Presentation

OPERA MECATRONICA

Opera Mecatronica is the result of the long-standing collaboration of Carl and Åsa Unander-Scharin. The project started in 1998 when Åsa Unander-Scharin created the world´s first choreography for an industrial robot, "The Lamentations of Orpheus". Since then, a long series of interactive and robotic works have been created by the Opera Mecatronica team and their collaborators. 

One of Opera Mecatronica´s pinnacles was when the team was invited to create a specially composed performance in honour of world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking. This exclusive event took place in the Reactor Hall of Stockholm in August 2015, celebrating his visit to Stockholm and his love for opera. 

Opera Mecatronica was first on show as a full exhibition in the Reactor Hall of Stockholm in September 2010, and has since (as a whole or in various combinations) been touring to Holland, South Africa, Canada, Hungary, France, USA and Finland. During 2019 and 2020, Opera Mecatronica will tour to Slovenia and Croatia. 

In Opera Mecatronica, the computer directed marionette Olimpia made from junk, performed for the first time. Olimpia is a three-meter tall three-dimensional creation built from rusty and patinated machine parts that dance in a curiously human like manner whilst singing an aria from The Tales of Hoffmann. Opera Mecatronica also includes the dancing robot swan Robocygne, who is dancing to Carl Unander-Scharin’s electroacoustic version of Tchaikovsky’s majestic music from Swan Lake. The impression created when Robocygne was shown to an audience for the first time at the Swedish Book Fair in Gothenburg in September 2010, was enormous. That a robot could bring tears to the eye with its captivating dance created a newsworthy item that reached as far as the USA, India, Canada and Singapore.

In Opera Mecatronica there are other curious items such as an interactive copper tree singing Handel’s Ombra mai fù, accompanied by vibrating brass loudspeaker leaves, a tub with dark water where a dancer interactively dances to the Pearl Fisher duet by Georges Bizet, and an electro mechanical miniature version of the ballet Petrushka. Furthermore, a range of "Extending Opera" instruments have been included in Opera Mecatronica, such as the Virtual Viola da Gamba, The Throat, The Vocal Chorder and the Charged Room. 

INFORMATION

The Installations of Opera Mecatronica has been developed in collaboration with Luleå University of technology, Mälardalen University, The University College of Opera, The Royal Institute of Technology and The Dance museum, financial supported by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee the Swedish Arts Council, The region of Stockholm, Längmanska kulturfonden, SAMI, University College of Dance and Asea Brown Bovery.

CONTRIBUTORS

Åsa Unander-Scharin, is a choreographer and dancer who creates choreographic works in collaboration with composers, visual artists, programmers, robot researchers and dancers. She is also an artistic researcher and wrote her PhD thesis Human Mechanics and Soulful Machines in 2008. Since 2009 she has held the post of postdoctoral research fellow at Luleå University of Technology/ Department for music and media, where she in a series of choreographic works investigates bodies and bodiliness’ as multistable phenomena.

Carl Unander-Scharin composer and singer, working as soloist at the Royal Opera and the Folkoperan in Stockholm. Carl has written 8 operas, a number of choral works, interactive music, as well as music for dance performances and film. During 2007-2009 he was Artist in Residence at the Gothenburg Opera, and since autumn 2010 he has held the post of PhD candidate at KTH in collaboration with the University College of Opera in Stockholm. His artistic research project Tenor Techniques and Singing Technologies is investigating how a deepened understanding of vocal expression can inform the creation of technologically expanded vocal art and vice versa.

Opera Mecatronica Live 120503
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