Miranda: A Live Steampunk VR Opera Where You Play As Judge & Jury

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It’s trial by opera in this interactive murder-mystery.

There’s been a murder! One of the city’s wealthiest women has been found dead, but things don’t quite add up. The circumstances of her death are shrouded in mystery. Three lives of three suspects are on the line and it’s your job to unravel the riddle through a trial by opera.

Miranda: A Steampunk VR Experience is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between LUMA, Tri-Cities Opera, Enhance VR, and Opera Omaha that blends the worlds of theater, VR, opera, and a live motion-capture for a unique experience that will have you putting on your sleuthing hat to solve a mysterious murder.

The moment you step into VR, you are transported to a dystopian future where you’ll come face-to-face with a cast of colorful characters played by real actors performing on a stage in Binghamton, NY. Everything from their movements to their emotions is replicated in real-time via a motion-capture suit, bringing an additional level of personality and uniqueness to each performance.

This innovative avant-garde vision of theater comes from LUMA co-founder Joshua Bernard Ludzki, who became fascinated with the idea of creating a live theater experience that could be experienced remotely in VR after the live theater industry was hit incredibly hard from the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike a conventional in-person theater performance, each and every viewer will have a premium seat for Miranda as they enjoy the show alongside a few other audience members from one of several hundred virtual ‘rows’.

To bring even more theatrical immersion to the experience, audience members actually serve as judge and jury in the story itself, leading to several interesting questions. Can you accept your own role at face value? Or has the game been rigged from the start?

Hmmmm…

The story, score, and foundation of Miranda is driven by the groundbreaking work of award-winning composer Kamala Sankaram, who has created musical theatrical works produced by the Washington National Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera, and also has numerous vocal and instrumental chamber works on her resume.

Sankaram’s music builds a tone that carries a retrofuturistic pop sound while simultaneously weaving in the rich sounds and lyricism that one would expect from a traditional opera. 

In order to build the world of Miranda, the creatives at Enhance VR worked closely with LUMA. Using Unity and Photon, the team pioneered a new software framework designed for producing live musicals and operas that could be used in future productions.

The technology is so new, in fact, Miranda will actually mark the world debut of this new software! Which is exactly why the team is presenting all nine performances free to the public. While they don’t anticipate any problems, this is live entertainment baby; anything can happen. As such the team is asking for forgiveness in case something does go wrong.

There are several ways to jump into the world of Miranda. You can watch in standard 2D via YouTube, or you can participate in VR using the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or as a WebVR experience. The show is free, but you will need to reserve tickets! You can get yours here.

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