Creating opera for mobile media: artistic opportunities and technical limitations

Scott, L (2017) 'Creating opera for mobile media: artistic opportunities and technical limitations.' The 2017 14th International Symposium on Pervasive Systems, Algorithms and Networks & 2017 11th International Conference on Frontier of Computer Science and Technology & 2017 Third International Symposium of Creative Computing (ISPAN-FCST-ISCC), 2017. pp. 477-484. ISSN 2375-527X

10098.pdf - Accepted Version
Repository Terms Apply.

Download (11MB) | Preview
Official URL:


Digital opera can be characterized as a bourgeoning operatic form that emerges naturally from digital culture. Qualifying works exploit modes of collaborative production, music making and storytelling that rely on the computational advancements of the digital age. In recent years, digital opera has begun to extend beyond the boundaries of physical theatre and into web and mobile media. Resulting works interrogate how features typically associated with staged opera (e.g. vocal expressivity, a sense of scale, affective narrative) are retained or transformed when entirely mediated. This emerging subset of opera collides computing with any number of creative practices including composition and sound art, filmmaking, animation and games design. The fruits of such a collision are by nature interdisciplinary, and as a result, poised to embody the concept of creative computing. This paper describes the development of a prototype opera for smartphones called Fragments from the perspective of its lead artist. Told through a combination of binaural sound, video and songwriting, Fragments reveals the story of a virtual protagonist who wakes to find himself slumped on a park bench with little recollection of the previous evening. Participants are cast into the story world directly, and tasked to help the protagonist piece together memories that are scattered across the city. Fragments is used as a case study to identify a number of features and artistic opportunities that opera for mobile media presents. These features, in part, address the revised role of the audience member as participant and how headphone targeted sound and music might promote an enhanced sense of narrative immersion. As a counterpoint, some limitations of this emerging genre are introduced. Such limitations relate to topics of access, obsolescence and curatorial control.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: digital opera, mobile opera, smartphone opera, creative computing
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Bath School of Design
Identification Number:
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2017 11:12
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2022 15:07
URI / Page ID:
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)