About the contest

Digital Opera is a festival that combines opera with digital art and classics with the latest visual technologies. Digital Opera Performance is an international contest among media artists that has been a part of the festival for many years. Its participants have an opportunity to showcase their talents by creating high tech solutions in direction and set design of opera performances. Thanks to the contest, they can gain exposure, win, and find an internship or a job at one of the leading multimedia companies. The key feature of Digital OPERA Performance is the fact that artists and directors are the ones in the spotlight here.

The contest includes two stages – the Digital OPERA Performance program and the final concert at the end of which the jury chooses winners. The contestants present several opera acts (arias or duets) on a stage equipped with projection screens. Each act is a performance created according to a director’s concept.  

New visual language for opera

Credit: CLD ITMO University
Credit: CLD ITMO University

This year, several teams from ITMO University will present their works at the final concert. One of the teams from the Lighting Design (CLD ITMO University) Master’s program is called To Be. It includes Daniel Baluev, a student of the Robotics Master’s program and three students at CLD ITMO University: Elena Cheremisova, Anastasia Laushkina, and Nadezhda Kumakova.

Another team called Stovosmaya (“One Hundred and Eighth”) is represented by Ilia Smilga, senior lecturer at the Lighting Design Master’s program, Valeria Lukinskaya, coordinator of the Principles and Methods of Light Modeling subject, and Daria Chirimisina, an employee of the CLD ITMO University lab.

The third team is named after its members – Ksenia Karmolina and Diana Ushakova, students at CLD ITMO University. 

Elena Musanova, a student of the Lighting Design Master’s program, will take part in the contest independently.

According to Ilia Smilga, this is a unique opportunity for students in the field of interactive environment design. They will be able to supplement works of classic art with multimedia tools and create a new visual language for opera.

“The old language of movements, sounds, and decorations is a tradition that has been forming for years along with development of opera. Interactive environment, however, is a new feature. It’s quite hard to combine a visual multimedia language and classic opera but it’s also a fascinating task. Each of our students makes their suggestions and then we discuss them to see how they can be implemented,” says Ilia Smilga.

Ilia Smilga (in the middle)
Ilia Smilga (in the middle)

Valeria Lukinskaya notes that contestants choose a fragment from any opera on a predetermined list and create scenography for it using video mapping.

“Each team picks a fragment and comes up with a concept for lighting. Then, video content is created based on this concept,” she says. “Artistic vision is the main thing here. Each contestant chooses a style and a way of storytelling, so their solution doesn’t have to be conventional – it can be abstract, minimalistic, or something else. It all depends on them. It’s a great opportunity for students to gain experience in working on a set in a professional environment and create an interesting project to include on their CVs.”

Workshops for everyone

Credit: CLD ITMO University
Credit: CLD ITMO University

Throughout the contest, the participants will be consulted by experts in this field. However, not only contestants have such an opportunity. In October, organizers of the Digital OPERA 2020 festival, joined by the Show Consulting School, will hold a series of workshops and seminars by experts in opera set design. The meetings will be broadcast on the festival’s YouTube channel and social media. 

The team of the festival would like to invite ITMO University students to join. The number of participants is limited and registration is required. You can sign up here.

Upcoming events:

October 15 – Classic Scenography and Multimedia: Unity and Struggles, a round table 

October 16 – a conversational interview about Digital Gonzaga, the first contest for media artists that took place last year as part of the Digital Opera festival

October 17 – Video As Part of Set Design, a round table 

October 17 – a lecture about Digital Gala, the final concert of the Digital Opera 2019 festival that took place at Mikhailovsky Theater

October 18 – a meeting with Pasha Shapiro and Ernst Weber, Russian and American designers, music video and multimedia directors, and co-founders of the i.am.design studio.

Support ITMO

Credit: CLD ITMO University
Credit: CLD ITMO University

The final concert will take place at the hall of St. Petersburg State University of Film and Television (Bukharestskaya St., 22) on October 24-25 at 5 pm. There, the jury will choose winners and award the best teams. The Tavrichesky symphony orchestra headed by Mikhail Golikov, the music director of the contest, will perform at the concert. 

Two days of a fascinating opera marathon filled with creative ideas, digital phantasmagories, visual pleasure, and brilliant music await you. All vocal acts will be performed by top opera singers from leading theaters of St. Petersburg.

We would like to invite everyone who is interested in digital art to join the world of opera and support teams of CLD ITMO University.