Invisible Cities: Masterpiece Mixed Reality Opera Creates a Shared Virtual World Within Los Angeles' Union Station
Invisible Cities is a mixed reality opera playing in Los Angeles' Union Station, and if you can attend this weekend or next week (when the show ends its run) you absolutely should. It's easily the best live public art I've ever seen, and more key, suggests an entirely new medium of performance ideal for the smartphone era, a time when all of us feel constantly connected and simultaneously cut off from the world around us.
Based on Italo Calvino's classic book of the same name, in which Marco Polo tells Kubla Khan about the fantastic cities he's visited in his travels, the opera uses wireless earphones and mics to create a shared virtual world within Los Angeles' cavernous, art deco-inflected train station. The performers quietly sing through small headset mics as they move through the station, and their voices are mixed with the music from a live orchestra at the end of the hall; while this happens, dancers in costumes designed to evoke different eras and cultures also perform throughout the station, creating the sense that they are citizens in these cities that Marco Polo describes.
Watch this video below to better understand what I mean: