THE WHALE: VR Opera © Monika Krajka i
Contemporary opera ‘The Whale’ is a VR and 360° sound technology based production developed by the international team of artists in 2021–2023. The opera is produced by the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre and independent contemporary opera production house ‘Operomanija’. Project is open for international co-producers, interested in new music theatre and ecology.
VR opera ‘The Whale’ draws attention to the importance of the whales to the eco-system of our planet. Through operatic music supported by the spatial sound, through animated image inspired by the video materials prefilmed in the acoustically unique and visually impressive locations all over the world, creators encourage human’s sensitivity to the environment, nature, and ecosystem of our planet.
The audience will attend the opera via VR helmet and headphones (visuals and sound are pre-recorded and created in 3D 360° environment). Each performance session will last for 30–35 minutes and could be designed for 10 up to 25 spectators. Audience members will find themselves right in the centre of the events, moving from one scene to another, encountering the characters and drama, as the plot tightens.
The music for VR opera ‘The Whale’ will be composed / performed in three ways. First, a traditional score composed by Rūta Vitkauskaitė for symphony orchestra and solo voices and instruments. Other sections will be pre-recorded as audio only and later manipulated with electronic surround programmes by Jens Hedman. Later, for all the remaining sections of the work, electronic music composition to be created from whale sounds, samples, and other electronic sounds by J. Hedman.
The opera will heavily rely on animated reality created by video artist Rimas Sakalauskas. Creative team will pre-film and take photos of the locations by using the 360° camera and the Photogrammetry technique.
Spatial Opera Company was founded in 2010 by Swedish composer Jens Hedman, opera soprano Åsa Nordgren, and Lithuanian composer Rūta Vitkauskaitė. Together they have created two operas and a number of smaller works. Most notable is opera Confessions, produced by Operomanija, which was awarded Golden Stage Cross in Lithuania and has toured across Lithuania, Sweden, and EU with 47 shows to date. Spatial Opera Company has been financed by EMS-Elektromusikstudion, Fylkingen, Nordic Culture Point, Kulturbryggan and other partners.