World Opera Project Needs Help

Those of you who follow my activities know that one of them is discussing how, over the course of the last four centuries, opera helped create the modern media world: electronic home entertainment, stereo-sound transmission, pay-cable, headphones, movies, and more. Here’s a press release about a recent lecture I did on that subject at the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2011/11-169.html

Opera is still pushing the limits of media technology. The Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Siegfried, for example, utilizes advanced computer graphics, controlled by image and positional sensors, projected in multiple depth planes, through the action of complex warp engines. it has been described as providing glasses-free 3D to an entire opera-house audience. And then there’s the World Opera Project (WOP), based north of the Arctic Circle in Tromsø, Norway.

The brainchild of Professor Niels Windfeld Lund, the WOP is working to create a future in which performers anywhere in the world can join together to form a complete opera presentation anywhere in the world. It involves high-speed data transmission (the project has utilized the lines normally associated with the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), home of the Large Hadron Collider), telepresence technologies, performer cueing, and more.

Beginning in 2006, Professor Lund assembled an amazing team involving government and academic laboratories, performing-arts institutions, and even manufacturers around the world. The project has already created several demonstrations of what might be achieved. You can read a bit about it at the WOP site here: http://theworldopera.org/

Unfortunately, the project is now in danger of running out of funds. I say “unfortunately” not only because I would like to see the World Opera Project continue but also because of what it might mean for the future of our industry. The many labs that have been working on the project might develop image and sound acquisition, processing, distribution, and presentation technologies that could be used in the movies and television of the future.

The next level of funding is not very large. If you think you can help plant the seeds of tomorrow’s technology, please contact Professor Lund: niels.windfeld.lund at uit.no.

Thanks!

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