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+ / 06.06.2017

REWIND takes Madam Butterfly and Magic Flute into Virtual Reality

This summer, you’ll get the chance to experience opera in an entirely different way – through virtual reality. Welsh National Opera has commissioned REWIND to create a brand new VR installation to launch in Cardiff in July 2017, before touring other locations in Wales and England. It is the first time that an opera company has used VR to re-imagine operatic scenes.

‘Magic Butterfly’ invites audiences to step inside a virtual representation of two classic operas, ‘The Magic Flute’ and ‘Madam Butterfly’. Using Google Daydream head mounted displays, audiences young and old will be given the chance to interact and engage with these re-imagined worlds, and experience fully responsive animation and sound. The experiences will be housed inside a shipping container that has been specially designed by Welsh designer Gwyn Eiddior to help create a fully immersive experience for audiences.

‘Madam Butterfly’ combines motion capture, animation, music and technology to create a new artistic expression of classical opera, providing an interesting introduction to those new to the artform and re-connecting with fans. It features an original WNO recording of Un bel di (One Fine Day) with soprano Karah Son who recently sang the role of Cio Cio San in WNO’s production of ‘Madam Butterfly’. Audiences will also be able to experience lion taming to a recording of ‘How soft, how strong your magic sound’ from ‘The Magic Flute’.

‘Magic Butterfly’ opens outside Wales Millennium Centre on 14 July and will run for four weeks before touring to Llandudno, Birmingham and Liverpool during WNO’s Autumn season. Booking is not required, and the experience is free to visitors. The experience will also be presented in London at the V&A Museum in January 2018 as part of the V&A and Royal Opera’s Opera: Passion, Power and Politics exhibition.

‘Magic Butterfly’ schedule:
14 July-11 August 2017 – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
15-17 September 2017 – LLAWN, Llandudno Parade
23 September-14 October 2017 – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
30 October-5 November 2017 – Central location, Birmingham
9-12 November 2017 – Albert Docks, Liverpool
19-21 January 2018 – V&A Museum, London

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We wanted to build upon the success of our last digital project, ‘Field’, and produce an innovative experience that audiences can engage with physically as well as emotionally. This is an exciting, new venture for the company, using new technology, drama and music to help us put audiences right at the heart of what we do. We think that the visual and auditory experience that is opera lends itself perfectly to VR. I have no doubt that Magic Butterfly will delight audiences and help us build new audiences for opera.