Union Station silent disco incorporates actors, orchestras and other live performances.
Invisible Cities is a fully immersive opera by Christopher Cerrone that takes place in Los Angeles’ Union Station and uses wireless sound equipment to make you feel like the performers are inside your head. The public display is based on the novel by Italo Calvino and produced by The Industry and LA Dance Project.
The public opera is a choose-your-own-adventure experience that unfolds as you stroll around the station at night, although some listeners chose to stay put in one place and focus on the music. Even though silent discos are nothing new, this appears to be the first time wireless headphones have been used in conjunction with a live orchestra and performers.
German audio company Sennheiser took care of the technical side, setting up their command center in a former bagel shop at the center of the station. Engineers were responsible for gathering sounds from wireless microphones taped to the cheeks of the performers, which were then translated into six different mixes and simultaneously fed back to the headphones of the performers, musicians and audience members.
Despite the challenges of maintaing a strong frequency throughout the performance, everything seems to run smoothly, with the station’s architecture and ambience providing a unique operatic experience. You can see some pictures from the event, which runs until November 8th, below.