The Royal Swedish Opera’s first digital work –Sharon Eyal’s celebrated dance piece Half Life in VR

By on April 21, 2018

Sharon Eyal’s critically acclaimed dance piece Half Life was filmed last autumn in Virtual Reality (VR). The world premiere of this pioneering VR piece will take place at the opera house on Stockholm Culture Night, April 21, 2018. Using VR glasses, the audience will have the opportunity to look around the performance in a 3D enviroment. Private press screenings can also be arranged by appointment.

Half Life VR is the Royal Swedish Opera’s first 100 percent digital work. Tickets must be booked in advance at Audiences will be privy to an experience beyond the ordinary, allowing them to view things from a gripping, new perspective. Using VR glasses, spectators can virtually step into the piece as if they are a part of its universe.

As a national stage, we should be at the absolute leading edge when it comes to using new, digital technology. What’s more, opera and ballet lend themselves easily to digitalization,” says Catarina Falkenhav, Communications Director at the Royal Swedish Opera. “In the long run, it’s about finding new ways to convey our performing arts and reach even larger audiences.”

“What raises the bar in this production is that our point of departure has been the choreography from the very start. We’re not putting up a camera and filming it as a documentary from afar, we’re taking part in it, up close,” says Sebastian Lönberg, Project Manager at the Royal Swedish Opera. “This is not an experiment with new technology – we’re using it at a high level and pushing boundaries.”

Half Life VR is a collaboration between the Royal Swedish Opera and the Swedish production company Robert & Robert Studios, which specializes in Virtual Reality (VR).

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

With VR, spectators get to experience angles that they would never usually observe as part of the audience. Surrounded by dance on all sides, they see details that are impossible to see from their seats.

Press quote: “Half Life is a rich gift to the audience and the Royal Swedish Opera, a complex piece of group dynamics charged with life”, writes Anna Ångström, at SVD (Feb. 17, 2017) in conjunction with the physical premiere on the Opera’s main stage last spring, while Örjan Abrahamsson in DN (Feb. 20, 2017) celebrated the piece as one with “explosive/eruptive power”.

Helena Olofsson, Culture & Music