Opera is getting an AR upgrade. An upcoming production of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Die tote Stadt at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein will feature AR enhancements. During the performance, which premiers in April, attendees will receive AR glasses allowing them to view supplementary digital content.
“Our digital opera glasses combine the live experience and immersive technology to provide a new, low-threshold access to the analogue world of music theatre,” says Professor Christoph Meyer, General Director of Deutsche Oper am Rhein. “The work on the prototype is part of our strategy to facilitate access to opera and ballet through digital offerings.”
“And at the same time,” Meyer adds, “it is intended to provide an impulse for the general debate on forms of addressing a new audience in the digital age – especially against the background of the discussion about the opera house of the future in Düsseldorf.”
AR Opera Lets Viewers Read Performer Bios
To integrate AR into the opera, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein teamed up with Vodafone. The AR glasses connect to the user’s smartphone via Vodafone’s 5G network. After connecting, Opera-goers can view performer biographies, background information about the show’s plot and subtitles of the songs performed.
Additionally, viewers will see AR animations at specific moments during the show. Attendees can even select from several camera perspectives, one of which allows them to look inside the orchestra pit.
Vodafone employees and opera staff began their work on the AR opera project last year. “AR technology digitally extends what happens on stage, building a bridge between the digital and physical worlds,” says Vodafone’s Head of Innovation, Michael Reinartz.
AR Live Events
While AR may be new to the Opera house, it’s already in use at other live events. Lil Nas X’s Long Live Montero tour features an AR experience hosted by Snapchat. Similarly, Vogue and Snapchat recently partnered for Vogue X Snapchat: Redefining The Body Exhibit. The exhibit featured displays by fashion designers that were transformed by the use of AR lenses.