Much fuss was made about Nico Muhly's Two Boys as an Internet opera, but starting today the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris will host performances of The End, Vocaloid Opéra, featuring the completely virtual "diva" from Japan, Hatsune Miku. Eléonore Prieur has a preview article (Le premier opéra virtuel investit le Théâtre du Châtelet, November 12) for Le Figaro (my translation):
It is the first time since Max Headroom, the star presenter of cybernetic culture in the 1980s, that a virtual character has risen to the rank of celebrity. After all, Hatsune Miku is not a teenage girl of 16 like the others, she is a Vocaloid (a program of vocal synthesization). The brand created by Yahama is associated with a manga-like character imagined by the company Crypton Future Media. Like any other diva, she appears in concert. She sang recently at the Mori Museum in Tokyo, in an exhibit bringing together works by Chagall and Jeff Koons. Proud of their superstar, the Japanese have even brought her to life in the form of a drawing placed on board their space probe Akatsuki.The performance of the opera is presented on four screens, allowing the character to walk around the stage, accompanied by live musicians and electronic music by composer Keeichiro Shibuya. Performances of the work are planned for Montreal and the United States. The music may not yet be worth listening to, but the possibilities are mind-boggling.