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Five naked mannequins stand and sit in the auditorium of an old theater.

Photo: Michael von zur Mühlen Photo:


Opera – A Future Game

A post(operatic)-apocalyptic video game essay
With music by Ole Hübner and texts by Thomas Köck
Based on the opera "opera opera! revenants&revolutions"

 Werkraum
 Live appearance of Thomas Köck: 30.6. | Installation: 1. & 2.7.2023
 10 Euro
 Werkraum
 Live appearance of Thomas Köck: 30.6. | Installation: 1. & 2.7.2023
 10 Euro

“Opera – A Future Game” is an interactive, first-person playable digital music theater video game essay based on a forgotten opera project that had to be interrupted due to a global pandemic and could not be continued as planned. In this ghostly digital version, fragments of the production, stage sets, costumes, orchestral and video recordings are transformed into a playable, sprawling archive, an immersive hybrid of gaming situation and interactive video art exhibition, in which the opera becomes playable as an open world. The installation will open on June 30 as a mixture of public Let’s Play and Lecture Performance with Thomas Köck.

In Thomas Köck’s text a choir of last humans meets a cyborg after a catastrophe. It is about collective (in)ability to act, predictions of the future, the collapse of the public sphere as we know it, and emerging utopias. The final act of the piece takes place in an empty abandoned opera house and points beyond the concrete coincidence of the situation of public spaces during the pandemic to fundamental questions about the impact of art and narratives of history. Accompanied by an inner voice, the users wander through a landscape that tells of the disappearance of the present and of a society that is apparently only capable to think of the future as a catastrophe.

The users steer their avatar through this dystopic open world using a controller. Meanwhile, other viewers in the room can follow the events, comment on them and intervene. The work integrates complex film footage, advanced 3D animations, an original opera composition and audio recordings with a large orchestra as well as experimental sound compositions.

Only on 30.6. with live appearance of Thomas Köck. Free admission on July 1 & 2.

A cooperation of the NRW KULTURsekretariat and the Next Level Festival for Games with HELLERAU - European Center for the Arts. Premiere 25.11.2022, Next Level Festival Essen / 24.3.2023 Festspielhaus Hellerau. Developed in collaboration with LEFX GmbH from Leipzig. With visual and sound recordings by Michael Taylor, Robert Sellier, Michael Zehe, Miriam Knackstedt, Philine Götz, Damian Rebgetz, Halle Opera Choir, Halle Opera Children's and Youth Choir, Halle State Orchestra. MDR KLASSIK production of excerpts from the opera, September 2020 in Halle. Musical director: Michael Wendeberg | sound engineer: Michael Leverkus.

The underlying work "opera, opera, opera! revenants&revolutions" is a commission and libretto by the City of Munich for the Munich Biennale. Co-production of the Munich Biennale with the Halle Opera 2020-2022.

Nominee A MAZE EXPLORER AWARD 2023 | Competition entry in the XR section at the Central German Short Film Festival Leipzig.
  • Text Thomas Köck
  • Game design, directing & animation Michael von zur Mühlen
  • Stage Design & Equipment Martin Miotk
  • Camera & Editing Stefan Bischoff
  • Sound Design Paul Hauptmeier, Martin Recker
  • Programming and project management LEFX Hannes Stolle

Am Festspielhaus Hellerau sprachen Autor Thomas Köck und Regisseur Michael von zur Mühlen im Interview über “opera – a future game”. Lesen Sie hinein

Press reviews

“opera - a future game, vielschichtig in Szene gesetzt von Michael v. zur Mühlen. Der Einstieg in diese Welt gelingt mittels Gaming-Controler, die User*innen schlüpfen in die Rolle des Cyborgs, der eine unwirtliche, kalt wirkende Welt betritt, voller weiter Räume in denen Artefakte einer vergangenen Zeit surreal auftauchen. Ein spannendes Experiment.”

DLF Corso, Achim Hahn • 25.11.22

“Es ist ein tolles Experiment, es ist eine tolle neue Präsentationsform. Eine Oper über eine Dystopie und man befindet sich quasi selber in dieser Dystopie, wenn man die Oper hört und dadurch bekommt das eine ganz andere Wirkung. (…) Ich bin froh, dass es das in dieser Form jetzt gibt.”

WDR tonart, Kai Löffler • 25.11.22