'OK Glass, Get Opera': Wolf Trap Introduces New Titling Technology at CARMEN Performance Today
The future of the arts takes center stage today, July 25 at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, when Wolf Trap Opera unveil Figaro Systems' new supertitle technology that allows audiences to follow the narrative of a performance from their mobile, tablet or Google Glass™. Today's production, Bizet's classic opera Carmen, will also feature technology journalist and opera aficionado David Pogue as an onstage "extra" outfitted in costume and Google Glass to give the Wolf Trap audience a first-of-its-kind perspective of the Filene Center stage. See below for production and ticketing information.
With an expected audience of up to 7,000, Carmen is the first large-scale demonstration of Figaro Systems' new technology, MobiTxt™, which delivers translated narrative (called captions or supertitles) directly to internet-capable devices. With a click of a button or the simple "OK Glass" voice command, audiences will have Carmen's French narrative translated into English and delivered discreetly to their personal mobile devices. Learn more about MobiTxt at gomobitxt.com.
"As the only national park for the performing arts, Wolf Trap is committed to accessibility and innovation. This experiment is a way for Wolf Trap and our audiences to sit on the cutting-edge and explore this potentially groundbreaking technology," said Arvind Manocha, president and CEO of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. "It's incredible to think about the possibilities that this sort of 'second-screen' experience presents not just for opera, but for dance, rock shows, and many other arts experiences. Arts and technology are both about expanding boundaries, and that's what we're doing at Carmen."
The introduction of supertitles (translations projected above the stage) in the early 1980s was revolutionary, as it made foreign-language performances, especially opera, accessible to a broader public. MobiTxt builds upon the convergence of technologies, enabling personal mobile devices to seamlessly deliver a meaningful understanding of the performance.
The initiative is a result of collaboration between arts leaders from across the nation: Fort Worth Opera's Thomas Rhodes, an original Google Glass beta tester and expert in augmented reality in the arts, initiated talks between Eric Einhorn of New York's On Site Opera and Wolf Trap Opera's Senior Director Kim Pensinger Witman. MobiTxt was previously tested on a small scale with On Site Opera, and its success gave Witman the confidence to move forward in using the technology on the lawn of Wolf Trap's Filene Center.
Also at the July 25 performance, technology expert David Pogue will join the Carmen cast as a supernumerary (a non-singing member of the chorus) while wearing Google Glass to capture brief bits of the onstage action. His short video clips and still photography will be shared to Wolf Trap's online and social properties in near real-time, providing a "second screen" experience and offering a unique perspective of the onstage action at the Filene Center. In addition to being an award-winning technology writer, Pogue is an accomplished musician, having spent 10 years conducting and arranging Broadway musicals.