Please also see Terms and Admission criteria.


Can I use an already existing concept idea?
The idea must be your own, the experience can’t be pre-existing, published, or publicly exhibited unless a distinction can be made by amendments and tailoring to fit the brief.

My art is immersive but it doesn’t use ‘tech’ – does it still count?
There isn’t limitation on the technology or methods. However, the work must be mobile and can’t rely on a live performance.

I have applied to another festival, what are the implications if I am a finalist in both?
The Opera Beyond team is looking for an original and unique concept to showcase immersive arts and lead experimentation into technology fused with stage arts, therefore we ask that the concept submitted is tailored for this particular competition.

If you have submitted a similar concept to another festival, we ask that it be sufficiently distinguishable should you happen to be successful for both. A recognition of art style/process is acceptable. Should you be shortlisted there will be expectations for your team to be physically available.

How long (or short) should my concept be?
We ask for the final experience last no more than 15 minutes at very maximum in length so to allow fair viewing for the public.

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Admission criteria

What are the essential criteria of successful project?
The concept requirements are listed in Admission criteria. We hope to see ambitious and bold takes on the given brief

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What do you mean by an Immersive Experience (new technology)?
Including, but not limited to:
Physical: Sculptural – Architectural – Sensory
Audio: Spatial audio – Object-based audio – Sound field synthesis – Ambisonic sound
Visual: AR – MR – VR – XR – interactivity – video mapping – projection mapping – 3D projection
Others: Kinetic art – multi-sensory – role play – artificial intelligence – interactivity – 5G

What are the Artistic Challenges?
The musical challenge is an existing composition by Esa-Pekka Salonen and should be used as inspiration. The final, original, score will be composed by Esa-Pekka Salonen during the production phase of the work.
The story challenge, entitled “Memories of the Future”, is written by Paula Vesala and should be interpreted in your immersive art concept. They both form a part of the artistic brief.

What is the Theme?
The working title of the piece is “Memories of the Future”; it is described through the story challenge and it should be interpreted in your concept. Please see story fragment and composition for details.

What do you mean by Mentor or Advisor?
Mentors and Advisors supplied by the FNOB are industry professionals and experts. Including academics, creators of immersive experiences, engineers, and artists.

What do you mean by Jury?
Jury members are industry professionals who have an extensive knowledge of immersive experiences and/or stage and performing arts.

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Who should apply?
We are looking for passionate creatives and technologists from many fields, hobbyists or professionals, but with (most of) the skills to produce the final production.

Preferably applicants would have experience in the following disciplines, for example:
Immersive technology, immersive art, interactive technology/art, audio technology, VR/AR/XR, new media and digital art, 3D mapping (audio and visual), light art, video, multi-media art installations, coding, architecture.

Applicants could also have their experience with:
Fine art, photography, sculpture, design, progressive web apps.

What does “Primary contact” mean?
Primary contact is the communicator of the team, chosen to be the primary contact in (most of) Opera Beyond communication, so to limit confusion and avoid lost messages. They will be expected to communicate information with their own team. They do not have to be the lead creative/technician of the team.

Am I eligible to apply without a team?
You can apply as a individual but team is rated in our success criteria. It is advisable to cover the main roles and repsonsibilities of the concept with team members in order to realise the project.

Can we submit an idea even if we don’t know how to implement it?
Feasibility, skills, and experience are also among the rating criteria. We do expect your team to have (most of) the skills to produce the final immersive art piece. However we do not require prior knowledge of a particular technology as long as you’re able to communicate your vision with your technical team members and the FNOB advisors for successful implementation.

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Submission process

When will I hear the results?
We expect the shortlist decision from the jury no later than the end of (30th) April 2019.

How many selection rounds there are?
The first selection round selects the finalists to take part in the First Session in Helsinki. The winning concept is then selected after First Session work sessions and the live on-stage pitch to the jury and conference attendees.

If I am not accepted into First Session can I receive feedback on my application?
We will not be providing feedback on unsuccessful concept submissions due to the number of applicants and schedule of the event program. If time allows and you do respond with a request for feedback, we attempt to provide you with short written feedback on your concept idea.

Can I submit multiple entries?
You can submit multiple concepts, however we are looking for something filled with passion, creativity, immersion, and innovation. We also think it could be beneficial to focus on one (or very few) ideas.

Will my idea be published online if I am shortlisted?
We will publish profiles of the shortlisted teams on the website to showcase yourself and your teammates, however your concept will not be made public until your presentation and pitch on the First Session.

Profiles consist of your name, country of residence, company/team name, one line bio / title, and any links to relevant work (if you include this). If you your team is selected to the final, you will also be able to send us a bio to work with. You can choose that your profile will be not published online, but you could miss out on international visibility.

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Submission details

Are there any fees to submit my concept to the competition?
There are no submission fees, no charges at all to take part in the competition. We will be covering travel and accommodation expenses for the finalists (shortlisted applicants) to attend the First Session event.

Can I remove my submission?
The primary applicant can withdraw the submission by sending an email to beyond(at) before the shortlist is announced.

Does the idea have to be complete to submit, can it be a loose concept or work in progress?
Yes it can be a work-in-progress. The concept should be clear enough to be judged against the admission criteria. In case your concept is selected to the final, you have time and resources to evolve and crystallise the idea during the First Session.

You asked for a link to view my/our work, can I link a website, a document?
We would prefer something (hosted) online so that it can be in any format. Just paste the link in the relevant sections on the application. If it’s not possible for you to showcase the material online, you can attach your previous work as files to the application form.

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Rights of the applicants

If I submit the idea, is the intellectual property still mine?
The intellectual properties of the concept retain to you and your team until signing a production contract with the FNOB. See more on Production section

What if somebody copies my idea? Will my ideas be protected?
Only in the case you will be selected as a finalist we publish a short general description of the idea online. We do not publish or share the details of your idea outside the core First Session/Opera Beyond team and jury.

Can I reuse the concept?
The intellectual properties of the concept retain solely on you.

What are the intellectual property rights of a successful project?
The winning team waives the rights of the piece to FNOB after signing a production contract. However in cases the concept includes earlier developed technology or other IP that the team wants to protect, these rights can also be only shared or reserved to the team.

What will the Finnish National Opera and Ballet (FNOB) use this concept for?
FNOB’s Opera Beyond project aims to increase experiential aspects in stage and performing arts using new technology. The produced piece will be sent to an international festival tour.

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What is the purpose of First Session workshops?
We would like to get to know you and your ways of working. First Session includes working sessions where you can evolve your concept further together with world class artists and the top professionals from the fields of emerging technology.

Can I just buy a ticket and attend the workshops?
The First Session workshop is an invitation-only event. The teams are selected from the submitted teams according Admission criteria and Rules. However, you can attend the conference, which is organised as part of First Session.

Is it possible to attend both First Session workshop and the conference?
The First Session workshops are intensive working sessions that include compulsory and voluntary sessions. You are free to attend the conference within these time constraints.

How do you expect us to present our concept at the First Session pitch?
You’ll pitch to the jury and the audience in the main stage of the conference. You can use material and ideas coined during the sessions.

In addition to the pitch you can choose any method of presenting the idea to the jury that serves the intended emotion and feeling of the concept. This prototype can take any form which best communicates you idea, including (but not limited to); digital demonstration, recorded performance from the sessions, or a paper prototype.

Who will be at the First Session competition?
The First Session workshops consist of the invited teams, mentors, Opera immersive staff, and session facilitators.

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Is the whole team invited or required to travel to Helsinki?
We hope that the key members of your team would attend to First Session. We generally do not accept teams if none of the members can attend the First Session. The number of participants is not limited by anything other than practical matters, and each team decides how they choose to allocate their expense sum.

Can we work remotely for the First Session?
The team members that do not travel are encouraged to attend the workshops remotely so they can answer specific technical questions, for example.

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Ways of working

When will the art concept be created?
The production schedule is agreed together with the winning team and FNOB with the requirement to complete the production by spring 2020.

Where will it be exhibited and when?
FNOB will pursue to offer the piece to the top festivals in the world and expects the piece to tour in 2020 onwards.

What if I have other work and responsibilities?
FNOB requires the winning team to make a sensible plan of how you will attend to the creative process of the piece.

Working remotely
Part of the work can be done remotely, but we require your team’s physical presence during the production in Helsinki.

My concept requires the production to happen outside Finland?
The location of the principal production is a decision made with the team and the FNOB within budget constraints. A part of pre- and post-production is likely to take place in Helsinki, but you and your team will not need to travel much. Most of your work will be carried out in your place of residence.

Will I get a salary?
As a part of the production contract redeemable expenses are agreed together with FNOB and the team.

What is the winning team required to do?
If successful, you will not be expected to stay in Helsinki for the duration of Opera Beyond project. The concept will be produced in association with the FNOB and so you (and your team) will be expected to see the project to fulfillment, we can work together to formulate a plan and schedule.

Advisors will be available to assist with implementation. The only non-changeable expectation is that the art piece must be completed in time for the premiere and tour in Spring, 2020.

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Roles in production

What is our team’s artistic role in the project?
Your team will be an equal collaborator with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Paula Vesala. However FNOB will retain final creative and technological veto right as the producer of the project.

Do I retain the artistic direction of the concept?
You retain artistic direction of the project (as do Vesala & Salonen) so long as it remains in alignment with the requirements of the FNOB. The successful project will have been judged on a number of criteria to ensure alignment from the start, however FNOB retains a veto for all decision made in the project

How is the final production team assembled?.
Team members outside your team and the already attached artist will be selected together. FNOB reserves the right to hire and add to the team specialists from different fields, e.g. choreographer, visual artist, technical specialists and performers.

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Data and profiles

Who collects my data?
The data will be collected and secured by the FNOB who are running the Opera Beyond project.

What data do you retain?
The data collected, including (but not limited to) your name, contact details, and immersive art concept, description, etc. will be collected in the application form (and possibly subsequent emails). For full disclosure see Privacy policy.

Can I delete my profile or information?
You can request that all of your submission data is deleted by sending an email to opera(at)

What will the Finnish National Opera & Ballet do with the collected data?
It’s used only to identify the applications of the submission. The data is not disclosed to third parties and is deleted permanently after the Opera Beyond project finishes in 2024. For more information please see the Privacy Policy. Please note that the newsletter is a separate database and you can manage your preferences here.

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