Ed Hughes in first Robot Opera

Ed Hughes has been involved in an exciting new project at the University of Sussex, bringing programming and music together to create singing robots. Hughes wrote the second of two arias with librettist Eleanor Knight entitled, ‘Opposite of Familiarity’.

When asked about the project, Ed Hughes said: “Having written two operas for humans before, it is really strange and quite touching to see robots apparently expressing what we think of as human themes of recognition and even tenderness through opera. You find out what they can do and then work that into the language of the piece. You realise there are boundaries. Theatre is partly about projecting an illusion and that’s what you work with, even though you know they don’t have feelings.”

The opera was part of a mini symposium at the University of Sussex, organised by Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre and the Centre for Research in the Creative and Performing Arts, to explore the philosophy and potential impact of artificial intelligence on the arts.

The other Robot Opera, “O, One," was written by Dr Ficarra for two robots and cello and is partly sung in binary code. She said: “As a composer, I’m interested in how opera can survive and respond to new technology. We have had to learn how robots vocalise and to fit the music to their physicality and internal programming.”

Read more about this venture at https://inews.co.uk/essentials/meet-pavarobotti-first-robot-opera-bad-news-temperamental-tenors/

Ed Hughes also has a new DVD being released in the autumn on Divine Art/Metier called ‘Symphonic Visions’. The DVD features Ed Hughes’s new scores for silent films ranging from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow, 1903) and ‘Voyage to the Moon’ (Georges Melies, 1902) to Alexandre Alexieff and Claire Parker’s 1963 pin screen film ’The Nose (1963). Performers include New Music Players, pianists Richard Casey and Clare Hammond, and the Orchestra of Sound and Light who perform Ed’s large-scale Brighton Festival commission for 2016, ‘Brighton: Symphony of a City’ to a new film by Lizzie Thynne. More news will follow before its release.

(21 Jun 2017)

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