Opera Queensland has unveiled an augmented reality opera experience called Project AR-ia, which will see Mozart’s The Magic Flute come to life in users’ homes. Created in collaboration with Google’s Creative Lab, the prototype app uses Google’s augmented reality platform ARCore to present photoreal renderings of performers against the backdrop of users’ living spaces.

Project AR-ia. Photo supplied

Project AR-ia features Australian opera singers Brenton Spiteri, Emma Pearson and Wade Kernot, accompanied by Queensland chamber orchestra Camerata, in an abridged version of the opera. The app is currently on display at the 12th ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Asia in Brisbane.

Google Creative Lab approached Opera Queensland about developing the app in early 2018, said Artistic Director Patrick Nolan.

“As an arts organisation we’re curious about how we can tell stories that embrace the technology of our time and use it to engage new audiences and create new opera experiences,” Nolan said. “We want to reveal the wonder of opera to new audiences and break down the stereotype of opera as inaccessible. This experimental AR app demonstrates the potential for the art form to be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere, at any time.”

Brenton Spiteri being captured for Project AR-ia. Photo supplied

Google’s Project Lead Jonathan Richards said Project AR-ia was created to explore new kinds of storytelling possibilities.

“This project provides a glimpse into what stories and entertainment could look like in five to 10 years’ time, and beyond,” Richards said. “By working with Opera Queensland to bring a rich, audio-visual art form like opera to life on Google’s ARCore platform, we can hopefully inspire a new generation of storytellers to explore what’s possible in AR.”

Nolan noted that the app requires further investment and development over time to progress it beyond the prototype stage.


Project AR-ia is on display at the 12th ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Asia in Brisbane until November 20

More information