This exposition is a guide to the four ludo-immersive chamber operas in the doctoral project An Operatic Game-Changer. The operas were created during the period 2016–2020 and are contextualized and discussed in the dissertation with the same title, in which the practice of facilitating operas as adventures rather than spectacles is fleshed out. Through these participatory and multi-disciplinary concepts, conceived with the purpose of generating and analyzing live encounters between professional opera artists and co-playing visitors, immersive features are realized and explored.
Arcade is also a kaleidoscopic performance and an exhibition, designed as an operatic amusement park in miniature, with artefacts and excerpts from the operas, and presented live in connection with the public defense of the thesis in 2022 at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg. This online resource functions as an archive of information about the operatic works and their performances, both for those attending the performance/exhibition in Gothenburg, and for those wanting to learn about the project without experiencing this event.
This account will guide the viewer through the iterations of the research project and the step-wise development of the four chamber operas used for artistic experimentation. Investigating the interplay between physiological, sociological, and psychological factors in these ludo-immersive operas, the research project has produced new knowledge about how different kinds of immersion can made use of in operatic art works.
The dissertation highlights 1) the artists’ work as hosts and facilitators, 2) the mutual influence of co-acting visitors on each other, and 3) the concept’s potential to make visitors interact operatically, that is, by means of poetic, musical, and theatrical contributions. There are basically two ways to make use of this exposition: if you choose to start reading the book, use this summary as a source of illustrative examples and samples. Or, use this summary to get acquainted with the developing practice of ludo-immersive opera, and use the book as a source of further reflections and insights.
The exposition displays assorted media from the productions and documentation of live-presentations of the operas. It provides the reader of the dissertation and the visitor to the performance/exhibition with 1) an overview of the prerequisites for immersion in the operas as they were conceived within the research project and 2) examples of concrete action from the live-events.
About the Operas
The Architect (premiered in March 2017) is a “larp opera” with forked paths in which the visitors act as insiders, and appear in the story as citizens of a dystopic nation, with the ability to change the ongoing storyline by interfering hands-on. In this opera, the operatic visitors’ propensity to take individual action was studied, in relation to their interactions with the professional cast, the music, and the other visitors.
In the Darkness, Everything Went All Black (premiered in July 2018) is an operatic experience in which the visitors play captives in an unspecified milieu, set in total darkness but within a rich immersive sound environment. In this opera, the operatic visitors’ capacity to imagine the unseen was studied.
Reich of Rán (premiered in September 2018) is a one-to-one “micro opera” in speed-dating format with forked paths in which the visitors play guests in an underwater world and appear as fishermen parleying with the goddess of the sea. In this opera, the visitors’ ability to act unnoticed by other visitors was studied, as well as the possibilities for artistic communication without distinct language.
Chronos’ Bank of Memories (parts premiered in November 2019) is a puzzle opera with a circular and multi-fold storyline. Acts, scenes, and artifacts were scattered over time and place so that the visitors, appearing as clients in a pawn shop for memories, had to put the pieces together themselves. In this opera, the visitors’ awareness of their changed position as mobile discoverers and activators was studied, along with the professional casts' acquired skills to work with this new kind of opera-goer.