The Virtual Opera House: hybrid realities in lighting design processes for large scale opera

Hunt, Nick (2020) The Virtual Opera House: hybrid realities in lighting design processes for large scale opera. Theatre and Performance Design, 6 (3-4). ISSN 2332-2578

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Digital visualisation tools – virtual models – are increasingly used as part of the creative and production processes of large-scale theatre and opera. These technologies not only enable the modelling of the performance space with its scenic and lighting scenographies, but also facilitate the modelling of production processes and human relationships. Focusing on lighting at the Royal Opera House, London, I examine the role of digital visualisation in the production process of large-scale opera. Digital models allow designers and production teams to manipulate not only virtual space, but also virtual time, and I show how the ‘Virtual Opera House’ allows multiple possible futures to be modelled, reviewed and selected. Further, the limited time available on the opera stage for lighting and technical rehearsals can be supplemented with additional, virtual stage rehearsals inserted between the physical ones: interstitial time. Effective working relationships between members of the lighting team are critical to the successful realisation of design intentions – relationships that take considerable labour to develop and maintain. The Virtual Opera House creates a space and time where professional relationships can be modelled; away from the pressures of stage rehearsals, the lighting designer, lighting programmer and others spend time to develop and nurture the working relationships they rely on later. Using primary evidence from practitioners, I demonstrate how the Virtual Opera House is not only a virtual model of the stage and physical production, but is also an environment where processes and relationships can be modelled and remodelled: a hybrid-reality collaborative environment.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: visualisation, virtual, hybrid, production, lighting, design, scenography
Divisions: Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance
Depositing User: Dr Nick Hunt
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2021 15:59
Last Modified: 17 May 2022 02:50

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