SFOpera - Synopsis


Prologue, 1965: The Jobs family garage, Los Altos
Paul Jobs presents his son Steve with a workbench as a birthday present.
2007: Convention center, San Francisco
Steve Jobs delivers a public launch of his company's new product—"one device" that will revolutionize technology. At the end, he stops, noticeably weak and short of breath.
2007, directly after: Corporate offices, Cupertino
Steve retreats to his office. His wife, Laurene, chides him for not taking better care of himself and asks him to come home and reconnect with their family.
2007, later that afternoon: The hills around Cupertino
Steve goes on a long meditative walk. Kōbun Chino Otogawa, Steve's former spiritual advisor in Sōtō Zen Buddhism, joins him. As they gaze at the sunset, Kōbun prompts Steve to acknowledge his mortality.
1973: Reed College, Oregon
A teacher discusses the significance of the ensō, a circle drawn in Japanese calligraphy. Steve is inspired by aesthetic ideas of elegance and simplicity.
1973: The Jobs family garage
Steve's best friend, Steve Wozniak, has created a "blue box," a device that allows the user to make free calls. Steve and “Woz” celebrate the ease with which corporate giants can be toppled.
1974: An apple orchard near Los Altos
Steve and his girlfriend Chrisann lie together after taking LSD. Steve imagines their surroundings coming to life as an orchestra, playing Bach. The two start to make love when Kōbun interrupts them.
1975: Los Altos Zen Center
Kōbun informs Steve that he cannot live at the Zen Center and hints that his destiny may lie elsewhere.
1989: Lecture Hall, Stanford University
Steve meets Laurene Powell for the first time.
1976: Jobs family garage
Woz presents a new computer interface to Steve. They begin to celebrate when Chrisann arrives and tells Steve that she is pregnant. When Steve demands that Chrisann end the pregnancy, she leaves in tears. Steve and Woz dream about the future of their invention. Steve remembers the orchestra in the orchard playing Bach.
1989: Steve Jobs' home, Palo Alto
Steve shows Laurene his sparsely furnished home. Photographs by Ansel Adams in Steve’s home prompt a brief discussion about artistic inspiration. Laurene and Steve go to bed for the first time.
1980: Corporate offices, Cupertino
Steve severs ties with Chrisann and angers Woz by denying a fellow employee his pension. Chrisann and Woz lament the loss of the guy they once knew.
1981-1986: Corporate offices, Cupertino
Steve denies palimony to Chrisann for their child, Lisa, and offends Woz, who quits. Demoted by the board of directors, Steve bitterly leaves the company.
2007: The hills around Cupertino
Kōbun reminds Steve that it was necessary for him to learn from his mistakes. He shows Steve a brief replay of his life after he fell apart, revisiting the first meeting with Laurene and the evening when he fell in love with her.
2007, later that night: Steve Jobs’ home
Steve returns home after his walk to find Laurene waiting for him. She confronts Steve and gets him to accept his illness and mortality. Kōbun reminds Steve of his wedding day.
1991: Yosemite National Park
Kōbun marries Steve and Laurene in a Buddhist ceremony. Steve expresses his love for Laurene and his gratitude to her for teaching him about the value of human connection. Kōbun’s 1992 death is revealed, prompting a meditation on mortality that segues into the next scene.
2011: Stanford University Chapel
Kōbun explains that Steve is witnessing his own memorial service. Steve protests a few production elements of the service, but Kōbun tells him to be still, to simplify. Laurene and Woz muse about Steve. Finally, Laurene is left alone and observes that while Steve will be both lionized and demonized, no one can deny his influence on the world.
Epilogue, 1965: Jobs family garage
As Laurene looks on, Paul Jobs presents his son with a workbench on his birthday as "a fine place to start."

Courtesy of Seattle Opera