The Hubble Cantata is the first ever live event fusing a major musical performance with Virtual Reality. This project pushes the boundaries of art and science by combining a cutting-edge Virtual Reality film with the world premiere of a space opera as a part of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in New York City.
This performance delves into the living relationship between music, film, and science. This event will mark a major milestone in the history of science and the performing arts as Virtual Reality becomes an instrument alongside a 30 piece ensemble and a live choir. The immersive Virtual Reality experience is an exploration through space guided by The Hubble Telescope. With individual
Virtual Reality cardboard headsets the concert audience will float through space and time. Collaborating alongside Arup, the global leaders in acoustic sound design, an immersive soundscape will augment this cutting-edge performance by enveloping the audience in a 360 degree world without the use of headphones.
The work is a collaboration between composer Paola Prestini, librettist Royce Vavrek, filmmaker Eliza McNitt, and the famed astrophysicist, Mario Livio formerly of the Space Telescope Science Institute. The Hubble Cantata celebrates the Hubble
Telescope’s 26th anniversary. The August 6th concert is a co-production between BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, National Sawdust, VisionIntoArt, Beth Morrison Projects, Arup, The National Academy of Sciences, and Virtualize. Virtualize is producing the Virtual Reality experience with VFX by the award winning artists of The Endless Collective. It is expected to attract an audience of 4,000-6,000 New Yorkers. The Cantata and Virtual Reality film will tour across the country and internationally, playing at opera houses, outdoor performance halls, and museums including the newly opened National Sawdust venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The film component will be showcased at film festivals and the music will be released through VIA Records. NationalSawdust will host a continuous ticketed series to showcase the Virtual Reality experience. This poetic re-imagining is inspired and guided by Mario Livio’s uniquely sensitive and intellectual writings. Mario’s voice will be woven into the Cantata as recorded interludes over the music, and Mario will appear live for certain engagements.
The final duet reflects the powerful realization that we remain central to the cosmos, in the sense that it was us, humans, who discovered step by step all of its grandeur. We play a significant role in the expansion of outer space because we discovered its existence. Human consciousness and intelligence has expanded beyond Earth as we realize that we are not only a part of the universe, but it is also within us. By incorporating Mario Livio’s poignant themes with music, visual art, film, and advanced technology, The Hubble Cantata is a breakthrough performance that promises to be one of the most exciting forays into the interdisciplinary dance of science and art, to date. This is a medium defining moment as The Hubble Cantata pushes boundaries on a collective VR viewing experience.
Original commission by Bay Chamber Concerts for A New Frontier 2013.
The Hubble Cantata is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.