The Hubble Cantata: A live VR experience of the cosmos

The Hubble Cantata taps into Virtual Reality, live performance and high-tech sound engineering to introduce New Yorkers to the cosmos.

The Hubble Cantata promises to be the first live event to fuse a major musical performance with a Virtual Reality (VR) experience amidst a 360-degree sound installation. If that’s not enough, the live performance will feature a 20-piece ensemble, a 100 person choir and two Metropolitan Opera stars.

The project is currently being developed at New Inc, the artistic incubator of the New Museum. It is a collaboration between composer Paola Prestini, librettist Royce Vavrek, filmmaker Eliza McNitt, and internationally-known astrophysicist Mario Livio, who worked on the Hubble Telescope for 24 years.

“This means that 6,000 people will have a personal encounter with the Hubble Telescope while experiencing a sonically-communal, immersive musical performance—all for free,” reads the event’s Kickstarter campaign.

The Hubble Cantata: A live VR experience of the cosmos

Expected to take place on 6 August 2016, the event promises to provide an “unprecedented immersive public experience” to the New York community.

In the weeks leading up to the event, a VR experience of the Orion Nebula will be available on a free app. Once at the event, attendees will be a given a cardboard headset to view the VR content. Toward the end of the musical performance, the audience will be prompted to press play and put the cardboard headsets on to begin their journey into the cosmos. The sound will be boomed through the venue’s loudspeakers, completing the immersive experience.

The Hubble Cantata: A live VR experience of the cosmos

“After our premiere, we plan to release the cutting-edge VR film Fistful of Stars on our dedicated app—giving anyone the opportunity to experience the cosmos,” reads the campaign.

Arup, the global leader in acoustical engineering, and The Endless Collective who helped create the award-winning visual effects for GRAVITY and Neil DeGrasse Tyson's COSMOS are all involved in the making of the event.