By Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Tod Machover, a professor of music and media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab and head of the Opera of the Future group there, assembled his students in his glass-walled lab. The space was cluttered with computers, triangular-headed robots, colorful fabric-covered children’s toys and digital control tables. A large metal chandelier hung suspended from the ceiling, its swooping curves and fanned-out spokes giving it the look of a mathematically minded jellyfish.