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The virtual opera house

The world is in constant motion and so are we. In our innovation projects, we explore new technologies to see how it can help us reach even more people with performing arts. At the same time, we increase accessibility, broaden participation and lower the barriers to entry. We reflect the world around us and seek answers. Follow our journey here.

Just now

Operaverse – the virtual opera house

We’re constantly taking new steps in our digital development, testing and taking new digital approaches to attract both new and existing audiences. Thirty years ago we laid the foundations for a brand new opera house, and we continue pushing boundaries. At the moment we are working hard to create a digital foyer experience. Follow our work on developing this pilot for a virtual opera house that we playfully call Operaverse.

The pilot was developed through a design sprint with &friends, Fully Studios and GöteborgsOperan.


Preliminary studies gave important insights

What should a virtual opera house contain? How should it feel to experience? Who is it for, and why? A preliminary study provided valuable insights into how we can attract the target group of 18 to 35 year olds open their eyes to the Gothenburg Opera and all the exciting things that take place here 365 days a year. Insights into how we might reach young adults with content that enchants them and arouses wonder by creating a space where the experience begins.

The preliminary study was carried out with a focus group analysis, a broad workshop with over 130 participants. It provided insights that we tested on a group of experts with different backgrounds. The insights we are now further developing are:

  • We will define our assets (the music, themes, artists, the house, the workshops etc.)
  • We will digitize the assets and make them available for co-creation or to eventually create virtual performing arts ourselves that are enhanced by new technology.

What we offer must be based on what we already do, have value for the recipient, lower thresholds, have the highest quality and arouse wonder. We strive for our own learning to take part in the rapid change through new technology that is taking place and to share our experience with others.

The feasibility study was carried out by Visual Arena and financed by the Region Västra Götaland, (Koncernstab digitalisering). The study's target group analysis was carried out by students from the digital design line from Yrgo.

Can you make an AI chatbot talk like an opera character?

Göteborg Opera and &friends are currently exploring how, with the help of AI and ChatGPT, we can create an extension of the acclaimed children's opera Sandvargen. With an AI-powered chatbot, kids can ask big life questions to a virtual version of the wise, thoughtful - and a little kooky - character of Sandvargen (The Sand Wolf). It's a bit like sitting on the edge of the stage and continuing to converse with Sandvargen after the show is over.

An avatar on the kitchen table

Imagine having a dancer from GöteborgsOperans Danskompani at home on the kitchen table, or meeting one of the characters in one of our operas who sits next to you and tells secrets from the show!

In connection with the dance company's pop-up festival in May 2022, we launched one of our dancers, Lee Yuan-Tu, as an avatar. Now you can invite him home to dance where you see fit. This is what it looked like when he danced at one of our partners, Visual Arena.

Want to try?

  • Open Instagram
  • Create a story
  • Choose a filter and search @goteborgsoperan
  • Choose one of the 7 options and let Lee dance for you

In the future we will explore how we can use avatars within opera and musicals. The Lee avatar was created with motion capture together with Atvis and the 3D-artist Jacob Cederberg.

Here not here as a virtual stage

In the spring of 2022, we carried out a learning project where we have created one of the scenes from the dance work Here not here into a virtual stage. With the help of the motion caption film technique, we have filmed dancers in GöteborgsOperans Danskompani and created avatars. Thanks to VR headsets, the viewer can get up close to the dancers inside a glass labyrinth. Because the performance can be experienced from different angles – you can experience the same piece over and over again without tiring of it.

We showed the result during the premiere of Here not here, but it is also possible to take parts of this performance on future tours.

The project aimed to explore digital art from an performing arts perspective while learning, among other things, how digital tools could free up rehearsal time on stage by allowing the scenography to be visualized without physically building it up.

Curious about how the future of digital performing arts might look?

The video below shows dancers being recorded and made into virtual reality avatars using motion capture.


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