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New exhibition places audiences on stage in Liceu opera house with VR technology

Symphony takes spectators on an emotional journey through music and its history

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25 April 2021 11:07 AM

by

Cillian Shields | Barcelona

Barcelona's CaixaForum arts centre has a new permanent exhibition. Symphony, a virtual journey to the heart of music, uses cutting edge technology to detail the majesty of classical music.

Put together by world-renowned conductor and violinist Gustavo Dudamel, the score is performed by over a hundred musicians, including more than sixty from the internationally acclaimed Mahler Chamber Orchestra plus forty young musicians representing 22 countries.

The CaixaForum exhibition is split into two parts. With high definition visuals and audio, the show takes spectators on an emotional journey through music history, delighting audiences with scores from the likes of Beethoven, Mahler, and Bernstein.

The first part of the production shows a film in ultra-wide panoramic view following the course of three different musicians from three distinct backgrounds; one from the Catalan coast, one from New York City, and another from a coffee plantation in Latin America.

The film shows how music is so deeply ingrained in the lives of three protagonists as it masterfully intertwines sounds and noises from their daily lives into the music that they so passionately feel. Then they make their way to Barcelona to perform in Liceu opera house, one of the world's most famous concert halls.

The second section of the production uses Virtual Reality for an immersive audiovisual experience that places audience members on stage alongside the orchestra in the Liceu theatre

"It brings you to a level of imagination that helps you understand what music is about through fantasy and imagination," Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of the innovative musical project, explained.

Interspersed with footage from the orchestral performance are dreamlike images showing things that look almost like representations of sound waves, celestial clouds, and the insides of string and brass instruments. 

Spectators are also brought to the workshop of a master craftsman and watch as he works on perfecting various string instruments. 

"I feel like it's a life-changing experience. It can change the way how you see music and [shows] how fun and magic it can be," Dudamel said. 

After having travelled around various cities across Spain including Madrid, Valladolid, Granada, Santander, Malaga, as well as being exhibited in Barcelona's CosmoCaixa, Symphony's permanent home will now be in the CaixaForum of the Catalan capital.

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  • Spectators try on the VR headsets and enjoy the production 'Symphony' in Barcelona's CaixaForum (image from CaixaForum Barcelona)

  • Spectators try on the VR headsets and enjoy the production 'Symphony' in Barcelona's CaixaForum (image from CaixaForum Barcelona)

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