Projecting the voice: Observations of audience behaviours in ICT-mediated contemporary opera



Lin Y & Williams AE (2014) Projecting the voice: Observations of audience behaviours in ICT-mediated contemporary opera. New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, 20 (3), pp. 207-223.

This paper examines how audiences experience live opera performance and the behaviours they exhibit during live-streaming of the performance. It aims to contribute to our understanding of how audiences, who increasingly inhabit an environment saturated with digital media, respond to contemporary opera performance. Based on a comparative study of audience experiences and behaviours during a live opera performance and the streamed opera screening, we investigate whether digital mediation affects audience appreciation, and whether streaming live opera means the same thing to an audience as the unmediated performance. We firstly outline the conception, design and performance of a contemporary opera and its simultaneous streaming to nearby digital screens. Then, we report the evaluation of the project as measured by a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods during the rehearsals, the live performance and the screening. As one of the few social studies of contemporary classical music in Britain, our study of opera audience behaviours sheds light on the challenges and opportunities afforded by digital technologies for opera companies. Understanding how audiences appreciate digital operas offers practical advice on how theatres and opera companies could respond to new forms of digital activities.

Digital performance; Technological mediation; Immersive theatre; Streaming; Opera; Audience research; Audience development; live screens; MediaCityUK

New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia: Volume 20, Issue 3

Publication date31/12/2014
Publication date online12/08/2014
Date accepted by journal27/01/2014
PublisherTaylor and Francis