Digital Opera and New Music Cinema

Virtual Performance, created as a necessary response to the COVID pandemic, has opened up a number of new approaches to artistic and musical performance.  The new “art form” is still in its infancy, and will likely go through a number of transformations over the next decade or so.  But we have to start somewhere.   JR Wilson presents a number of digital/acousmatic performances.

SONGS FROM OUR FATHERS – a new music cinema production

THE AVATAR – a new music cinema production

You might enjoy my latest digital opera “The Avatar”. It’s based on a play by Greek tragedian Euripides. Feminism and environmentalism (“Pantheism”) are the two major themes here (apparently Euripides regarded these to be relevant concerns over 2400 years ago!)


THE PURGE – a new music cinema production

Below you will find one such “experiment”, a digital opera composed by One Mind Media co-founder JR Wilson.  This digital opera celebrates 700 years of Dante’s epic poem, “Divine Comedy”.   See what you think.  Does it work?  What can be improved?  Please send any comments you may have to   Meanwhile, grab some popcorn, we hope you enjoy the show!



Artists Statement

MTV was born in 1981 and was heralded with great fanfare and eventual success as the “sight and sound” channel. That, along with the continuing and growing trend of using music in a supporting role in cinema, began what I consider to be the beginning of the end of music as a standalone artform. Music has become increasingly secondary, playing a secondary role in today’s world of entertainment and the arts. Very few people listen to music today unless it is also accompanied by some form of visual media.

Opera has always been an art form that presents a balanced combination of both the visual and the audio. In fact, if anything, although staging was important, the music and the operatic singers were typically the main draw and focus of attention. Music was at least equal, if not the dominant force, in any operatic production. For better or worse, the pandemic has given birth to a new operatic art form – the virtual opera. Although we can never replace the beauty, grace, and social aspects of traditional opera, the virtual opera brings forth additional opportunity. Virtual opera is not reliant on a brick-and-mortar presence, thus it is free of the confines and expense of a geographic location. Virtual opera is available to anyone with an internet connection and a little free time on his or her hands. Virtual opera becomes available to all, regardless of the size of their wallet and/or their location, remote or otherwise.
In general, opera has been experiencing a decrease in interest and support over the past few decades. Primarily, this is likely due to expensive tickets and the overall hassle of getting to and from the presenting theater. Have you ever tried to get to the Disney Center in downtown Los Angeles on a busy day? You literally are taking your life into your own hands!
The aesthetic depth in this new genre facilitates the use of musical and visual techniques often excluded from a traditional opera production. For example, the use of computer animation has truly opened up a new direction for musical theater, one that was previously the sole province of film and television producers. Given the influence of cinema on twentieth and twenty-first century viewers, these influences can only help to draw and maintain audiences for new offerings growing out of the musical form traditionally known as “opera”. It is an influential, entertaining, and emotionally rich form of art and needs to regain its prominence in our culture.
I hope you enjoy my take on this exciting and growing new artform. –  JR Wilson

Digital Opera Articles