Let’s face it—watching YouTube videos of your favorite opera singers from the past just isn’t the same as seeing them live. We wish we could travel back in time to see those epic performances that changed history. Thankfully, BASE Hologram has brought the past to present day (with a touch of the future).
Even though the show has been sold out for quite some time, we’re so excited to team up with the LA Times Festival of Books and BASE Hologram to present Callas in Concert: The Hologram Tour starring Maria Callas herself. Well, sort of. It’s actually a very realistic hologram— and it’s so advanced, it even reacts to the audience.
But a concert featuring technology this advanced takes time. We talked with those who brought Callas back to “life,” and what steps they took to make the hologram as lifelike as possible. In our opinion, it’s pretty dang cool.
According to Marty Tudor, BASE Hologram’s CEO of Production, the process from start to finish took about a year to complete.
“Maria Callas was a very unique and special performer whose influence transcended her genre,” Tudor told LA Opera. “Her contributions to the field are nothing short of groundbreaking, which made her an ideal choice.”
Even though no artificial intelligence is used, the team at BASE Hologram has developed a hologram that reacts to the audience with the use of a body double. Stephen Wadsworth, Director of Opera Studies at The Juilliard School, was tagged to develop the program and also work with a body double who mimicked Callas’ personal movements and performance style.
“We started with a body double who worked closely with [Wadsworth], and then we took the results of that and worked on it digitally along with, in many cases, cleaned up and re-mastered cuts of the songs,” Tudor said. “The technology has evolved so the team can for the first time strip out the vocals and separate the tracks from both orchestra and other singers.”
After the body double’s performance was recorded, BASE Hologram married the audio with digital and laser imaging, followed by CGI techniques to create the project. A full image of Callas was then fleshed out and finalized for the stage.
“Her music was always best experienced in intimate settings which makes her a natural fit for this type of experience. She also was and still is, the definitive name in opera and the original diva.”
Tudor, as well as the BASE hologram team, are thrilled with the response from audiences. From longtime Callas fans to music lovers in general, this type of production defies the limits of technology and art. Combine that with LA Opera’s award-winning orchestra and the memories will basically make themselves.
“We are fusing artistry with extraordinary theatrical stagecraft to leverage this amazing new type of technology that wasn’t around even a just few year ago. It is a state-of-the-art spectacle.”
PLEASE NOTE: The performance is sold out.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.