An Entertaining, Immersive and Explosive Night of Music, Art and Science

The words “virtual reality” have been thrown around a lot these past few years. The idea conjures up everything from Princess Leia’s holographic plea for help to a fully immersive experience a la Avatar.

Thanks to “contemporary opera mastermind” (Los Angeles Times) Beth Morrison of Beth Morrison Projects and award-winning filmmaker Eliza McNitt, we get to experience Virtual Reality (or VR as the cool kids call it) from the comfort of our theatre seats.

The Hubble Cantata
The Hubble Cantata at The Kennedy Center.

Beth has worked with a cadre of collaborators to create The Hubble Cantata, an unprecedented live experience that brilliantly combines art and science. Using a combination of live music, narration and film, The Hubble Cantata takes you on a voyage through the Universe as it explores the parallels between the life of a star and our human lives.

An astrophysicist searches for his wife in the stars. As the cosmos unfolds before him, the birth, life and death of a star echo the couples' loss of their child. New York Times best-selling author and astrophysicist Dr. Mario Livio’s poignant themes place the story within the grand scheme of the cosmos...and our place in it. 

The Hubble Cantata
The Hubble Cantata at BRIC's Celebrate Brooklyn performance.

The hour-long cantata culminates in a groundbreaking VR film by McNitt called Fistful of Stars. Once the VR goggles are strapped on (cardboard headsets by The Endless Collective transform your smart phone), be prepared to be swept away as you float within photorealistic simulations of images taken by the iconic Hubble Space Telescope.

Not to be outshone by the stars above, Hubble Cantata’s collaborators are stellar in their own right. Acclaimed baritone Nathan Gunn and soprano Jessica Rivera embody the couple experiencing loss, joined by members of the LA Opera Orchestra, LA Opera Chorus and Los Angeles Children's Chorus, with music direction by Julian Wachner.

Librettist Royce Vavrek, the scribe behind some of the 21st century’s most acclaimed new operas (Dog Days, Song from the Uproar, JFK) has been called “an exemplary creator of operatic prose.” (New York Times). He wrote The Hubble Cantata to be a poetic re-imagining inspired and guided by Dr. Livio’s sensitive and intellectual writings.  

Paola Prestini is “the enterprising composer and impresario” (New York Times) behind Hubble Cantata co-producer National Sawdust. Named one of NPR’s “Top 100 Composers in the World under 40,” her compositions are deemed “radiant… amorously evocative” by The New York Times, and “spellbinding” by The Washington Post.  

The Hubble Cantata promises an entertaining, immersive and explosive night of music, art and science like no other. It’s quite fitting that this multimedia trip slash exploration of the cosmos takes place under the Ford’s canopy of stars.

The Hubble Cantata, co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects and National Sawdust, is presented in association with LA Opera as part of the IGNITE @ the FORD! series and takes place on Wednesday, October 11 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets and info here.