Theses Doctoral

Community Co-Creation and Virtual Reality in Opera: Composing "Out of the Ordinary/As an nGnách"

Merivale, Finola

The musical submission for this dissertation is a twenty-minute opera in virtual reality, "Out of the Ordinary/As an nGnách," which was commissioned and produced by Irish National Opera and co-produced by Virtual Reality Ireland. It was developed over two years through a co-creation process with three communities.

The music was set to a libretto in English and Irish by Jody O’Neill, and the opera was directed by Jo Mangan. The animated virtual reality world was designed and developed by Algorithm, a creative production company. "Out of the Ordinary/As an nGnách," is one of three trials as part of Traction, an EU-funded research project. The opera is scored for two professional opera singers, professional and non-professional instrumentalists and a community choir.

This written submission for my dissertation examines how the community co-creation and the virtual reality technology influenced the final work. I highlight how material and themes from the community workshops informed the narrative and libretto, and I analyze the ways in which the co-creation process and the non-professional artists from the communities are incorporated into the music. I discuss the process of composing for the virtual reality medium and finally, I reflect on where I believe improvements within the process could have been made, and the overall accomplishments of the project.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Lewis, George E.
D.M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
April 19, 2023