Sorry. Had to get the fangirl reaction out of the way. I know there are opera lovers out there who toil away providing valuable science and engineering services to society, many of whom wish they had continued with piano lessons and become musicians. I sit here on the other side, having made music my livelihood, occasionally wishing I had followed my math muse and become a different kind of nerd.
Glass: Our Back Story
I followed up on a Google Glass Explorer invitation last year, and a bunch of us sat around Wolf Trap, brainstorming ways in which wearable tech might make a unique contribution to our performing arts world. We discussed and abandoned many things, but two themes resonated for us. The first: the potential for Glass to lead the way in the development of the next wave of supertitle translation technology. (Explored in Part Three of this blog series.) The second: the ability of Glass to be assimilated into complicated environments in order to share first-person perspectives not available to the average Joe.
I was inspired by the story of a real-world explorer who was incorporating Glass into his work in Antarctica. He relishes the ability this technology affords him to share his truly unique point of view with the world, and he feels it enhances his storytelling when he shares his experiences. Now, I’m no wilderness adventurer. But I am part of a small community of arts professionals who share the experience of being inside the complicated, energetic and fascinating machine that is a professional opera production. And although I can gush (and have done so) about the excitement of a performance night, words don’t always suffice. So we decided to take our audience with us on this Carmen ride, #throughGlass.
David Pogue is the perfect man for this particular job. He got a music degree, worked on Broadway, wrote Opera for Dummies, was the New York Times tech correspondent and founded Yahoo Tech. He will be the first Glass-wearing Spanish gypsy opera super in the history of the world, and next Friday, he will share his Carmen experience with all of us. David and several WTO production staff members will use Glass to record short video snippets and take photos all the way from the makeup chair to the stage to the curtain calls.
We will not be filming an entire opera with Glass, and you will not be able to experience large portions of the performance this way. Because after all, this additional point-of-view is an enhancement of the actual opera. It is not the thing itself. (Forgot what The Main Thing is? Go back here.) It’s an add-on; a bit of texture that will give patrons an idea of what goes on behind the scenes and how it feels to be on the large Filene Center stage surrounded by over 200 instrumentalists and singers. And since Glass is wearable, it is easily integrated into the theatrical environment.
A few words about the mechanics, for those of you who are interested: We will upload content periodically to both our Google Plus page (plus.google.com/+WTOpera) and our Facebook page (facebook.com/WolfTrapOperaCompany). There will be new content available at three different points: before the show starts at 8:15 (check it out while you picnic), during intermission (around 9:35) and after the show (about 10:45).
Next installment: The Story, Right in Your Hands. But before that, enjoy this look at last month’s tech load-in of Giulio Cesare at The Barns, #throughGlass, courtesy of Technical Director Tim McCormick.