Anna Meredith’s ‘Five Telegrams’ in First Ever Virtual Reality BBC Proms

Anna Meredith

Anna Meredith’s ‘Five Telegrams’ in First Ever Virtual Reality BBC Proms

VR experience will place the user in the centre of the Royal Albert Hall.

Five Telegrams, the new work by composer Anna Meredith, will feature in the first ever Virtual Reality BBC Proms, which takes place at the Beit Venues, Imperial College Union, in London on 21 August.

Virtual Reality (VR), experienced through a headset, means audiences will see and hear the work in an immersive way, with pictures and sound all around them. The experience will place the user in the centre of the Royal Albert Hall, and, as the music plays, the walls and geometry of the building will morph and change.

The First World War-inspired Five Telegrams was premiered at the Proms on 13 July and the VR experience has been developed by the composer with 59 Productions – the company behind the video design of the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics – and produced by BBC VR Hub.

The premiere of Five Telegrams on 13 July

Field postcards
The 25-minute Five Telegrams VR performance will be paired with a 7-minute piece, Nothing to be Written. This work features the choral score from Meredith’s work and focusses on the First World War’s primary communication mode, the ‘field postcard’. The work takes the viewer on an emotive journey, positioning them as the main protagonist in the narrative and merging two worlds – the hallways across the country with families and friends waiting quietly for news, with the unrestrained violence of the trenches. 

Meredith is one of 24 women composers featured at the Proms this summer. Commenting on the work, she said,

I’m totally delighted with 59 Productions’ beautiful story telling in Nothing to Be Written – to me it mirrors the music I wrote by allowing you to experience the texture both at a distance or really zooming into the detail of the Field Postcards and the stories they tell beyond the prescribed text.

As well as the performance at Imperial College Union on 21 August, the experience will also feature as part of the BBC Proms Inspire Day on 22 August, before heading to further events as part the 14–18-NOW World War I centenary commemorations. It will also be available on public release to other VR and BBC platforms later this year.

For more details, visit www.bbc.co.uk/events

Published on 20 August 2018

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