The opportunity to experience the vastness of the cosmos while remaining firmly on Earth has come one step closer. 

Five years ago the young yet renowned composer of classical music, Paola Prestini, was engaged to create a piece of music to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the pioneering Hubble Space Telescope’s star gazing discoveries.  In collaboration with Israeli-American astrophysicist, Mario Livio, who worked at the Space Telescope Science Institute that has operated the Hubble, they devised a moving storyline about one man and loss of his wife and child set against the backdrop of the birth, life, and death of a star.   

What makes the experience of this work exceptional is the immersive audio-visual embodiment of the story and music. A live virtual reality performance The Hubble Cantata brings together a 100-person choir, a 20-piece ensemble, two international opera stars, and a virtual reality experience in a 360-degree soundscape without headphones.  The outcome is a collective experience for a large group people (6,000+) utilising virtual reality and 3D audio.   

One of the brightest nebulae visible to the naked eye in the night sky the performance takes audiences on a journey inside the Orion Nebula, located some 1,344 light years from Earth. 

A member of the 2014 Academy Award and BAFTA Award Winning Animation VFX team for the popular and critically celebrated film Gravity, UNSW Art & Design graduate Duncan Ransom's New York-based company, The Endless Collective, created the visual effects for the VR film component of the event which was produced by Eliza McNitt.  

Founded br Ransom The Endless Collective specialises in immersive technology, high-end virtual reality + augmented reality content, animation, digital sculpting and 3D pre-visualization.

After launching in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park last summer, as part of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival, the Hubble Cantata toured to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC just last month, and is scheduled to be presented at the John Anson Ford Theatre in Los Angeles in October later this year. 

Australians may not have long to wait for the for their own experience of the Hubble Cantata; Prestini is now in talks with the Sydney Opera House.  Stay tuned.