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Virtually Onstage

October 17, 2018 School of Music

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UMD artists and researchers open new views of opera.

By Chris Carroll | TERP 

"For decades, audiences have watched from their seats as a group of nuns are marched to the guillotine at the climax of Francis Poulenc’s 1956 opera 'Dialogues of the Carmelites.'

"Now, thanks to a collaboration between the Maryland Opera Studio and the Maryland Blended Reality Center, they can be on stage with the performers through virtual reality (VR) technology.

"It can get almost uncomfortably intimate, as when a doomed young novice sings a hymn, seemingly staring into the eyes of the viewer only two feet away. The viewer is wearing a VR headset, but too immersed in the performance to even notice.

“'You can look at the micro-expressions of the performers, you can see the gleam in their eye, and really establish empathy with them,' says Amitabh Varshney, a professor of computer science, dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences and one of the project’s leaders."

Read the complete article in TERP

Image via TERP