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An opera for the internet age

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Film and television often struggle to capture the unique joys and humiliations of online life, but a new opera may be getting it right. In The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer takes a look at Nico Muhly's Two Boys, an opera inspired by a stabbing case from 2003, which takes place mostly in the world of forums and instant messages. To capture the physical and virtual environments, the stage is set with massive projection screens, prop laptops and a chatroom choruses. As one stage designer told Meyer, "It's very important that the seeming reality of the situation is shown physically onstage." As it turns out, the conventions of opera staging are a remarkably good fit for conveying the drama of online intrigue, which can otherwise look just look like two people in a room, typing.