Callas in Concert: A beloved diva returns to the stage

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.

Photo courtesy of BASE Hologram

Photo courtesy of BASE Hologram

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.”

Maria Callas

Maria Callas

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.”

Click here for more information to Callas in Concert: A Hologram Tour.

PLEASE NOTE: The performance is sold out.

LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.
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20 Responses to Callas in Concert: A beloved diva returns to the stage

  1. Elisa Ballestas says:

    I don’t understand why this special program continues to be advertised when it’s been sold out for quite some time. It makes no sense to me. It’s just frustrating!

  2. Kim Muller says:

    Why not add more shows?

    • We definitely considered adding more shows, and even tried to make it happen. Unfortunately there were many factors that did not work in our favor, including timing and venue availability. We hope you understand!

  3. Ricardo Gomez says:

    If the performance is sold out. will you be offering additional showings? Or is that even possible?
    Ricardo Gomez

    • Per our comment below: We definitely considered adding more shows, and even tried to make it happen. Unfortunately there were many factors that did not work in our favor, including timing and venue availability. We hope you understand, and look forward to seeing you at future performances!

  4. Advertising this when it is sold out is only causing frustration. I’d be super excited about this program, too… IF it were actually possible to attend.

  5. Sarah Fenstermaker says:

    Saying that you “wish you could accommodate everyone” avoids the question of why you continue to advertise when the show is sold out. At LEAST put the information about it being sold out at the TOP rather than the bottom of the posting.

    • Hi Sarah, we mention the concert being sold out in the second paragraph (as well as at the bottom). But we DEFINITELY understand your concerns. Even though the show is sold out, we still want to promote an event that we, as well as BASE Hologram and the LA Times Festival of Books, worked very hard on. Plus, the process of bringing ‘la divina’ back to “life” is so cool that we want everyone to know how it works. We hope you understand and look forward to seeing you at LA Opera very soon!

  6. Sarah says:

    Hi! There seems to be quite a bit of interest in additional showings. I know you tried to extend this run and it wasn’t possible, but might you be able to put this event on again in the future? (For example for several nights at the Dorothy Chandler over the summer? Or even next summer?) I think I speak for many subscribers when I say that we’d love to see this!

  7. Sarah says:

    Ooh good to know about the national tour. Thank you.

  8. Donna-Marie says:

    BASE is offering a national tour… will LA Opera supporters be notified ?

    • While this specific production was produced by both LA Opera and BASE Hologram (and the LA Times Festival of Books!), all future dates are programmed through BASE Hologram. Please be sure to check their website periodically as details are announced.

  9. killy says:

    Ah crudele! Perfidia! Tantalizing us with a treat and then coldly informing us that we can’t have it. Maledizione! Sorry, I don’t know how to say “Bait and switch” and “Shameless self-promotion” in Italian!

  10. Mark Montgomery says:

    I have to say, I feel the same way about your advertising for this. I wound up sending it to others before I realized it was all sold out. This has happened to me in the past with LA Opera. While the promotional idea may help your box office, it would be nice to let us know if those tickets and possible extended runs are in the future. Very frustrating–and I do find myself passing up going thru your website as a result. I understand the venue issue and the booking aspect is difficult but there’s got to be a better way. Putting that info at the top of your preview page is a start. I can see there are a lot of disappointed patrons on your site too.

  11. C.Maldonado says:

    To be fair to LA Opera, this event actually already been announced quite a while ago and when I went to the site within a week after the announcement and realized that only limited seats available, right off bat, I know this going to be a “hot” ticket! I’m glad I was able to snatch couple of tickets!

  12. Jim says:

    The Callas hologram performance was superb, but the logistics last night were horrific. The tickets said that the show was at 7:00. By 7:00 hundreds of people were standing in line outside – and that’s when the doors opened for an 8:00 show. It’s a shame that you disrespected so many people’s time, not to mention making people stand in a line for up to an hour. Many people in the line were elderly and there was no place to sit down. Please treat your patrons with more respect in the future.

    • Hi Jim,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to us to share about your experience at the performance. We are so sorry to hear about your time in line. This event was a partnership between the LA Times Festival of Books, Base Hologram and LA Opera, and we did not handle the tickets and ticketing/entry operations at the venue. We are so sad to hear about your disappointment. Please do call LA Opera’s Box Office at 213.972.8001 and let them know about your experience. We know that this does not make up for the long wait at USC, but we would like to offer tickets to El Gato Montes (if you are able to attend).

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