Umculo Opera Incubator Explores Virtual Staging with New Videos

By Logan Martell

Exploring the virtual possibilities of performance, the Umculo Opera Incubator has released two music videos which blend operatic arias with computer-generated environments and effects, titled “Arcadia,” and “Inferno.”

Directed by Kobie van Rensburg, these videos come as part of South Africa’s National Arts Festival, with this year’s iteration being entirely virtual due to the ongoing closure of theaters.

Both videos feature South African tenor Siyabonga accompanied by the UMCULO Ensemble; they were produced using consumer-level cameras, computer equipment, and software, to demonstrate that nearly anyone can get involved in this emerging method of virtual staging.

Umculo has also released a short, behind-the-scenes video that delves into the creative process behind “Arcadia” and “Inferno.”

All videos may be viewed on the National Arts Festival website.