Do you remember Natalie Cole singing Unforgettable with her father Nat “King” Cole? Or perhaps more recently the much-ballyhooed ABBA “virtual tour” with the singers appearing as the digital versions of themselves in what many have affectionally dubbed “ABBAtars”?
While these are just a couple of examples of how technology continues to transform the entertainment and music industries, another music/innovation intersection comes in the form of Callas in Concert – The Hologram Tour, set to play Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre this month.
Using state-of-the-art digital and laser technology, Callas in Concert brings famed opera star Maria Callas back to the stage 55 years after her final performance at London’s Covent Garden and 42 years following her death. One of classical music’s best-selling vocalists, Maria Callas, left a lasting impact on the world of opera and in 2007 and was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
The first such hologram concert tour to play in Vancouver, Callas will be accompanied live by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO).
“Callas in Concert will bring one of the greatest voices in opera back to the stage in a way that is both innovative and impressive,” says Brian Becker, CEO and Chairman of BASE Entertainment and BASE Hologram in a media release. “Our hope is that this gives a new wave of audiences the opportunity to witness her tour de force performances that made her such a legend in her field.”
The concert will be under the baton of Irish conductor and composer Eímear Noone, who is fresh off conducting the 2020 Oscars ceremony earlier this month. Noone will lead the VSO in a program that features Callas’ digitally remastered original recordings.
The concert receives additional authenticity by being scripted and directed by Stephen Wadsworth, a veteran of many of Callas’ performances, including La Scala, the Met and Covent Garden. Wadsworth has also directed Terrence McNally’s Callas play Master Class on Broadway and currently runs the post-graduate opera training at The Juilliard School.
“We put a lot of thought and effort into both the program and creating Callas’ character to bring an authentic experience to the stage,” says Wadsworth in the release. “Audience members will leave with a sense of admiration at her remarkable ability to cultivate a relationship with each viewer through her emotion and dramatic conviction.”
Callas in Concert – The Hologram Tour plays the Orpheum Theatre (601 Smithe St, Vancouver) on February 22. Visit vancouversymphony.ca for tickets and information.