VR headsets are not the first accessory one associates with opera-lovers – gamers, yes, but opera fans? Well, virtual reality is coming to Melbourne Opera and the company’s Resident Conductor Greg Hocking is convinced that once audiences give it a go they will be hooked.

When Melbourne Opera presents Verdi’s Macbethat Her Majesty’s Theatre next month, not only will it livestream the performance on 26 May through Melbourne Digital Concert Hall (MDCH), but it will also host a live VR stream at the same time.

The production will be directed by film and opera director Bruce Beresford ( Driving Miss Daisy, Breaker Morantand Ladies in Black). Beresford had never experienced VR until he was persuaded to don headsets and watch the Brindisifrom La Traviata. The 3D, 360-degree virtual world in which the singers performed the famous Drinking Song astonished him.

Director Bruce Beresford with performers Eleanor Greenwood and Simon Meadows. Photograph © Robin Halls

“Bruce was just hilarious,” says Hocking with a laugh. “It was hard to describe to him what VR is like. I said to him, ‘wait until you’ve tried...