Royal Opera House to Present Virtual Reality Work ‘Current, Rising’

By Logan Martell

The Royal Opera House is set to present “Current, Rising,” described as a hyper-reality opera which comes in collaboration between ROH’s Audience Labs, Figment Productions, and Royal Holloway, University of London.

The work, developed by a female-led team and funded by UK Research and Innovation, is a 15-minute opera experience that blends virtual reality with a multisensory set. “Current, Rising” is directed by Netia Jones, composed by Samantha Fernando, and designed by Jo Scotcher. The work will feature soprano Anna Dennis.

The work will run from December 19, 2020, until January 17, 2021.

“With ‘Current, Rising,’ we have been exploring the possibilities of VR to expand the idea of what an opera can be, both in the process of creation, and in the audience experience,” Jones stated in a press release. “VR challenges all the traditional hierarchies of opera and classical music, and allows a completely different approach. It is the most democratic of all media – it can subvert the laws of physics so why would it need to conform to the usual rules of cultural exchange? It provides a space where music, the visual world and the physical experience are completely enmeshed, changing the relationships between the creators, the usual sequence of creation, and the relationship of the audience to the work. Here the audience are the protagonists, they are inside the work, and their physical experience is a part of the work itself.”

Additionally, audiences can check out a behind-the-scenes event which will feature interviews, as well as insight into the creative process, technology, and composition. The date for this event is yet to be confirmed.