Composer To Stage Opera Performed by Androids
The work of Keiichiro Shibuya may give a whole new meaning to electronic music, as he plans to stage an opera performed by androids in 2016.
Shibuya is already well-known for his highly experimental work with the intersection between technology and music; his "virtual opera" The End, which dealt with the theme of mortality and starred a computer-generated girl projected onto a screen, sold out when it went up in 2012. He claims that his goal when composing these highly unconventional pieces is to "unsettle" the audience.
"I have a project that I will put on later with robots that have human form," he said. "There will be only robots on stage, no human beings."
The music will be entirely computer-generated, and will be performed by human-like robots to be built by prominent roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University. He is known for his recent invention of a news-reading robot, as well as for sending an android version of himself to overseas conferences.
According to Shibuya, the opera will distill art to its purest form: "When a human being plays something, when he creates art, others are impressed or moved. Why? Because they feel that this human being has made an effort, has performed perfectly as a human being? Or because the art itself is beautiful? We don't really know. Putting on an opera without any human beings involved is one way of finding out.
"If others appreciate something that was created by something other than a human being, it's a new type of pleasure."