Visioning Stages Beyond

13-14 September 2022, Helsinki

The way of experiencing art and entertainment is undergoing big changes. Many possibilities in new technologies are yet to be discovered. Pioneer, thinker, artist, polymath or adventurer – will you join us on our journey of discovery?

In the Opera Beyond Conference 2022 we dove into upcoming trends and weak signals in the cultural field, cutting-edge technology (XR, AI, spatial audio, NFTs, volumetric video, 3D projections and metaverse), interactivity and immersion, but also themes like diversity and inclusion, expectations of next generations in culture and entertainment consumption, ecosystems and the role of art in times of crisis. We learned how to foster innovation in XR and opera, how to reduce productions’ carbon footprint and of course, how to create bewitching multisensory stage illusions, increase immersion and interactivity and to amaze audiences.


The conference (13-14 September 2022)  was a meeting place, a forum and a catalyst for ideas. The two-day event at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki included speeches and presentations, debates, networking and envisioning new worlds together.

Speakers

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Aarni Tuomi

Aarni Tuomi

Aarni Tuomi, Ph.D., is a social scientist working at the intersection of emerging technology, experience design and service business. He works as Senior Lecturer at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland, where he leads two R&D projects: “AlgoAmmatti”, which explores the notions of algorithmic management, algoactivism and professional growth on digital labour platforms, and “HomeOpera”, which aims to develop new extended reality concepts for the elderly to enjoy holistic and social cultural experiences at home. He’s enthusiastic about building human-centered technology, and drawing on his previous work on human-robot interaction and AI ethics, he’s keen to better understand how technology can enhance and enable rather than reduce the human touch.

Ida Kymmer

Ida Kymmer

“Questions I ask and that guide me currently: Where can the new immersive and web3 technologies that we are developing take us? What are the problems we can solve? Which systems can we change, what new economies can we create where it is needed the most, and how can we make sure that we spend LESS and more QUALITY time in this next iteration of the Internet?”

Laura Olin

Laura Olin

ZOAN is an international Metaverse studio with its headquarters in Helsinki. As the Chief Operating Officer of ZOAN, Laura Olin has been part of producing multiple virtual pioneer works for both companies and in the branch of arts and culture.

Onni Hämäläinen

Onni Hämäläinen

“In recent work with 00100ENSEMBLE we have been playing around with the balance of personal and shared experiences. In all of the projects one of the aims is to create a sense of belonging to a momentary community. By creating a safe and curated multi sensory world we give the audience a choice to wander freely and lose themselves following their own intuition. In a performance where the options can feel limitless, they get the chance to surprise themselves and challenge their own behavioural habits.”

Johanna Kaprio-Papageorgiou

Johanna Kaprio-Papageorgiou

Johanna Kaprio-Papageorgiou is a Senior Communications Specialist at the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office, where she works in the Finland Forward project that seeks to strengthen psychological resilience in the society during crisis. In the Finland Forward project she has been leading creative communications projects such as the virtual Museum of Contemporary Emotions, that combines science and art in recording the feelings experienced during the pandemic in Finland.

Kaisa Rönkkö

Kaisa Rönkkö

Kaisa has worked in management and expert positions in the cultural sector for 20 years, latest as a CEO of Music Finland. She has started as CEO of Music x Media this autumn. She has a passion to deliver the message of the power of arts and culture and develop the international dialogue and innovation between premium content, new technologies and digital services.

Dan Burgar

Dan Burgar

“I’m really interested in democratizing the VR/AR/Metaverse technology to make it accessible to everyone, I’m passionate about the people and the community that make up the future of these transformative industries. The intersection of arts and innovation has never been more prevalent than now, I personally get inspired by it.”

Jessica Creane

Jessica Creane

“Recent project exploration has included a deep dive into the gamification of Romeo & Juliet, namely how strangers fall in love, what makes love irresistible, and how to utilize play to inspire self-reflection around intimacy.”

