Sunday, 26 August 2018

MAKING HISTORY: MOZART'S "LE NOZZE DI FIGARO" TO BECOME WORLD'S FIRST VIRTUAL REALITY OPERA*

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, "Lange portrait"
We continue to ride the wave of modern technology: as Christie’s is set to auction off the first ever series of artworks created solely by Artificial Intelligence algorithm on October 23, and “La Divina,” Maria Callas herself – or at least, her hologram – gears up to serenade the present generation via intimate performances whilst on a world-wide “tour,” another industrious project out of Germany vows to usher the remaining facet of the artistic sphere into the unprecedented realm of the future: the world’s first ever Virtual Reality opera.* The composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The opera: The Marriage of Figaro.

Earlier this year, financiers at Berlin’s Avant Première Music + Media Market symposium were presented with an intriguing premise: the development of the world’s first Virtual Reality opera, with a centripetal POV for the viewer. Where spectators of the “Callas” tour will have the unique ability to view their late idol from the perspective of the audience, Pars Media’s pilot project, "360° Figaro" places the viewer center stage, where he, or she will “stand” in the middle of an operatic cast, allowing the user to feel as though they are actually taking part in the performance.

The ambitious project is presently under development. It is a collaborative endeavor, with Munich-based production company Pars Media working in conjunction with German record label Arthaus Musik, who have already recorded soloists Jacquelyn Wagner (as Rosina), Olena Tokar (as Susanna), Matthias Hausmann (as Count Almaviva) and Valentina Stadler (as Cherubino) from a studio in Halle (formerly the "Fernsehstudio Halle")  on August 21 and 22, 2018.

Mozart’s prized opera will be reduced to a series of scenes from the second act of Figaro, garnering a length of nearly 20 minutes. Produced by Jan Schmidt-Garre, the reduction promises to be as faithful as possible to the original plot, whilst remaining “understandable in lieu of a larger context.” It will be filmed using a state of the art 360° camera, consisting of the live vocals, with an added feature of binaural sound for headphone wearers, which will serve to greatly enhance the ‘life-like’ experience of being center stage by reproducing incredibly precise directional localization for the user in a virtual "3D" space.

360° Figaro is financed by the state of Saxony-Anhalt and the Fraunhofer Institute.

Further updates will be added to Unraveling Musical Myths when a date of launch has been announced.

Listen below – and imagine yourself on stage – to a glorious rendition of “Voi sigor, che giusto siete” from Herr Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro; Böhm, Wiener Staatsoper, Tokyo, 1980):


Footnotes:
*It should be noted that similar VR operatic projects predate 360° Figaro:
The University Theatre and the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Kansas incorporated the idea of Virtual Reality in 2003 for Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, and a brief, award-winning tour, "Magic Butterfly," which contained VR adaptations of Puccini's Madama Butterfly in addition to Die Zauberflöte launched out of Cardiff in 2017 - providing an interactive virtual reality experience (presented by the Welsh National Opera) using technology created by the software package "Houdini." These differ from 360° Figaro, which will be the first of it's kind to integrate "live" cast members into the user experience, pre-recorded using a 360 degree camera
with a centripetal POV for the user, as opposed to computer generated imagery which mimic "live" action.

Further reading (external links):

Internal links:
-Rose.

5 comments:

  1. This sounds exciting! I am loving the new news format! Will you still be doing articles? I'm waiting for a new Trivia and Humor installment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Anonymous,

      It sure is exciting!

      Thank you for your kind comment. It's not so much of a new format, but a decision I made recently to include more news alongside my articles. I have included them sparingly in the past, however the past several months have proved very fruitful in terms of new discoveries, scholarly research and premieres which I believe are too important to not be given coverage.

      I am also under a time constraint as I am immersed in study. Full length articles, including "Trivia & Humor" will be returning soon, in addition to a new series on Mozart.

      I am pleased you are enjoying the added news, and I thank you kindly for your readership.


      Warm regards,

      Rose.

      Delete
  2. Classical_Music_Fan28 August 2018 at 12:16

    Two words:

    MUST SEE!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good blog... keep-up the good work... May I share an Interview with Maria Callas (imaginary) in http://stenote.blogspot.com/2017/11/an-interview-with-maria.html

    ReplyDelete