Out of the Ordinary Wins Fedora Digital Prize

Friday, 18 June, 2021
INO Out Of The Ordinary A3 Poster

€50,000 Fedora Digital Prize awarded to Irish National Opera’s Out of the Ordinary a new, virtual reality community opera, for performance in 2022.

Irish National Opera’s virtual reality community opera Out of the Ordinary has been selected as the winner of this year’s coveted Fedora Digital Prize.

Peter Maniura, Director of the IMZ Academy and Chair of the Digital Jury, said “The jury was very impressed by the high quality and imagination of the project led by Irish National Opera, and its ambition to redefine community engagement and creativity and place it at the heart of an innovative and ambitious digital project”.

The prize advocates new forms of artistic expression and access to opera and ballet through digital innovation, and it encourages new ways of interacting with audiences through digital tools and performance. The €50,000 award, sponsored by global management consultants Kearney, will enhance the impact of Out of the Ordinary, and allow INO to reach a larger audience, both in Ireland and internationally. Following the success of last-year’s, specially-commissioned, online-only 20 Shots of Opera, the award will also help reinforce INO’s position as a digitally innovative opera company with a keen eye for the exciting possibilities that digital technologies hold for the future of the artform.

Out of The Ordinary pushes the boundaries of digital and conventional storytelling with the goal of using virtual reality to uncover new ways of experiencing opera. It will appeal to a diverse audience, newcomers as well as aficionados, and will allow INO to bring an immersive opera experience to communities around the country, regardless of their location or proximity to an opera house or arts centre.

INO Digital Communications Manager Sarah Halpin says, “INO places a huge importance on the value of digital technologies for the development and presentation of opera as an artform. Winning the Fedora Digital Prize is a huge validation of the work we’ve been carrying out behind the scenes to explore, experiment and create in the digital space. We’re so excited to bring this VR opera to audiences all over Ireland and beyond in summer 2022.”

INO Studio and Outreach Producer James Bingham, who leads the production of the opera, says, “I’m delighted Fedora have given their Digital Prize to Out of the Ordinary. The award means we can greatly expand the work’s imprint around the country and bring opera to locations and communities that are challenging for the artform to reach. It is wonderful that these communities will be first in line to experience new opera through a cutting-edge technology with a real wow factor.”

INO is delivering Out of the Ordinary as part TRACTION, an EU Horizon 2020-funded research and innovation project. TRACTION aims to impact on the relationship between opera and technology and also explore new ways of involving communities in the creation of opera. It’s a three-year project that began in 2020 and it brings together a total of nine international partners including Dublin City University, Vicomtech, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, SAMP music school, Liceu Opera house, François Matarasso and Irish National Opera.

Vicomtech’s Mikel Zorrilla, the project’s leader, says the aim is “to define new forms of artistic creation through which the most marginalised groups, migrants, the rural poor, young offenders, can work with artists to tell the stories that matter now.”

Out of the Ordinary is being co-created in collaboration with members of three diverse communities in Ireland who currently have little or no connection with opera – residents on Inis Meáin, Co. Galway, adults living in Tallaght and south Dublin, and students living in rural Ireland. The final work, composed by Finola Merivale, will be directed by Jo Mangan. Working to deliver the virtual reality elements of the opera are the creative production company Algorithm and TRACTION partners Virtual Reality Ireland.

Out of the Ordinary will be presented in Summer 2022 and full details will be announced next year.