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Sun 10 Nov 2019 02:43 PM

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Dubai Opera to stage hologram-based production

The Downtown Dubai venue is increasingly embracing different forms of technology and entertainment

Dubai Opera to stage hologram-based production

Dubai Opera will soon unveil a hologram-based production.

Dubai Opera will soon unveil a hologram-based production, as modern technology increasingly becomes incorporated into live theatre shows, a senior executive told Arabian Business.

“We are about to announce a show that is going to hologram-based, so watch this space,” Mehdi Aoustin-Sellami, director of programming and head of Dubai Opera, said in a video interview with AB Live.

Aoustin-Sellami said virtual reality and modern forms of technology were enhancing live performances in the United Kingdom and Europe and were already “a very big topic” among the global theatre community.

“We already see technology having a big presence in our big productions like the magic behind the Phantom of the Opera. The walls can disappear, floors can rise,” he said.

Last year, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a Dubai-based production house unveiled an ultra-realistic, high-tech hologram that depicts the UAE’s Founding Father giving a speech directed at the UAE’s youth.

The hologram – developed by New Dimension Productions (NDP) – was created using 3D technology to recreate Sheikh Zayed’s detailed facial textures, head animation and compositing and took a team of experts over 400 hours of produce.

Five years ago, a leading entertainment industry executive predicted that hologram 3D concerts and theatre productions would become more common in Dubai.

“I think it is the future of clubbing and entertainment. The reason why it hasn’t come to Dubai yet is because it requires a lot of investment and long-term planning but I think there is a big room for that market,” said Joe Tabet, chairman of Pragma Group, the Lebanese firm which manages the Cavalli Club and Cirque du Soir venues in Dubai.

“Usually, the States is the leader in that industry. It started in Vegas a couple of years ago so give it three or four years before it becomes mature and it will be rolled out across the world and to Dubai,” Tabet predicted in 2014.

In the past, Michael Jackson have appeared on stage as a 3D hologram at the Billboard Music Awards, almost five years after his sudden death. The Jackson hologram materialised sitting on a golden throne amid a host of real backing dancers and sang tracks from his latest posthumously released album Xscape.

Jackson isn’t the only artist to have been brought to life in such a manner. Deceased rappers Ol' Dirty Bastard and Eazy-E made hologramatic appearances at concerts in 2013, while it was Tupac Shakur's hologram at 2012's Coachella festival in California which really got the trend started.

Within the theatre world, a 3D hologram of Irish actor Liam Neeson played the part of the narrator in a 2012 London production of The War of the Worlds musical.

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