Onstage application : eyes on the stage, glances at smartphones !

Onstage application, a good surprise of Classical:Next 2018

I have already written some posts about how digital can enhance a live performance providing a dedicated experience before and after the show. Proposing to complement experience during the very peformance in the venue  is even rarer. I have heard about a opera for kids performance in Nice where the audience could augment with their smartphone the plot of the opera  Peter Pan they were watching.  I knew another experience where audience could enjoy a Stephen Goss’ tablet-powered piano concerto played by the piano soloist Emmanuel Despax !
However these two experiences were specific to the show. As far as I know, no universal solution is available to augment any kind of classical music experience. It seems it no longer the case. In the last Classical:Next event in May 2018 in Rotterdam, I have discoverd a project called onestage application. Its goal is to augment the performance in the very venue giving the audience access to  a bundle of features through their smartphone. The solution could be used by any venue whatever the nature of the show. All this can happen thanks to an application that viewers have to install on their smartphone for the performance. The venue has also to be equipped with at least a bunch of four camrecorders and a wifi network. The application is free of charge for the viewers that use it. It is the venue that pays for the service provided by onstage experience.
Auditoriums or concer halls must be wifi and camrecording empowered to enjoy he onstage application

Auditoriums or concert halls must be wifi and camrecording empowered to enjoy he onstage application  (Konrad Cwik / Julian Cochran Foundation)

onstage application the missing digital link between “before” and “after” performance ?

The onstage application provides before and after performance features. For instance,  after the performance (or during the intermission by the way), bonus content from behind the scenes are proposed to the audience. Before the performance, viewers can prepare their listening by reading digital concert notes and artists’ bios and also prepare their getting to the venue on time using location services embedded in the app.

onstage application provide a paper free alterantive to concert booklet

onstage application provides a paper free alterantive to concert booklet (Konrad Cwik / Julian Cochran Foundation)

The onstage application enables also the viewers to send emails directly to the artists after the performance. The app also enables the audience to revive the emotions of the concert by re-watching the performances within the application.

Still, to my mind this is not the most interesting value proposition of the onstage application. The most exciting features are related to what is done in the very venue during the performance. Once in the venue, the viewers can indeed enjoy several experiences if the concert hall or the auditorium of the opera house has been powered with the relevant camrecording equipment and a wifi network. The idea of experiencing a live performance using a smartphone in the venue might sound as impossible for many a conservative concert hall.  However for digital natives, it may not be so iconoclastic and can provide a lever of experience into the world of real and live music they are looking for.

Amongst the” in the venue features” , first of all, viewers can enjoy close-ups of the performers in real time during the event. It is possible to watch the artists from various close-up angles in the smartphone (in real time). Onstage application streams video only and the audio enjoyed by the user of the app  always remains acoustic. Anybody can imagine the pleasure to zoom on the conductor or on the hands of a piano soloist ! Of course, this kind of feature is not new in the field of classical music. Choosing a viewpoint is regularly proposed in watching recorded performance. Have a look on the Opera Machine where viewers could chose their view within not less than 17 different camcorders !  In the staatoperlive service of the Wiener Staatsoper it is also possible to choose between 2 viewpoints when watching a opera live stream at home. However in the onstage application experience you can chose 4 different points of view during the live performance in the very venue in your smartphone.
onstage application lets viewers choose between 4 viewpoints (Konrad Cwik / Julian Cochran Foundation)

onstage application lets viewers choose between 4 viewpoints (Konrad Cwik / Julian Cochran Foundation)

Contrary to what Wiener Staatsoper has been proposing, as the users are in the very venue, they experience a true acoustic audio experience while watching the video streaming corresponding to the chosen wiewpoint. Indeed the video streaming in the venue are coming is without sound.
Switching from a camrecorder to another

Switching from a camrecorder to another (taken during Classical:Next 2018)

 The second disruptive feature of the onstage application is that viewers using the onstage application can communicate with other members of the audience sharing their emotion during the performance !
With onstage application, viewers can interact each others on the performance

With onstage application, viewers can interact each others on the performance (Konrad Cwik / Julian Cochran Foundation)

