Researchers introduce high-tech instruments for opera singers

"We want to add something new, but we are not trying to say that everything else is crap"
4:57 min

A research project at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm aims to change the opera scene by giving singers new custom-made instruments.

The instruments have been developed by researchers and composers Carl Unander-Scharin and Ludvig Elblaus and use a combination of motion sensors, wires and computer software to create chords and sound.

Carl Unander-Scharin says that their research project has sought to give singers tools to accompany themselves instead of having to rely on an orchestra or a conductor. He says that it's a way to give back power to the opera singers and divas and put them back in the spotlight.

He says that opera singers today actually have very little say in the productions and adds that even huge opera stars are just another cog in the wheel. So, what do opera singers think of these new instruments? Carl Unander-Scharin says the response has been mostly positive.

The instruments have already been used in several productions. The glove device, called Throat III, was developed for an opera production about The Elephant Man here in Stockholm and the other instruments have been shown at an opera festival in Holland and will be featured in an upcoming production in Croatia next year.

Carl Unander-Scharin says that even if he's introducing rather controversial ideas to the opera scene, he hopes that they will only become an extension of the art form - rather than changing the genre completely.

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