Tech and Virtual Reality researchers team up with Irish National Opera to bring opera to marginalised communities

Submitted on Monday, 06/04/2020

Insight and Tech Consortium TRACTION, partners with Irish National Opera (INO) to bring opera to the community

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Irish National Opera is teaming up with tech researchers in an exciting collaboration that aims to make opera accessible to all.

INO plans to collaborate with researchers in DCU’s Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics to create an innovative operatic work using these new immersive technologies for presentation in 2022. The venture is part of a Europe-wide Horizon 2020 project that aims to use technology in an effort to make opera more appealing and accessible to marginalised communities.

The project, known as TRACTION, will explore new approaches to opera creation through immersive and interactive digital media.

The operas will be drawn from the experiences of three communities; Migrant communities in Tallaght through partnership with Civic Theatre; rural communities through partnership with Music Generation Offaly/Westmeath and Gaelteacht communities through partnership with Conradh Na Gaeilge.

The Insight researchers will use adaptive video, Virtual Reality and 360º multimedia content, to develop tools that allow for the co-creation of the opera.

The new opera will be designed and conceived as a Virtual Reality experience and the researchers are partnering with a number of technology experts, including Virtual Reality Ireland, Dublin City University, Vicomtech and Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica,

TRACTION, funded under Horizon2020 for a period of three years, will provide a bridge between opera professionals and communities across Europe: community opera with migrants (around LICEU at Barcelona), opera co-creation with young inmates in prison (driven by SAMP in Leiria) and bringing a novel digital opera to communities in Ireland (led by INO in Ireland).

With consortium partners and artists from Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, UK and Ireland, Prof Noel O’Connor CEO Insight SFI Centre for Data Analytics, School of Electronic Engineering DCU and Dr. Gabriel-Miro Muntean, Associate Professor, Director DCU Performance Engineering Laboratory, Funded Investigator Insight SFI Centre for Data Analytics, will lead the Horizon 2020 TRACTION project for Dublin City University.

“This is an ambitious project bringing together the arts and technology to develop new pathways to bring people together, particularly those in danger of being marginalised.  Achieving this requires a pan-European approach, bringing together a diverse range of expertise from across disciplines and geographies. Inter-disciplinary research will be the key to enabling the project to realise the ambition of a completely new approach to social inclusion. ” Prof. Noel O’Connor, DCU

“As top international researchers, the DCU team members’ role in this project is to propose and design novel solutions and use innovative technologies in order to enable remote user access to all stages of opera, from rich media content creation to artistic act consumption, at high quality levels. By employing these innovative solutions, wider participation of diverse categories of people is expected, for their social and cultural benefits.” Dr. Gabriel-Miro Muntean, DCU

“Traction is a major opportunity for Irish National Opera to think outside the box. Our mission is to make opera a central part of Ireland’s creative voice. With this project we engage new communities in the creation and love of opera. We overcome barriers of geography, language and social exclusion. We demonstrate opera’s capacity to re-invent itself and to embrace new technology. Through research we will establish something that we instinctively know ourselves – that opera can have hugely positive effects both on individuals in their own lives, and more broadly for society as a whole.” – Fergus Sheil, Artistic Director of Irish National Opera.

“We do not want to make opera palatable to those who don’t attend. We want to define new forms of artistic creation through which the most marginalised groups (migrants, the rural poor, young offenders and others), can work with artists to tell the stories that matter now.” Mikel Zorrilla, VICOMTECH

TRACTION website: