Exploring Digital Scenography in Opera Production

Exploring Digital Scenography in Opera Production

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Date and time

Wednesday 8 April 2020 1pm - 2pm


Dr Caitlin Vincent (@caitlincvincent)
University of Melbourne

From the Metropolitan Opera to Opera Australia, digital projections have become a common scenographic tool at opera companies world-wide. Barbour (2011) describes the twenty-first century as the “age of projections,” noting that digital elements are no longer a “boutique item for the well-heeled” but an integral element of stage production. Digital technology has been framed as a solution to many of opera’s deep-seated issues, including its historical repertoire, shrinking audiences, and financial instability. Digital scenography is, in particular, seen as a way to save money on physical sets while attracting young and digitally-minded opera goers.

This seminar considers some recent trends in how digital scenography is being used in opera production, as well as key historical precedents that have shaped these developments. Efforts to achieve a synthesis of performer, stage setting, and spectator have been fundamental to all performance genres long before the use of digital technology, and an understanding of this artistic lineage can both inform and contextualise modern-day manifestations in opera. Drawing on major examples of practice from the past decade, Dr Vincent will outline a methodology for categorising different kinds of digitally-enhanced stage productions and consider some of the resulting impacts on creative hierarchies and backstage rehearsal processes.

This seminar is part of the Digital Studio’s 2020 Seminar Series – Seeing Double: The Multiple Worlds of Virtual Reality which is presented in partnership with the Enlightenment, Romanticism Contemporary Culture research unit.

Dr Caitlin Vincent


Dr Caitlin Vincent is a Lecturer in Creative Industries at the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. Her areas of expertise include opera, performance and technology, cultural labour and employment, equity and diversity, and professional development in the creative industries. Dr Vincent has co-authored several high-impact industry reports, including The impact of Australia’s participation in the Venice Biennale (Australia Council for the Arts, 2019) and The status of women in the Canadian arts and cultural industries: Research review 2010-2018 (Ontario Arts Council, 2018). A classically-trained soprano, Dr Vincent was a freelance opera singer in the United States for more than a decade and served as the Artistic Director of The Figaro Project (opera company) in Maryland from 2009 to 2014. She is an Affiliate Member of the Centre for People, Organisation and Work at RMIT University. For more information, please visit the Caitlin Vincent website.

Presenter image: Photo by Samantha Nandez