Blair Stevenson

Blair Stevenson

“I am increasingly convinced that the future is interdisciplinary – both with respect to performance as well as the education of new generations of young professionals. It is collaborative efforts and dialogue between people who don’t normally work together which draw me in. Our new Creative Europe funded project on innovation in the sector theatre (ACuTe), among others, will attempt to do this through the development of ‘testbeds’ for expanding emerging communities of practice.”

Sophie Thomson

Sophie Thomson

Sophie Thomson is the Transformation Manager at the Royal Opera House, forever walking the (sometimes literal) tightrope between the Arts and Technology! Her current role is to lead transformational technology activities across the organisation. Working to scope & deliver projects and solutions on the transformation strategy, providing much needed innovation to the business across our customer experience, enterprise applications, back of house operations and infrastructure. Also looking to the future to assess emerging technologies and understand how we can develop our ways of working as a world leading opera and ballet organisation. 

Ian William Galloway

Ian William Galloway

Ian is a video designer and director working with all forms of video and projection for live performance. As a theatre designer, he has created productions in the West End and on Broadway, for the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre of Scotland and National Theatre Wales among others. In opera, he has designed for the English National Opera, Royal Opera House, the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala (Milan), the Mariinsky Theatre (St. Petersburg), Opera de Lyon, Scottish Opera, Bremer Oper and The Opera Group.

Benoit Alary

Benoit Alary

“My most recent work explores how we can reproduce the acoustics of a room in six degrees of freedom for AR/VR. I look at existing rooms and analyze them to study how we perceive their acoustics as we move around in the space, and I use this knowledge to develop new sound reproduction algorithms.”

Enara Nazarova

Enara Nazarova

Voted as one of the Top 30 Voices in the Metaverse by ReadWrite, Enara is the VP of Metaverse at Hype Partners, Founder of ARMOAR, host of the leading digital fashion community DIFA Club, and an international keynote speaker specializing in the future of digital self-expression.

Hannu Järvensivu

Hannu Järvensivu

Hannu Järvensivu will be presenting the XR Stage Design Platform tool and project at the conference, an XR tool creating a fully functioning digital twin of a real stage.

Mika Aaltola

Mika Aaltola

Dr. Mika Aaltola is the Director of FIIA. He is also a tenured professor of International Relations and European Union Affairs at Tallinn University (part-time), Estonia, and holds the rank of docent at Tampere University. He has been a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, Sciences Po (CERI), and Johns Hopkins as well as a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota. His areas of expertise include the U.S. global role, dynamics of major power politics, democratic vulnerability, pandemic security, and Finnish foreign policy.

Valentina Bressan

Valentina Bressan

“While working on the sustainable development roadmap of the Opéra National de Paris, I realized that cultural institutions in the broadest sense of the word are now taking responsibility for mitigating their negative impact. However, I think that all cultural institutions have a “super power” that is still very little exploited: I’m talking about their power to influence society towards a new paradigm, through dreams, pleasure, entertainment and emulation! Culture must seize this opportunity to assert its essential role as an influencer in society and make the ecological transition irresistible.”

Lilli Paasikivi

Lilli Paasikivi

Lilli Paasikivi has worked as Artistic Director of the Finnish National Opera since 2013. In her work, Paasikivi has set out to reshape the structures of opera and to find ways to combine technology with opera. In 2019, Paasikivi launched Opera Beyond – a project which aims to apply new technological possibilities and tools in opera and ballet.

Ankur Bahl

Ankur Bahl

“I’m really interested in how the digital programming the culture sector developed out of necessity during the pandemic can continue to be relevant and impactful in enabling access and increasing diversity of audiences, especially among people who can’t or don’t attend in person.”

Auri Antinranta

Auri Antinranta

Antinranta is a multidisciplinary designer, sound artist, and futurist. She explores art as a method for designing more humane technology-driven services. For the past twenty years, Antinranta has worked as a designer both in-house and in consultancies and founded companies of her own. Her versatile design portfolio includes concept designs for everything from mobile phone apps to physical experiences. In her sonic works, she draws inspiration from emerging technologies and experiments with biodata from plants and humans, and electromagnetic radiations from robots and household machines. 

