The Göteborg Opera should be an innovative, dynamic meeting place that awakens curiosity and creativity. Our innovation project GO XploreART (working name) is investigating how emerging technologies can help us reach an even wider audience via digital media. In so doing we can increase access, broaden engagement, and lower barriers to entry. Our goal is for this project to gain international attention by being a trailblazer in the development of digital performing arts globally.
In the spring of 2022 we carried out a pilot project, for which one of the scenes in the dance creation Here not Here – with choreography by Maxine Doyle and set design by Es Devlin – was made into a virtual space. Using motion capture sensors, we recorded dancers from GöteborgsOperans Danskompani and made animated avatars from them. Then, by wearing VR-goggles the audience was able to get right up close to these avatar dancers performing inside a glass labyrinth, and they were able to view the tableau from different angles – as many times as they wished. The results of the pilot were shown to audiences in our foyer during the premiere of Here not Here.
This project also made it possible to take part of this fantastic production on tour which, due to logistics, might not otherwise be able to be experienced by tour audiences. Here not Here involves a guided tour through the backstage areas of our large opera house, during which the audience encounters different sets and scenes, so many tour stages would not be able to accommodate such a large-scale project.
The aim of this pilot project was to explore digital performing arts from an artistic perspective, but also to learn how digital tools might free-up Main Stage rehearsal time by visualising rehearsals within the set designs before they are physically built.