NEW YORK— LUMA, the country’s fastest growing festival for art, tech and storytelling, will leverage its worldwide network of talent to reimagine how musical theater and opera are presented live in the era of COVID-19. 

On September 24, 25, and 26, LUMA will debut a fully immersive production of Kamala Sankaram’s dystopian courtroom drama Miranda: A Steampunk Opera streaming live in two distinct formats: through a fully immersive VR theatre app built for Vive/Oculus headsets and via real-time computer animated film streamed live through YouTube. The production is co-created by Tri-Cities Opera and co-presented by Opera Omaha

The show’s leading cast members sing live as their full bodies are motion-captured in real time and mapped onto meticulously crafted digital avatars designed for this groundbreaking production. 

Miranda: A Steampunk Theatre Experience combines the quality of performance and broad accessibility of a large Broadway theatre with the emotional connection that can only be achieved in a small, immersive production. The style of production also creates the possibility for live theatre to incorporate cinema-scale effects typically impossible to replicate on-stage. To present Miranda, Enhance VR and LUMA have developed an original live theater framework application built on industry-standard 3D gaming tools including Unity and Photon. 

Miranda transports us to a dark American future where growing class disparities have reached epic proportions and the criminal justice system serves only as a parody of what it once represented. A wealthy socialite has died and three suspects’ lives are on the line. They’ll each testify in aria for a chance at freedom. The live audience serves as judge and jury – but can they even accept their own role at face value? Or has the game been rigged from the start? 

Sankaram’s score balances apocalyptic pop beats with the lush lyricism of classic opera, adding a rich texture to a tale that explores themes of class, bureaucracy and self-determination. The work is being directed and adapted from its original 2013 production by Alison Moritz (Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha, Tanglewood Festival), working with lead designer Diego Martinez and Co-Executive Producer Tice Lerner. The production concept was developed by LUMA’s Joshua Bernard and Tri-Cities Opera’s John Rozzoni. 

Reservations for the performance can be made at lumafestival.com