Semperoper Dresden to Open 2022-23 Season with AI-Composed Opera

By Logan Martell
On September 3, 2022 Semperoper Dresden will open its 2022-23 season with the premiere of “Chasing Waterfalls,” a multimedia program which centers around, and was partially composed and written by, artificial intelligence.

The work will see a computer-generated algorithm perform a number of roles, such as supporting the singers with its “voice” in real time, as well as perform the main part of the piece itself. The project is spearheaded by director and media artist Sven Soren Beyer with Berlin arts collective phase7 performing.arts. Other collaborators include writer Christiane Neudecker who created the libretto and experimented with AI text generators, video artists Frieder Weiss and Ployz, and Berlin design studio Eigengrau.

The computer-generated voice of the AI will be comprised from samplings from Norwegian soprano Eir Inderhaug, which the AI will use to create its own unique “singing” for each performance.

Among other technological innovations are a real waterfall being planned, as well as an eight-meter kinetic light sculpture made from LED panels which will hang above the stage and “embody” the AI. The audience can also become part of the scenography as volunteering visitors will be 3D-scanned before each performance and integrated into the stage design.

The project will be presented in Dresden as well as at Hong Kong’s New Vision Arts Festival in November.

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