Sennheiser recently supplied several hundred wireless headphones, IEMs and RF microphones for a unique operatic production that involved vocalists and dancers wandering through the world-famous Union Station in downtown Los Angeles as the audience participated in a unique collaborative arts event.
“Invisible Cities was an opera without a stage,” explains artistic director Yuval Sharon, speaking at the end of its 22-performance season. The performers and audience were free to journey within the public spaces of the station – famous for its exemplary 1930s period architecture – as they interacted with the rush of departing passengers and greetings from arriving ones.
The 70-minute opera was based on Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel Invisible Cities, with music and libretto composed by Christopher Cerrone using fictional conversations between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. The event was co-produced by The Industry and the L.A. Dance Project.
“Every time we go travelling, we’re just searching for something in ourselves we can’t otherwise find,” muses Sharon. “But our audience did not see sets, as in traditional theatre; instead they listened through high-tech wireless headphones.”
“Based on experiences of silent discos and museum tours that use wireless headphones, I began to think of the artistic possibilities for such a system,” states Martin Gimenez, the opera’s lead sound designer. “The audience could roam freely through the station, pursuing individual characters or creating their own story in the moment. A friend from The Industry mentioned having contacts at Sennheiser – one thing led to another, and [the company] quickly jumped into the deep end with us!” Read the full live report within the free iPad Edition of PSNEurope or via the online Digital Edition.