Jakob Kudsk Steensen

Jakob Kudsk Steensen

“I have been working with opera singers, pop musicians, video game designers and iconic architecture like Halle am Berghain in Berlin, the Venice Biennale, Serpentine Galleries and ARoS Art Museum, to explore a new realm for art. I am excited about new formats where spatial exhibitions from the art world meet the immersive and narrative qualities of theater, with the song and emotional qualities of opera.”

Michael Hidetoshi Mori

Michael Hidetoshi Mori

Michael Hidetoshi Mori is a Toronto-based leader in dynamic socially and artistically progressive opera and music theatre, an award-winning Canadian/American stage and film director, the General Director of Tapestry Opera in Toronto, and the Chair of the Board of the Association for Opera in Canada. 

Inna Huttunen

Inna Huttunen

“Whether it’s the thrill of a rollercoaster ride, an intense look in your eyes inside a huge labyrinth or a moment in a virtual paradise that makes you question the life around you – it all comes down to something that for me is the juicy essence of immersive experiences: a personal, though somehow shared adventure. An adventure packed in a fleeting moment, that has the potential to be transformative.”

Ryan Metcalfe

Ryan Metcalfe

Ryan Metcalfe is the founder and Managing Director of visualisation studio Preevue. Based in the UK and the US, Preevue specialises in LiDAR laser scanning and building Digital Twins of spaces for the arts, media, and entertainment industries. Following the formation of the company in 2016, Preevue has grown to become a leading provider of visualisation for theatre productions around the world, including Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, Bat Out of Hell The Musical, and Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

Valeriya Ionan

Valeriya Ionan

Valeriya Ionan is the Deputy Minister for Eurointegration at the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, in charge of the digital literacy national program, development and growth of SME, new digital professions, online children protection, eurointegration and digital transformation of regions.

Marko Ahtisaari

Marko Ahtisaari

From festivals to startups, Marko Ahtisaari works at the intersection of technology, design, art and philosophy. He is currently Artistic Director of Helsinki Festival and serves on the board of directors of CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation. Marko also plays in the band Construction. Previously Ahtisaari was CEO and co-founder of The Sync Project (acquired by Bose) and a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab. From 2009 to 2013 he was head of product design at Nokia, responsible for hardware, user experience and packaging design. 

Sandra Rodriguez

Sandra Rodriguez

“My most recent projects combine the use of virtual tools, virtual entities and Artificial Intelligence, to reflect on some unique characteristics of our human experience.”

Aki Mäkivirta

Aki Mäkivirta

During his nearly four decades of professional experience and 27 years at Genelec to research, develop and implement accurate monitoring solutions for the most critical applications, Aki has witnessed the introduction of immersive audio formats capable of convincingly enveloping and integrating the listeners to truly become embedded in the audio space.

Tuomas Norvio

Tuomas Norvio

Norvio is a multidisciplinary sound designer and sound artist. His background is in electronic music and works nowadays between different art forms and genres. He is interested in rhythmical and arrhythmical masses of sound, using acoustic and sampled sounds as a material of his work. Norvio has made sound and music for contemporary dance and circus, installations, documentary films and different artists.

Benjamin de Wit

Benjamin de Wit

Benjamin de Wit is co-founder and Festival Director of VRDays Foundation and VRDays Europe’s Immersive Tech Week, Rotterdam (since 2015). He worked in theater and digital media before founding the VRDays Europe Immersive Tech Week event on the development of immersive technologies in business, science and the arts. With conferences, a trade show and a funding market, VRDays Europe Immersive Tech Week aims to unite the global XR and metaverse community, to inspire creative minds and to drive business forward.

Sheree Spencer

Sheree Spencer

Sheree Spencer finds creative balance as a Producer, Performing Artist and Director with a strong passion for interdisciplinary art expression. Born in Toronto of Barbadian heritage, Sheree graduated from McGill University in 2012 with a major in Music and Double Minor in Drama Performance and Environmental Science and MA in Cultural Diplomacy & International Events from the University of the West of Scotland & Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin. Notable performing credits as a Musician/Singer and Actress include the 2015 Pan Am Closing Ceremonies, Persephone (Fringe 2016 with Pencil Kit Productions), Apocalypsis (2015 Luminato Festival), Jesus Christ Superstar (Hart House Toronto) and American Gods (2018).

