“Singing lessons and opera performance in one, through the new technology of virtual reality… this is opera in the twenty-first century.” (Volkskrant - Dutch National Newspaper)

Weltatem is a project commissioned by the Nederlandse Reisopera/Dutch National Touring Opera,
and made possible by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Produced by Het Geluid Maastricht for the occasion of the Reisopera Techtrip festival.
Together with WildVreemd,

Weltatem is a music-theatre experience in which the audience is invited to explore their own voice. Through an interactive VR experience the audience is taken on a journey through singing: from soft breathing exercises to humming, to a full voiced melody in which suddenly, unexpectedly, the audience realizes they are singing together with a real-life choir. A second group of audience members is watching the ritualistic process of people discovering their own sound, their voice. After the experience of the first group, the groups switch, so each gets the chance to experience both viewpoints. Weltatem is a unique experience in which different worlds meet. Beyond being a new way of introducing technology into the theatrical realm, it is also the first VR experience that is totally controlled by your own voice— a performance in which opera and the virtual world merge.

A dream of immersion and the power of singing

The idea that Virtual Reality could give a possible realization of Richard Wagner’s Dream of Immersion was a driving force of our project Weltatem. Wagner’s theatre in Bayreuth was a revolution in the way we experience opera. If we, nowadays, could bring the hyper-individual and often passive experience of VR into the realm of the collective, active experience of opera, we could realize a new kind of immersive theatrical journey.

Even more, we wanted to seduce the audience to let go of the fear of having their voice heard and get acquainted with the basics of opera, the power of singing. With international opera coach Kirsten Schötteldreier, we created a VR-experience which gets the audience, in a safe and approachable way, to participate in the action through singing.

Individual and collective, passive and active, virtual and real; we play with these states to create an experience that is futuristic and ancient. This is Weltatem.

Weltatem has been featured in IETM's recent publication on "Mixed reality and the theatre of the future."
As a leading example in new found integration of virtual reality technology incorporated in an immersive live experience. Connecting people from different backgrounds across generations.
If you wish to read the full article you can do so over here.

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Practicalities

Weltatem is an interactive VR opera of 40 minutes, in which the audience experience a synchronised VR experience while simultaneously taking part in a live choir performance. The performance is available in English, Dutch and German (other languages in consultation). In its current setting it allows for 60 audience members at the same time who, divided in two groups, will take turns with the VR goggles.

Weltatem can be performed with the original Techtrip community choir or we can train a new choir with singers in your local community, or from your opera house.

A Weltatem installation is also available: a 10 minute experience, suitable for small festivals, museum exhibitions and presentations. This smaller scale version is accessible for 4-6 people at the same time.

For more information regarding technicalities and production costs, please contact us directly:

info@weltatem.eu

for more information regarding technicalities and production costs, please contact us directly through:

Credits:

Commisioned by the Nederlandse Reisopera/Dutch National Touring Opera
Produced by Het Geluid Maastricht together with Wildvreemd.
Music and musical direction/consultation/ voice VR experience: KlangK (Kirsten Schötteldreier)
directed by Het Geluid Maastricht,
scenography and costumes by Mush design (Marouscha Levy)
Virtual Reality experience designed by Monobanda PLAY
Sound design by Spook.fm (Henk van Engelen)