Does opera matter? Does it have a future? The Traction project thinks opera is extraordinary and it wanted to show how co-creation is at the heart of its future. A consortium of artists, technologists and researchers, worked with communities in Barcelona, Portugal and Ireland to co-create three exploratory operas.
In Barcelona, the Liceu Opera House in Barcelona worked with people from Raval to co-create a new opera about their dynamic, diverse, but often misjudged neighbourhood. In Portugal, inmates of Leiria Youth Prison co-created an innovative opera about their experience, with their relatives and professional musicians from SAMP music school. In Ireland, three diverse communities co-created an opera about environmental disaster in virtual reality, working with professional artists from Irish National Opera.
Digital tools developed by Traction supported the co-creation process in the performances and in enabling people to work together in co-creation. We found new ways of using new technology to support and enrich the opera co-creation process. We found that co-creation can be as artistically exciting and socially transformative as opera ever hoped to be. Its productions are different from those created exclusively by professionals, but they aspire to equally high standards of excellence.