Janne Auvinen

Janne Auvinen

Janne is the CEO of Verkatehdas and the acting theatre director of the subsidiary Hämeenlinna Theatre, as well as a specialist in the development of performance and event facilities. A dissertation on the creating functional performance spaces is currently underway at Aalto University’s Department of Architecture.

Anne Puolanne

Anne Puolanne

“Currently I’m inspired how I’m able to work within an industry that has a huge platform. Film and TV has the ability to talk about the hard topics in the most innovative way and really make a positive difference in the world – we should seize the opportunity! We reach our audience daily, but it’s still not that common for people to know the details of production culture and what’s the true prize of making news and hit shows. We should push for sustainable future both in front of and behind the camera.”

Gillian Bowen

Gillian Bowen

Gillian Bowen is an award-winning modern and contemporary dancer based in NYC. She founded ‘Dear Dancer,’ a virtual dance company bringing web3 to the dancer community to move it beyond its current limitations. From decentralizing the dated structures of dance companies to leveraging new motion capture and animation technologies, ‘Dear Dancer,’ aims to bring dynamic, flexible, and collaborative models of distributed creation and ownership to the dancer community.

Cristina Andersson

Cristina Andersson

Cristina is an educationalist who has studied the future of work and leadership. She sees learning for professional foresight as one of the key parts of lifelong learning. She strongly believes that one must understand technology and emerging technologies to understand what one should learn to become futureproof. In 2012 Cristina co-authored the book “BohoBusiness – Victory of man over machine” (Talentum), that describes the future of work empowered by technology. Since then, she has worked with societal and work-related topics of AI, Robotics, and Quantum Technologies.

Eero Tiainen

Eero Tiainen

Eero Tiainen is a VR director whose work combines dramaturgy, game design and experience design. Tiainen is the artistic leader of an upcoming metaverse experience Love Simulation EVE co-produced together with Espoo City Theatre. He is also the director of the XR Art Festival Embrace.

Urho Konttori

Urho Konttori

Urho Konttori is a product innovator and program manager who has over 20 years of experience in designing, engineering and managing large-scale hardware and software projects at Varjo, Microsoft and Nokia. He has been responsible for scouting, evaluating and defining high consumer value innovations such as novel cameras, see-through touch-screen fingerprint and VR headset technologies in more than a dozen mobile products, resulting in over 10 patents.

Paddy Dillon

Paddy Dillon

Paddy Dillon is one of the UK’s leading theatre architects, responsible for the regeneration of the National Theatre, in London, alongside many other projects. In 2020 he initiated the Theatre Green Book, a project to help theatre-makers work together towards a sustainable future for theatre.

Monika Bielskyte

Monika Bielskyte

As a futures researcher, Monika Bielskyte has been on a decade-long nomadic journey engaging with future emergence in 90+ countries. As a futurist, Monika consults at the future intersection of technology, culture & politics. As a world designer, she explores the bleeding edges of Science Fiction universes, having been commissioned by major film productions and studios.

Edilia Gänz

Edilia Gänz

Edilia Gänz has worked in cultural management and philanthropy for the last nine years. Since the launch of FEDORA – The European Circle of Philanthropists of Opera and Ballet in 2013, she became the organisation’s director, responsible for its growth and impact. FEDORA is known today as the world’s largest opera and dance competition and a leading European philanthropic organisation. In 2018, it introduced a digital platform to showcase emerging talent, engage new audiences, and encourage philanthropy across Europe with the support of the European Commission.

Silva Belghiti

Silva Belghiti

“Right now, I’m interested in seeing more differences and linguistic minorities on television or in film, how they are taken into account in society, and how people’s awareness can grow through the media or social media. What if we take it for granted, and the employment potential of sign language users would also increase on the side of the vast majority without prejudice. I am inspired that in America, sign language is increasingly valued and sign language users (deaf) are increasingly being included in TV series and movies.”

