The
CalArts Alumni Magazine

Carson Kievman (Music BFA 75, MFA 76)

Carson Kievman (Music BFA 75, MFA 76) notes: “TESLA (multidisciplinary opera): Nikola Tesla was an immigrant from Serbo-Croatia, whose transformative ideas challenged staid society, inherited wealth, and power structures of the Gilded Age. It brings to life the revolutionary race with Thomas Edison to fuel a new era of electricity, and the portentous aftermath. From the peak of worldly renown, Nikola Tesla pursued relentless dreams of tapping natural forces that could further liberate mankind, but instead lead to his early demise. A true visionary, Tesla gave away a vast number of his patents that were fossil fuel-consuming, and he pursued the Tesla coil to connect humanity to the very wheelwork of nature and allow the extraction of free and nonpolluting energy for all. A friend of Mark Twain (our narrator) and a peer of Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and J.P. Morgan (characters in the opera), he nonetheless died a pauper, crushed by the greed and hunger for power of his contemporaries. Tesla’s radical visions of scientific potential and capitalist reform, which led to his rise as well as his downfall, resonate even more powerfully in the 21st century.”