Isolde Platform

Explore our new street art performance software ecosystem.

Isolde | Explained

Isolde is a breakthrough for Irish National Opera. It is our first app of any kind, and will be available for smartphones running iOS or Android. It is part of a transformative digital project that has the potential to revolutionise presentation, sustainability and access for the performing arts, and provide low-cost, practical solutions for the broader cultural sector. There is already international interest in the development with the project winning the inaugural FEDORA/Opera Europa Next Stage grant for the second phase of its development.

The app grew out of our need for a simpler and better sound solution for what we call our Street Art performances — operas shown in urban spaces, with the action projected onto the walls of public buildings. Amplified sound would have to compete against the background of city centres so all Street Art screenings have so far used wireless headphones which we have supplied to our audiences, with all the costs involved in time and inventory management, possible damage and hygiene. With Isolde the sound is sourced directly through the app so no equipment of any kind is required at the location of the performance.

The innovative Isolde app literally puts control in the audience’s own hands, allowing them to listen with their own wired or Bluetooth headphones or earphones using their own mobile phones. There is nothing to manage except the projection. The listener just has to launch the app on their phone, and it then does the rest, perfectly syncing with the projection and using geolocation to provide the correct soundtrack. No latency and no buffering.

Isolde’s advantages go even further. In our next phase of development, we will be able to open this technology to other cultural organisations for a variety of uses. It can link into future Night-Time Economy initiatives because it opens various performing arts and outdoor screenings to a wider audience and screenings in noise-sensitive locations can function without any high-volume public amplification. It will be usable as a low-cost medium for providing audio descriptions for the visually impaired in theatre settings and it will function as an audio description tool for auto-prompted guides in museums and galleries.

Brian Irvine and John McIlduff’s Scorched Earth Trilogy is the creative project that will be used to showcase the new technology. The trilogy is a series of short, thought-provoking operas exploring the environmental, political and social impacts of climate change through the eyes of polar bears, children and world leaders. The trilogy aims to challenge complacency in matters of the environment. We are working with our artistic project partner, Dumbworld, for future presentation of these operas in locations around Ireland and in Europe.

As we grow this technology we are working with Irish-based tech and audio specialists Nuwa Studios, to explore further ways in which Isolde can benefit the cultural and private sector at home and abroad. Synchronised firework, light shows and cinema screenings without load speakers, interactive bill boards, and live-theatre or televisual relay in public spaces are among the areas we will develop.

The beta version of the app is available via the App Store and Google Play now. 

For more information or to discuss getting involved with the project, please contact:

Sarah Halpin, Digital Producer |

To discuss how you can support the project by becoming a funding partner, please contact:

Aoife Daly, Development Manager |