Leo Doulton, 6 June 2015

- Notes

- Ideas

- Further questions

- Conclusions/recommendations

- Some relevant organisations


- Currently, there is not much opera specifically *for* the internet.

–Some smaller, unfinished extracts on soundcloud etc., possibly make opera for this - short extracts with animation (Toria was working on a project called ‘Minute Opera’ along these lines, currently seeking funding)

- What are the benefits of opera for the internet?

– Accessibility

– Platform for small organisations

– Accessibility - make and share

– Platform specific work

– Interactivity e.g. choosing which section of a highly polyphonic work to follow and choose your own narrative

- No programmers in attendance

- How flexible can we be with this medium?

- How can we collaborate with programmers/have conversations with technical fields central to this?

– Before doing this, we must talk about what this does to opera

- Can the internet change the opera forms, or can you change it and use it as another channel?

– Internet accessibility - maybe use SimCity and similar things - accessible works with

different presentation

- Internet content

– Short pieces of content, that may be partly curated, but virality is key

– Interactable video

– Way out for composers who are stuck with long-form operas in a semi-finished state

- Internet is generally either very populist or very specialised (although some works can pass over this distinction)

- Internet's constant development means that it's hard to be ahead of where it is

- Alexi (works for Royal Society of Arts' digital team - not here in an official capacity) lectures put online, few 100 view/read attached papers

– Animations of key 2 minute sections popular - millions of hits. Disseminates, even if not attracting attention back to the original papers

- Does opera online need to appeal to people in a way that gets them into the opera house?

- How can we deal with the short focus length/traditional short length of online videos.

Minds will normally have opera as one of several activities online at once - dopamine hit from repeated stimulus.

– Perhaps good, short tunes?

– Serialised opera designed to be performed in chunks?

— Possibly non-linear

– Must be short

- ENO trailers for show (Thomas, from ENO) with bits of music. But very different to an opera

– Different medium

– Good trailer very different to a good opera

– Show the best visuals?

– Perhaps use trailers as a model for future very short operas

- More flexible kind of operas made with programmers?

- Why make opera for the internet?

– Medium must be essential to the work

– Loses excitement of doing things in the venue - on the internet, no aura

- Is the opera house the only place you can access opera in?

- Live streaming is attractive, keeps some aura of ‘liveness’ but still not quite

- If you can get the rights to broadcast, can put out all over the world

- Do trailers reach people and attract them

– Trailers on Sky TV for ENO's Carmen suggest that they can lead to younger audiences

– How to get through filters that allow specialised advertising to new audiences?

- For Royal Society of Arts, most successful content presents a pithy way of thinking that says something people already agree with

– A model for hit online opera?

- Interactivity might lead to a different audience

- Opera is slow of its nature

- ‘The Opera Machine’ from the Royal Opera House - multi-channel work, flick through different things

– 17 camera angles

– commentary and explanatory documents

– backstage things

– Chance to choose what you saw

- Presents opera in an internet-only way

- Social media as a way to find opera?

– Largely only reaches people who already like opera

- Maybe make internet opera for pre-existing opera fans?

- An interesting concept or way of presenting opera on the internet might get attention

- Would people want to watch a serialised opera online?

– Maybe

– Less of an event

– An event like site-specific Rigoletto broadcast on internet and TV is still special

– To leave the opera house, need a special thing

– Not just a camera pointed at the stage of a staged production

- How to deal with different qualities of sound production e.g. speakers etc.

- Dissemination as main issue? Virality?

– Must issue content people like

- Compose with awareness that attention will be elsewhere

- Funding

– Many costs associated with production

– Paywalls won't work with regard to virality

– As a way to get ‘bums on seats’?

– Patreon - constant support at rate set by patrons

– Crowdfunding?

– Opera funding mainly from fairly conservative sources

- Why do it online?

– Size of potential audience

– Live experience is so key to opera - something lost

– Videogame opera possible - 1990s Ring Cycle game?

– Raise awareness of young artists

– Education tool

Further questions

- How do we collaborate with programmers to make an internet-specific opera?

- Should we adapt old operas, or make new ones for the internet?

- How can we use the internet for reaching new audiences?

- Should opera online reach out to new audiences?

- How do we deal with the loss of aura for audiences?


- Opera for the internet, due to traditions of short content and filters on how content reaches people on social media, should be short, popular, and saying something people already agreed with if aiming for virality, composed with an awareness of the fact that audiences' attention may be distracted and the loss of aura from putting opera on a computer.

- May be most effective to focus on pre-existing opera-lovers.

Some relevant organisations

The Opera Machine

Minute Opera

Virtually Opera

ENO's opera trailers

Royal Society of Arts' digital content