Liberation Through Hearing by Shunyata
Liberation Through Hearing by Shunyata

We are proud to present the overture from “Liberation Through Hearing” - an interactive opera, based on software architecture in 2-D computer games. It is an audio-visual large- scale piece that combines a dramatic story, taking place in digital media, with game-like elements.

In this saga, the player is paving the protagonist’s way and controls a morphing avatar during its journey as it encounters diverse imaginary creations.

However, unlike in most computer games, in this opera there is no scoring, no winners or losers. It is a game without a game where one can only endlessly wander in a two-dimensional space while creating the music.

The opera’s libretto is rooted in the “Bardo Todel”, also known as “The Tibetean Book Of The Dead”. The book is a foundational text of Tibetan Buddhism. It describes, and guides one through the Bardo,a realm where the deceased’s consciousness journeys during the interval between death and the next rebirth.

Hearing is of great importance in the Tibetean Buddhism, where the auditory vortex is the last to remain active in the human body, after all other senses fail.

Therefore, the deceased is guided through the Bardo through hearing. Choosing an opera to follow the spirit of the book seemed the natural option. Writing a computer-game-opera offers an alternative to staged ones.

While the classic opera requires an opera house with its rotating stage, trapdoors, enormous lighting grids, chandeliers, and balconies to construct an elaborate artificial world vision that also happens to be exorbitantly expensive, computer game operas require only a computer. Therefore, this opera can expand the boundaries of operas and push the limits of the genre to new dimensions.

The creative freedom of virtual operas is not limited by constricting considerations such as costs, viability and profitability. This work leverages the digital media to exhibit a unique interactive opera, where the story, music and visual language incorporate the player as a musical performer, the main character (or hero), and audience. The diverse musical layers, and their combination with actions put the users in the midst of the drama and at the same time, positions them as necessary players in the musical piece.

The overture presents: Voices -Michal Oppenheim Landau; Piano, quoting Henry Cowell (loop) - Dganit Elyakim; Game Design and Development - Yotam Noy; Sound (recordings): Nadav Melamed; Sound (mix): Dror Schiemann Shunyata are: Shahar Sarig & Dganit Elyakim Supported by Ministry of Culture and Sports, Rabinovich Foundation, Yotzrim