February 21, 15:50

‘Augmenting Opera: Parsifal in Bayreuth’

Presented by MIT

Virtual production, motion capture, and hybrid, emerging mixed-reality performance practices continue to energize the contemporary scene in opera, theater, dance, music theater, and reveal the possibilities of more and more profoundly immersive experiences. Richard Wagner’s own search for an experience that would wholly ensnare the senses—the Gesamtkunstwerk—led him to a brilliant stage architecture intervention—he hid the orchestra.

But he also unleashed upon the world an impossibly arresting acoustic—an acoustic that is inseparable from its experience. His showdown with the impossible has an analogue with our own contemporary struggle to drawn bits and atoms ever closer together. All roads lead to a blurring of the lines between the real and the virtual. My first collaboration with the Bayreuth Festspiele resulted in a VR adaptation of Siegfried’s battle with Fafner, the dragon — Sei Siegfried. This began a multi-year collaboration to augment Richard Wagner’s Bühnenweihfestspiel, Parsifal.

This talk is held in the course of the Innovation Day.


Jay Scheib 

Professor at MIT, Director, Designer

Jay Scheib is an interdisciplinary director, developer, and designer of plays, operas, musicals and other hybrid live performance immersions. A Professor for Music and Theater Arts at MIT, Scheib’s stagings and interventions have been lauded throughout Europe and the United States.

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