Classic opera music given high-tech treatment

By Korea Herald

Spectacle of 3-D stage set may attract new audience for opera

  • Published : Apr 9, 2013 - 19:28
  • Updated : Apr 9, 2013 - 19:30
Ever-evolving computer technology has already made inroads into many fields of arts, bringing even those uninitiated in art closer to what is normally considered the high arts.

An ambitious project has recently kicked off, marrying one of the trickiest genres of music ― opera ― with a cutting-edge 3-D media faade. Arguably the first such attempt in the world, all eyes are on it to see if it can nurture a new generation of opera buffs.

At the “IAM Opera Gala 2013” to be held at Seoul Arts Center Opera Theater on May 2-4, technicians will project different images that go with arias from eight of Verdi’s signature operas onto the set ― a replica of Casa Verdi in Milan, where the Italian opera master resided more than 200 years ago. 
Blueprint for 3-D mapping set for “IAM Opera Gala 2013.” (International Art Management)

The so-called media faade using a wall of a building to project computer graphics is a popular art form. In Korea, it has been adapted at the Galleria department store in southern Seoul, Seoul Square, GS Tower and others as a means of communication between the public and the company.

Images of a wall breaking down, a large fish popping out of the main entrance, mysterious vapor floating in the air and others will fill the space. Singers will be walking in front of, in and out of the Casa Verdi, singing arias from “Rigoletto,” “Aida,” “Il Trovatore,” and “La Traviata,” as well as rather unfamiliar ones such as “Les Vpres Siciliennes,” “Don Carlo,” “La Forze del Destino,” “I Masnadieri” and “Il Corsaro.”

“It was quite interesting for us to create the whole performance. It was all about calculating even the smallest stage details such as the angle of the lighting and the detailed measurements of Casa Verdi,” said Han Seung-yeon, head of International Art Management, the event organizer.

But the media art is not expected to outshine the essence of the opera ― the music. The Prime Philharmonic Orchestra led by the Claudio Maria Micheli will accompany tenor Mario Malagnini, soprano Nunzia Santodirocco, mezzo soprano Katja Lytting and baritone Devid Cecconi.

“We will rule out all artificial audio sources and just make the most use of resonance and natural voices in the music. The 3-D technique will spice up the whole piece,” Han said.

“We are hoping that the 3-D opera will open a new chapter in the Korean opera market and even lead an international trend, mixing the most traditional genre with state-of-the-art technology,” he said.

By Bae Ji-sook (