“Pygmalion” featured on Broadway World
On Site Opera, which creates immersive, site-specific opera productions, has partnered with Figaro Systems, developer of groundbreaking libretto simultexting technology, to preview a future in which opera is further freed from the opera house. On Thursday, June 19 at Lifestyle-Trimco Showroom in Manhattan, the companies will give a special performance of On Site’s new production of Rameau’s one-act Pygmalion for users of Google Glass. As the performers move about the space during the performance, audience members will be able to read an English translation of Ballot de Sovot’s libretto conveniently in their Glass field of vision.
The performance will take place at 7:30pm. Google Glass explorers are invited to RSVP at http://pygmaliononsite.eventbrite.com. Lifestyle-Trimco Mannequin Showroom is located at 152 West 25th St., New York, NY 10001. (Google Glass will not be provided.)
The Glass event is a new addition to the run of Pygmalion, which begins with a gala performance June 17, 7:30pm at Madame Tussauds New York (234 W 42nd St., New York, NY 10036). Tickets, $100.00, include full admission to the wax attraction before the opera and a post-performance reception with the cast. Performances will also take place June 20 and 21 at 7:30pm at Lifestyle-Trimco Mannequin Showroom, for which tickets are $35. Tickets can be purchased online at www.osopera.org or by phone at 1-888-71-TICKETS. Performances will run approximately 50 minutes. The June 17, 20 and 21 performances are open for review, while On Site Opera and Figaro consider the June 19 event an experiment.
Since celebrated director Eric Einhorn founded it less than two years ago, On Site Opera has done much to prove that exciting opera can happen outside the walls of a traditional theater. The company has garnered acclaim not only for the immersive, site-specific nature of its productions-Shostakovich’s The Tale of the Silly Baby Mouse at the Bronx Zoo and, most recently, Gershwin’s Blue Monday at the Cotton Club in Harlem-but also for their rigor. The New York Times wrote that Tale “enchanted audience members of all ages,” and added, “connoisseurs, meanwhile, could hardly miss the seriousness and skill of the undertaking.”
By collaborating with Figaro Systems, On Site Opera is beginning to realize the potential for Google Glass to revolutionize site-specific opera. In their peripheral vision, audience members will be able to read translations of libretti while following the action wherever it may happen within the venue. In the future, On Site and Figaro envision (for opera houses, too) the delivery of program material-artist information, opera history, and more-at junctures in the performance when audiences typically disengage, such as intermission and scene changes.
Einhorn says, “Since the advent of mobile devices, opera companies have fought their distracting presence in the opera house. Only in recent years have producers started to realize the untapped potential of smart devices. We believe that Google Glass‘s operatic application will lead the way for an unprecedented wave of technology-driven audience engagement. On Site Opera is thrilled to be partnering with Figaro Systems to make this a reality.”
Figaro Systems co-founder Geoff Webb says, “The future of performance captioning is available now! Google Glass is the perfect instrument for viewing captions discretely at a performance. Figaro is delighted to be a part of this bold experiment debuting the first ever Glass captioned live performance. Please join us and make history.”
Rameau’s Pygmalion, a 1748 acte de ballet, is widely considered one of his greatest one-acts. In Ballot de Sovot’s libretto, based on Ovid, the sculptor Pygmalion creates a statue to which he professes his love, and which he asks Venus to bring to life. L’Amour (Cupid) arrives to praise Pygmalion‘s artistry and faith in love, and animates the statue. The new production will dig deeper into the themes and lessons inherent in the myth.
For Pygmalion, Einhorn and On Site’s Creative Producer, Jessica Kiger, have assembled a team of accomplished artists. Einhorn will direct a cast featuring tenor Marc Molomot (tenor) as Pygmalion, Emalie Savoy (soprano) as Cephise, Justine Aronson (soprano) as L’Amour and Camille Zamora (soprano), who has just replaced Ava Pine, as La Statue. Jennifer Peterson will conduct the ensemble New Vintage Baroque. The production includes choreography by Jordan Isadore and costume design by Candida K. Nichols.