Cast

Prof. Anton Milotovic - Maximilian Fuhrig
Prof. Colin Trevelyan - Julian Guidera
Miss Stephanie Williams - Georgia Knower / Linda Robertson
Mrs. Clarissa Milotovic - Laura smith
Mr. Ferdinand Grosz - Barry McAleer
The Computer (LUCIE) - Héloïse Plumley

Produced by Julian Wagstaff and David Pammenter
for
Edinburgh Studio Opera

Edinburgh University School of Informatics

Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothians