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The Clements Blog

Concerts and Opera: A New Dimension

Thursday, 7th April 2011 | 1 comment

It was recently announced that a new 3D film featuring possibly the world's greatest orchestra – the Berlin Philhamonic – would be shown in cinemas. A Musical Journey is a film of a concert which was given in Singapore, and features Mahler's Symphony No. 1 and Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances. As well as various viewpoints from within as well as around the orchestra, the film features scenes from Singapore and the construction of the spectacular Esplanade Concert Hall, where the concert took place.

This is not the first presentation of classical music in cinemas or in 3D. Operas have for some time been shown in cinemas, sometimes streamed live from the opera house – for example New York's Metropolitan Opera, London's Royal Opera House and English National Opera, and the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Russia. And of course, an opera live on stage is already in 3D!

Opera in the cinema has been successful in attracting audiences, and this trend may continue with the extra attraction of 3D technology. It's worth asking, however: what do cinema and 3D technology actually add to the opera or concert experience? Here's a quick 'for and against':


  • New viewpoints, for example from within the orchestra or from the conductor's podium
  • Close-ups of the action on-stage allow much more to be revealed than can be seen from a concert hall seat
  • More comfortable seats and a more relaxed atmosphere (and popcorn!)
  • Directors of opera could take advantage of different camera angles and special effects which are not available for a stage production
  • Tickets might be cheaper, and more might be available to buy


  • The sound is artificial, coming through speakers, and won't sound the same as live music
  • The atmosphere of a cinema might not feel as grand and exciting as a concert hall, and other people in the audience might be more noisy (eating their popcorn!)
  • In opera, the stage direction might not translate well to the many angles of film cameras
  • Close-ups might reveal more than intended – on the opera stage, singers will wear very heavy make-up which can be seen from all round the opera house, but the effect will be quite different in close-up (and in HD!)

What do you think? would you rather see an opera or concert in a traditional opera house or concert hall, or at your local Odeon?



Friday, 15th July 2011

I'd love to see this! Looks like 3D is only going to get more popular, I heard today that Glee are releasing a 3D film soon.

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