Urs Dierker

Urs Dierker

Urs Dierker is the founder of Circular Costume Design (CCD) and a costume textile artist for screen and stage productions in Europe and North America. CCD is an innovative initiative that Dierker realizes with academic and cultural sector partners to develop solutions for sustainability and costume design.

Rita Paqvalén

Rita Paqvalén

Rita Paqvalén, PhD, has been working as the Executive Director of Culture for All Service since 2012, where she has led many projects such as Avaus – Opening. Becoming an agent in the field of arts and culture in Finland (2017–2020), Multilingualism and diversity as a resource in the cultural field – employment and integration through literature in the Nordic Countries (2016–2018), Finland 100 – In rainbow colours (2016–2018) and Queering the Museums (2012–2014). She is currently coordinating the Nordic Norm Critical Leadership Network in collaboration with her Danish collegue Amalie Ørum Hansen.

Matias Harju

Matias Harju

“There are always untold stories behind the dominant narratives. Whereas music in cinema has the ability to convey the true emotions of the characters despite what is seen on the screen, in augmented reality experiences, sounds and voices could play a similar role in disclosing an invisible layer of alternative truth hidden from the common eye. I’m super excited about the possibilities of audio augmented reality as an art form for telling stories connected to real environments and real people. I’m also excited when getting to experiment with new ways to use technology for narrative and artistic purposes.”

Paula Vesala

Paula Vesala

Vesala is one of Finland’s most popular musical artists today. She is a multi-platinum selling, diverse musician and dramaturge who is recognized for her skills in creating tangible stories and universes through words, notes and dynamic performance.

Samee Haapa

Samee Haapa

“I’m inspired by how queer communities create safer spaces in order to facilitate action which society at large might define as ‘risky’ in a way that validates the boundaries of everyone involved. If translated to art, this for me gives a glimpse of art which can take more meaningful risks while also taking better care of everyone involved.”

Demo & Exhibition Area

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The Planets – an inter-galactic soundwalk in 3D audio

The Planets – an inter-galactic soundwalk in 3D audio

Experience the famous orchestral suite “The Planets” by Gustav Holst, played by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton by Krzysztof Urbański, as an interactive 3D audio walk in a park near you, increasingly all around the world. All you need is a smartphone and headphones.

Second Theatre

Second Theatre

Second Theatre is a Helsinki-based start-up that records theatre plays for viewing with VR goggles. Our aim is to  solve theatre’s accessibility problems, and to create new audiences. In the future, Second Theatre will be the Netflix of theatre in the Metaverse.

Inside the Quartet

Inside the Quartet

What would it be like to play in a string quartet? How do the four top musicians of the Kamus Quartet communicate with each other within milliseconds mid-music; with glances, whispers, are bows lashing, or is the connection between the musicians perhaps telepathic? player of their choice. Viewed via VR-headsets, the experience features the first two movements of Jean Sibelius’s Voces Intimae, performed by Kamus at the composer’s home Ainola where the work was filmed in summer 2020. An interdisciplinary team from Aalto University has been responsible for the technical implementation of the work.

XR Stage

XR Stage

By enabling the simulation of artistic designs in a virtual world, the tool will enhance the efficiency of production work and improve communication between the various stakeholders such as directors, set designers, lighting designers and producers. For shared productions, any preliminary sketches can be simulated in their intended surroundings to streamline design and planning. Instead of sending CAD images, simulation allows people to step into virtual reality and walk together on the stage.

HomeOpera

HomeOpera

Research has noted the positive impact of culture on older adults’ health & wellbeing. As cultural organisations strive to engage broader audiences through digitalisation, the impact of such digital cultural experiences on the ageing society is not yet well understood. The HomeOpera project aims to develop and test concepts for bringing cultural experiences (e.g. going to the opera) to older adults’ homes through new technologies in a way that enables social interaction and a feeling of community.

Program

In partnership with: