The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing

Justine F. Chen

David Simpatico

Performance forces:
sop, mez, 2 ten, bar, 2 — orchestra (picc.1(picc).1.1(b c).a sax/bar sax.1(cbsn) – – perc, pno/cel/pipe organ, hp – str ( — SATB chorus (24 singers min)



After saving England in World War II by cracking the Nazi U-boat code, he was found guilty of gross indecency for a homosexual relationship. He chose chemical castration over imprisonment as his punishment. Two years later, Turing was found poisoned near a cyanide-laced apple with a bite taken from it. The apple is believed to be a reference to his obsession with Disney’s Snow White, and the image is rumored to be the inspiration for Apple Computer’s logo. Turing’s mysterious death was labeled a suicide – but there are many other theories. “Our opera imagines the man inside the legend of Alan Turing: his unique perspective of the universe, his unabashed view of his homosexuality, and his impact on the future of civilization. This piece is relevant today not only for restoring Turing to our collective memory, but also because the institutionalized homophobic attitudes faced by Turing continue to threaten the lives of gay men and women across the globe. In fact, this opera is not merely about homophobia, it is about prejudice. This opera celebrates the power of memory, creativity, and the potential within us all to live fully and truly.” Justine F. Chen and David Simpatico