On stage application enable to viewers to discuss during the performance

Onstage application enable to viewers to discuss during the performance

One can cry out heresy or scandal. However, a few centuries ago, it was common to see viewers talking to each other not only in the gods (paradise) and even to see viewers drinking or eating during a performance ! Have a look to this painting: none of the viewers neither pay attention to the stage nor look at the same direction. more interesting to Survey the other viewers they may know !

the laughing audience by edward matthew ward

the laughing audience by edward matthew ward

 And the point is using onstage application is not compulsory. The tagline of the onstage application is unambiguous: ‘onstage application complements the show, never steals it’. Indeed the application does not distract the viewer in any way! It’s all about on-demand features. Like the subtiling experience which quite widespread in opera houses, you can decide not to enjoy it.
Third, the viewer can follow the score of the masterwork performed in real time. Many a musician may know it’s very difficult to bring and read a score in the darkness of a concert hall or an opera house.
Following the score during the performance

Following the score during the performance  (konrad Cwik/Julian Cochran Foundation)

On more interesting feature is that the viewers are allowed to contact the artist at the end of the performance. Either viewers can meet the artist in the very venue or they can send mails to the artists once the performance is over.

Onstage application connects the viewers with the artists after the performance

Onstage application connects the viewers with the artists after the performance

Only Polish viewers have had the chance to experience Onstage application in a performance

It seems that the onestage application has been used up to now only in concerts  performed in Poland and his only available in Polish version.
The Onstage application was first premiered in the Warsaw Philharmonic orchestra after one year of preparations in 16 November 2017 for the piano Recital of Piotr Grelowski who won the International Cochran Piano Competition in 2016.
The onstage application has also fueled a classical music concert in last 28 April  2018 in the Concert Studio of the Polish Radio in Mokotów a district of Warsaw.
concert with the onstage application experience in April 2018

onstage application experience in April 2018 (Konrad Cwik / Julian Cochran Foundation)

Anyway, if you want to feel what can be the experience, feel free to watch this little video demo I have made during Classical:Next 2018. You can see for instance how you can swich from one camrecorder to another or you can follow the score during the performance.

Onstage application : another innovative project of the Julian Cochran Foundation

This Onstage application was created by Julian Cochran Foundation in collaboration with a Poland-based IT company called Altkom Software & Consulting. Julian Cochran Foundation promotes projects linking classical music with business and technologies. It also strives to raise awareness of the music of the Australian composer Julian Cochran. Inspired by his music, Jakub Fiebig decided that his work needs to be shown to the world. That’s when he came up with the idea of a foundation and a competition in his name !
Another goal of the Julian Cochran Foundation is to change the perception of classical music by embracing innovative technologies. The Foundation has been organising the International Cochran Piano Competition. This piano competition is very innovative in the way it levers the digital technologies. Indeed, it is the first international piano competition for adults with no upper age limit and conducted exclusively online ! Bravo !
Licence Creative Commons “onestage application : eyes on the stage but glances at the smartphone !” by Ramzi SAIDANI is under terms and conditions of the licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 France

About Ramzi SAIDANI

Ramzi SAIDANI is fond of classical music (abooove all opera) and new technologies. He particularly likes digital, the web, Puccini, Massenet, Domingo, Alagna, Netrebko & Gruberova (Grubi for the closest friends :). He has been working as digital marketer and strategy consultant for 15 years. He has funded Lanoramax a consulting company focused on cultural industries that helps the start-ups (of which Sonic Solveig) and the incumbent musical institutions to achieve their digital transformation and strategies. He has created and animated the Meet-up Music and Digital (#MusikNum) in the CentQuatre Paris since septembre 2016. Ramzi is a also a tenor. He has studied lyric singing with Pierre VANHOENACKERE in Tourcoing Conservatory and Robert Expert and Sonia Morgavi in Bobigny. He is also president of the Association Cavatine et Rondo (dedicated to lyrical music promotion) and he wrote a book of short stories ”Nouvelles Russes”, in which of course music play a major role :)

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