The Royal Swedish Opera up for award at Venice International Film Festival

By on August 18, 2018
The Royal Swedish Opera up for award at Venice International Film Festival

The Royal Swedish Opera up for award at Venice International Film Festival: double nominated for Half Life VR.

Last autumn, in conjunction with the Royal Swedish Ballet’s performance of Sharon Eyal’s dance work Half Life at the Royal Swedish Opera, the production was also captured using Virtual Reality (VR). Now Half Life VR has been nominated for a prestigious award both at the Venice International Film Festival, which starts August 29, and at the Biennale de Lyon. The VR film has also been invited to participate in Asia’s largest film festival. This is testimony to the Royal Swedish Opera being a forerunner in using new digital technologies, cross-disciplinary collaborations and reaching new audiences.

“I am right here in the middle of the dancers on the Royal Swedish Opera’s stage, and in some sequences hovering above … as the cyborg-like ensemble, in their skin-tight tricot costumes, approach in clusters, pointing and staring.” These are the words of Cecilia Djurberg, theatre and dance critic at Aftonbladet, after experiencing Half Life VR at the Royal Swedish Opera.

Using VR glasses, spectators get to see new angles of Sharon Eyal’s critically acclaimed contemporary dance work, which was performed on Sweden’s national stage for opera and ballet last autumn. In 3D, the audience gets to experience 13 dancers from 60 different vantage points. Surrounded by dance on all sides, the spectators discover details that are impossible to see from their seats.

Half Life VR is the Royal Swedish Opera’s first purelydigital work, created in collaboration with Robert & Robert Studios. Specialising in VR, this Swedish production company nevertheless sees the nomination as “the most important thing that has happened to us.”

“No VR production has ever used so many angles and transitions like this. Every cutand angle in Half Life VR is intended to enhance the presence of the spectator in the dance,” says Robert Connor from Robert & Robert Studios.

“The film is part of the Royal Swedish Opera’s ongoing investment in digital technology, which is tied the Opera’s ambition to find new ways to convey its rich performing arts offering and to reach more and more people,” explains Catarina Falkenhav, Communications Director at the Royal Swedish Opera.

“Naturally we are absolutely delighted with the nominations, which are testimony the high level of artistic quality at the Royal Swedish Opera. As a national stage, we should be at the absolute leading edge when it comes to using new digital technology. Opera and ballet lend themselves easily to digitalisation. Ultimately, it isabout finding new ways to convey our performing arts and reach even larger audiences,” says Falkenhav.

This year the Royal Swedish Opera has also received acclaim for using Augmented Reality (AR) technology in its season programme, enabling visitors, wherever they are, to hear music and get a feel for upcoming productions. All that is needed is the programme brochure and Opera’s app in a smartphone, and the pages will come to life. People in the photos cry, throw things out of the programme, speak – and musical excerpts from the productions play via people’s mobiles.

The short version of Half Life VR, 12 minutes long, will be competing in the “Competition linear” category at the 75th Venice International Film Festival and Catarina Falkenhav will be there to represent the Royal Swedish Opera.

Half Life VR has also been nominated for an award at the prestigious Biennale de Lyon later in September. This year the biennale, from Sept 13-23, will explore the close connection between dance and all forms of digital images: stage, photography, film – all the way to VR. In October, Half Life VR will also be featured in the VR category at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), one of the most important film festivals in Asia, taking place from October 4-13 this year.

Culture & Music | The Royal Swedish Opera