Theatre News

A digital Don comes to The Vaults

”Giovanni”, Silent Opera’s new 90-minute adaptation of Mozart’s opera, aims to break down barriers

Benedict Nelson will sing the title role in Giovanni for Silent Opera
Benedict Nelson will sing the title role in Giovanni for Silent Opera

While the majors cudgel their brains as to how best to tick the boxes marked ‘outreach’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘attracting new audiences’, one small but growing organisation is rethinking the whole idea of accessibility in opera.

Silent Opera has already turned heads as an innovative company that creates original and, to borrow an overused word, immersive opera in order to reach a younger audience. Next month, as part of the 2015 Vault Festival, they’re launching a bold new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni that will have the Major Ponsonby-Smythes of the opera fraternity harrumphing into their G&Ts.

In a production that includes projection, sound manipulation and the spoken word, the company has developed a smartphone app that will act as a ticket and programme, and which audiences can use during the performance.

Via the app, audiences will receive pre-show content, off-stage character updates, pre-recorded thoughts, motivations and locations, ʻplay-alongʼ information and reminders. More controversially, perhaps, they’ll be able to comment on the production as it unfolds, influence the plot and even vote on whether Giovanni should live or die.

Giovanni, which stars baritone Benedict Nelson in the title role, is directed by Daisy Evans. It runs in repertoire at The Vaults from 25 February to 8 March.