Year by year, producers Egor Zvezdin and Margo Bor are engaged in creating projects that are aimed at rethinking the artistic heritage and synthesising the cultural experience of different eras in digital reality. For participation at Digital Opera 2.0 contest in 2021, we chose the culminating fragment of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Romeo and Juliet”, scene of Juliette’s death. We aimed to take a fresh look at the internal conflict of the whole plot: “Is love stronger than death or death takes over love?”
The idea was to take the classic plot beyond historical framework, preserving the tragic atmosphere. In our interpretation (director’s decision by Egor Zvezdin), lovers have a few minutes between life and death. Spectators experience a true triumph of love at this time, which inevitably ends tragically, taking all the participants to the digital grave in the final.
We strived to immerse the spectators completely into the futuristic atmosphere of the stage by all possible artistic means.
The plot, main part, culmination and tragic finale – each part of the production was supported by digital scenery (comprehensive visual solution by Morgan Korolkov), creating a unified perception of the whole scene.
Due to the original choreography – sensual and mesmerising (choreographic stage by Alexander Nochovny) in harmony with digital scenery, spectators experienced together with heroes the fear and pain of loss, the joy of obtaining love and the tragedy of inevitable death.
Three machine learning algorithms were used to create digital scenery and two different approaches to image and sound synchronisation (work by Tatiana Zobnina) were combined. In the first approach, the visual content generated by the algorithm was subject to sound change, in the second – musical content participated in the form of visual content.
The picture eventually “syntheses” the texture of brick walls and stained glass windows with the help of neural cellular automata and this manifests itself synchronously with the corresponding scene by a musical passage.
This type of content using machine learning algorithms at the event with a live orchestra and ballet was performed for the first time in history at the theatre stage thanks to the Digital Opera 2021 competition.
ArtMix studio team won 2 prizes: Best Video Content Designer and Audience Award.
The project team
Director and team leader – Egor Zvezdin
Art Producer – Margo Bor
Media Artist – Morgan Korolkov
Machine learning specialist – Tatiana Zobnina
Choreographer, ballet dancer, Romeo – Alexander Nochovny
Ballet dancer, Juliet – Maria Ryndina