Los Angeles – October 25, 2013 –Invisible Cities, the world's first large scale opera for wireless headphones, opened to critical acclaim on October 19th at the iconic Union Station, where it was issued a Proclamation by the City of Los Angeles. The visionary production, which was written by Christopher Cerrone and produced by The Industry and L.A. Dance project, is made possible through the professional and consumer technology of leading audio manufacturer Sennheiser.
Invisible Cities, which is based on the 1972 novel by Italo Calvino that explores Marco Polo's descriptions of fantastical cities as described to Emperor Kublai Khan, turns the classic operatic archetype on its head, transforming Los Angeles' iconic Union Station into a constantly moving and artistically unique experience for each participant. Invisible Cities pushes the limits of artistic production and is made possible through Sennheiser's wireless headphone and microphone technology. This enables patrons to experience a vastly repurposed art form both as independent participants and as a connected, communal audience.
"Over the last decade, we have seen technology increasingly become a primary driver in the creation of art," commented Stefanie Reichert, director of strategic marketing, Sennheiser. "Invisible Cities relies on a very creative application of Sennheiser's leading edge wireless microphone and headphone technology to deliver an ingenious, pioneering artistic experience to its audiences. As Invisible Cities illustrates, Sennheiser's wireless microphone and headphone technology enables the consumer to be more of a participant in the artistic performance itself."
Sennheiser's wireless headphones enable participants to have a unique perceptual experience based on an almost infinite number of vantage points from which they can view the performance. At the same time, participants are gathered together in the highly 'communal' environment of a train station and all wearing headphones. Union Station, with its illustrious history and exquisite architecture, serves as the perfect backdrop to this tale of people in imaginary cities as cast members intermingle with both active audience members and ordinary passers by.
"Being in your own space, yet still being part of a community is a very common style of today'sgeneration," Reichert said. "As social media and personalized listening experiences permeate the lives of modern consumers, Invisible Cities illustrates that people can share a communal experience with others while still enjoying art independently. This production actually leverages this phenomenon into its dramatic presentation, creating a deeper and more meaningful experience for participants."
With its unorthodox approach and creative use of Sennheiser wireless technology, Invisible Cities successfullyreinvents the traditional opera in many ways. For example, with no opera house or assigned seats, audience members are free to move about the entire performance space —a public train terminal —as the opera progresses. This often puts them directly 'onstage' aside actors and performers. Regular terminal passengers and bystanders —perhaps initially unaware that a dramatic event is unfolding before their eyes —become an impromptu element in the performance as someone standing directly beside them dressed in 14th century attire, suddenly breaks out into beautiful song.
In addition to Sennheiser's RS 120 consumer headphones worn by participants, Invisible Cities' technical production also relies on Sennheiser's state of the art Digital 9000 professional wireless system, which transmits pristine audio for the duration of the performances. This system, which was launched last year after having been under development for over a decade, is the most advanced wireless system in the world and used in top level theatre, music and broadcasting events.
For more information on Invisible Cities, including performance dates and ticket information, please visit http://invisiblecitiesopera.com/.
About The Industry:
The Industry is a new home for new and experimental opera in Los Angeles. Founded and led by director Yuval Sharon, The Industry creates ambitious productions that expand the traditional definition of opera and explore new paradigms for interdisciplinary collaboration. Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times writes “The Industry is quickly and dramatically becoming an essential component in American opera. It’s now indispensable to the LA scene.” The Industry’s inaugural production, Anne LeBaron and Douglas Kearney’s Crescent City, was instantly hailed as “reshaping LA opera” (Los Angeles Times) and “changing the face of music-theater in this city overnight” (Out West Arts). The large-scale multimedia production, featuring the work of six visual artists in a 25,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Atwater Village, performed over three weeks in May 2012 to capacity audiences. The Industry recently presented First Take, a west coast opera workshop showcasing excerpts from six new operatic works-in-progress by the legendary Pauline Oliveros, and rising star composer Mohammed Fairouz at the Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater. For more information visit: www.TheIndustryLA.org
About L.A. Dance Project:
L.A. Dance Project is an artist collective founded in 2012 by renowned choreographer and dancer Benjamin Millepied, along with composer Nico Muhly, art consultant Matthieu Humery, producer Charles Fabius, and film producer Dimitri Chamblas. L.A. Dance Project’s mission is to create new work and to revive seminal collaborations from influential dance makers. Programs include full-length evenings in traditional theater venues as well as various modular performances in non-traditional environments. New works by the company endeavor to be multidisciplinary collaborations with various artists: visual artists, musicians, designers, directors and composers. L.A. Dance Project promotes the work of emerging and established creators, contributing to new platforms for contemporary dance. For more information visit: www.ladanceproject.com
Sennheiser is a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Established in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser is now a global brand represented in 60 countries around the world with U.S. headquarters in Old Lyme, Conn. Sennheiser's pioneering excellence in technology has rewarded the company with numerous awards and accolades including an Emmy, a Grammy, and the Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.You can find all the latest information on Sennheiser by visiting our website at http://www.sennheiserusa.com.
1) The Invisible Cities opera, written by Christopher Cerrone and based on the 1972 novel by Italo Calvino, combines historical fiction with surrealist elements to create an 'invisible opera for wireless headphones'. (Photo Credit: Dana Ross)
2) Yuval Sharon, artistic director of The Industry, is presented with a proclamation from The City of Los Angeles on Saturday, October 19. (Photo Credit: Dana Ross).
3) The Invisible Cities production included an 11-piece orchestra using Sennheiser and Neumann microphones. (Photo Credit: Dana Ross)