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Extended Hybridity in Ludo-Immersive Opera

Conference contribution
Authors Hedvig Jalhed
Published in CATR2018, Kingston, Canada
Publication year 2018
Published at Academy of Music and Drama
Language en
Keywords opera, immersion, role-play, larp
Subject categories Performing Arts


How to construct and facilitate participatory and playful opera? Through this interdisciplinary artistic research project within the fields of music drama / opera and game studies, I seek to develop a framework for alternative and innovative opera concepts – based on immersion, relations and play. The term that I propose for this type of contemporary music theatre is ludo-immersive opera (related to immersive theatre, in which the audience is included as participants in the same, fictional space as the artists). I suggest that if opera can be denoted by hybridity, extended hybridity could be used in the conceptualization of new operatic subgenres. Moreover, my perspective is situated in my dual practice as artist and researcher. Hence, I articulate my research through examples from the ludo-immersive operas I have created and performed in. I demonstrate how extensive experimentation regarding operatic dramaturgy is made possible through the application of (role-)playing as a feature in emerging hybrid subgenres – such as larp opera (inspired by live action role playing). Thereby, the participants become players with an explorative and / or mission-based approach, experiencing musical drama from within the ’fourth wall’. One overall aim is to investigate what ludo-immersive opera can add to operatic practice, by offering emancipatory conditions for the participants in their roles as artists and visitors. The study also concerns how operatic conventions, etiquette, power structures and expectations from the participants in the events affect the implementation of unsettling formats. Conflicting attitudes make us aware of how we stretch the definition of opera.

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