San Diego Arts Innovation
Open Show, one of the winning projects at Opera Hack, an effort to foster innovation in the arts, led by San Diego Opera. Photo credit: Screen shot, Opera America, via YouTube

San Diego Opera will launch a four-part series of online workshops this week in advance of Opera Hack 2.0, an online event that marries art and technology.

The company’s Opera Insights Series begins at 3 p.m. Wednesday with a session on visual storytelling led by Victoria Tsykun, a set and costume designer who has worked with a range of companies and artists, including the Bolshoi Theater and Lady Gaga.

The goal of the series, to be broadcast via Zoom, organizers said, is to “illuminate how (Opera Hack) can foster innovation through collaboration and the use of new technologies.”

For the first Opera Hack, 40 experts submitted 16 proposals to a panel of tech- and
theater-based advisers.

The 2020 winners, announced last August, were:

  • Open Show, a collaborative, interactive, visual “show bible” made for and by creative and production teams that is easy-to-use and saves money during productions.
  • Becoming, a musical experience combining virtual reality, haptic feedback and Space3D, at the Qualcomm Institute.
  • Opera Map, a professional database using 360 photogrammetry capture for design, planning, and production rental.

Opera Hack 2.0 will partner with local universities and tech companies to come up with creative solutions to scenarios opera companies currently face in today’s changing landscape.

Participants – with expertise in areas such as technical direction, lighting design, 3D printing, virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, A.I. and machine learning, and more – will take part in the project remotely from June 4 through July 2.

At the conclusion, up to three winning proposals again will be awarded funds.

Participants will be mentored by an Advisory Panel that includes Sarah Ellis, Director of Digital Development for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Ryan Hunt, Lead Software Engineer with the Walt Disney Company.

“It is our hope Opera Hack will continue to foster industry wide-learning and collaboration and continue to move our art form forward,” said San Diego Opera General Director, David Bennett.

Opera Hack 2.0 is made possible by an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by
the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

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