'OK Glass, Get Opera': Wolf Trap Introduces New Titling Technology at CARMEN Performance Today

'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.

The National Symphony Orchestra and The Washington Chorus join Wolf Trap Opera for this new production. Wolf Trap Opera is one of the nation's most highly regarded residency programs for emerging professionals in the operatic industry.

Free Wi-Fi will be available to all patrons seated in the lawn section of the Filene Center. Patrons will have the opportunity to log on with their personal devices while on the lawn. The house will be reserved for patrons who prefer a device-free environment.

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, produces and presents a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington area, as well as nationally and internationally. Wolf Trap features three performance venues: the outdoor Filene Center and Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods, both located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and The Barns at Wolf Trap, located down the road from the national park and adjacent to the Center for Education at Wolf Trap. The 7,028-seat Filene Center is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and annually showcases an extensive array of diverse artists, ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to classical music, dance, and theatre, as well as multimedia presentations, from May through September. The Barns at Wolf Trap is operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation year round, and during the summer months is home to the Grammy-nominated Wolf Trap Opera, one of America's outstanding resident ensemble programs for young opera singers. Wolf Trap's education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods, a diverse array of arts education classes, grants, and a nationally recognized internship program.

Performance and Ticketing Information

Georges Bizet's Carmen - New Production
Performed in French with English translations
Friday, July 25 at 8:15 pm
Wolf Trap Opera, National Symphony Orchestra and The Washington Chorus
Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, VA

A spellbinding drama filled with lust, jealousy and tragedy, Carmen is one of the world's most popular operas. Bizet's masterpiece features many of opera's most powerful and memorable melodies, from the bewitching "Habanera" to the passionate "Seguidilla" and the bravura of the "Song of the Toreador." With its vibrant colors and evocative images, this new production created for Wolf Trap's outdoor amphitheater will transport audiences to Spain, from the tobacco factory and gypsies' mountain camp to Seville's bullring. For additional details, including casting and production information, click here.

Tickets range from $25 to $75, and may be purchased at wolftrap.org, in person at the Filene Center Box Office, or by calling 1.877.WOLFTRAP. Pricing is subject to change based on availability.