Rainer Glaap recently posted a story about Deutsche Oper am Rhein’s (German Opera on the Rhein) partnership with Vodaphone to offer augmented information about the opera’s production of “Die tote Stadt” (Dead City) in April. (Use Chrome browser or pop the link into Google translate to translate from German.)
I have written about the use of augmented reality devices to interact with art as well as long running projects to provide commentary for classical music concerts and opera. There hasn’t really been any leading technology that has emerged and been adopted to provide these services, but I am always interested to see what people have in the works.
The opera house has set aside 30 seats in the 2nd tier, that is where the 5G reception is best, for people who wish to use the glasses.
Although the glasses look very dark, they only dim the optical experience minimally, assures Vodafone’s head of innovation, Michael Reinartz. The glasses will also display surtitles, optionally in German or English. Apps can be controlled with the gaze. A special camera enables views into the orchestra pit.
…Christoph Meyer, General Manager of the Rheinoper. It is important to him to experiment with the prototype in order to inspire a new, technology-savvy audience for opera and ballet and to pass on the experience to other houses. “We are extremely curious to see how this works and how it will be accepted,” says Jens Breder, Marketing Director of the Rheinoper.
According to the article Vodaphone has already used this technology for football/soccer games, providing insight into a chef’s kitchen as he cooks, and neurosurgery procedures. Given the wide use of the technology across different industries and practices, I would think this product might have the best chance of success. They need to solve problems associated with providing supporting information and visuals to people viewing action on a broad football pitch as well as extreme close-ups in surgery. The equipment needs to operate effectively outdoors in weather and in the steamy chaos of a restaurant kitchen.
I expect they might be able to draw lessons from the different arenas of application to provide information people didn’t know they wanted. Information streams that football fans want by default may enhance the experience of opera goers. On the other hand, examining how people developed superb knife skills will be equally valued by those interested in cooking and surgery.