Culture is future » Territorial attractiveness and social cohesion


HY Transportable Opera House: reaching new audience

« If you don’t come to the Opera, the Opera will come to you ». The panache of the conceivers of the opera "HY" is worth that of Chevalier de Lagardère: imagine an ambitious and mobile lyrical show able to reach a new popular audience of 55 cities in 24 countries.


At the beginning of this cultural ambition lies first and foremost a contemporary work and the strong will to give the chance to a large popular audience to meet it. At the origin of the work Yann Ulrich[1], accompanied by twenty four musqueteers – including Benoît Probst[2], Peter Mankowski[3] and Philippe Lacour[4] – with very diverse professional profiles but who share a common vision, which is to find transversal solutions, even though one has to bend a few set rules and established borders.


"HY 2079" is an electronic opera, both digital and interactive


For Yann Ulrich1, creator of "HY",a transmedia saga about Evolution and Audacity,

« the opera "HY 2079" is the core of the work "HY" which takes us through the next hundred years of humanity, from 2019 to 2119, between Earth and Mars. Far from the usual linear stories, its narrative is told in a sequenced, intertwined and interactive way, across thirteen media, including movies, TV series, comics, video games, and a digital constellation.» These innovations are meant for « generations X, Y and Z, from 12 to 65 years of age.» In order to give the chance to discover this show, we create a transportable opera house, going on tour from 2014 to 2020, in the popular districts of 55 cities in 24 countries. «This is the best way to get closer to our audience, who could not have gone massively to see this work if it had been performed in traditional opera houses.»


HY Transportable Opera House, open access for everyone


By getting rid of four borders that define the economy of the opera, HY 2079 empowers to be met massively by new audiences. Border of the law of proximity: 75% of operas are located in rich neighborhoods, and consequently are seen by their local audience. Border of the high average price of 90 €: reduced at minimum of two-thirds thanks to the tour. Border of the policy of opera subscriptions -: it prevents the massive influx of our public, rather used to improvisation. Finally, the border of the associations with the opera by our audiences: it is perceived as a place for the elite, they do not feel at home there. The "HY Transportable Opera House" allows our audiences to overcome these borders and provides access for everyone. »

The solution is to imagine a mobile stage, in order to make the show really likely to meet new audiences, through its setting in new territories. « Not necessarily at the margins, but certainly in the blind spots of the local art "scene", within these gray areas where the people- though not absolutely hopeless- do not have easy access spontaneously neither easily to creations of high quality, both demanding and popular » says the philosopher Philippe Lacour4, co-scriptwriter of HY.


Remove the border between the scene and the audience


What matters for Philippe Lacour4 is to avoid any barrier of access: « Most live shows are currently performed in venues that only the regular public can attend: local spectators, residents of the area. In this case, one can only regret the disconnection between artistic creation and popular audience. »  


Create curiosity and the desire to participate


Benoît Probst2 and Stéphane Ricordel2 from art&Oh, builder of HY Transportable Opera House, insist more on the multiple human borders: geographical, cultural, political, religious, sociological : « To install an ephemeral and autonomous theater in the heart of a (urban) landscape challenges our codes. It is a singular architecture which creates, physically and symbolically, a new perspective. It is also the intrusion of a community, who comes home to build its living place, to better invite me to its home. This is the goal of the Opera "HY": to become a temporary landmark in the city, accessible to everyone. » It draws on experiences like the one we lived in and around the Bubble of "Les Arts Sauts". Its arrival on a square has often led the questioning, its construction led the curiosity, the show led the emotion and it’s leaving the impression of a vacuum... to fill with a new desire to go to the theater, the opera, the Museum, without a priori!


Offer an adventure without borders


Peter Mankowski3, technical director of "HY", is more sensitive to the border between reality and imagination : « I remember going to the circus as a young child, being fascinated by all the sounds, colors and impressions, like an imaginary world just come true. More than anything, I was fascinated, even mesmerized by the faces of the performers, representing a huge unknown world of which I knew nothing but was inevitably drawn to. The circus , which later by coincidence happened to become a home for a brief period, represented to me as a child everything that I still value the most; something that takes the spectator to an unknown place, tickles his senses, brings him on an adventure. "HY" is exactly like that, an adventure with no borders, a step not only beyond physical national borders but also beyond the barriers that define genres such as film, theatre and opera. For "HY" the notion of nation states has no meaning, simply because it unites people globally around a subject that is truly global, and it does so in a unique way. »

The "HY 2079" tour, which will run through 55 cities in 24 countries, will feed,far from an utopia, a new vision of the opera. 


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Photo Credits: ‘HY Opera House v1‘ in urban districts - view in situ, architectural project with the University of the Arts Berlin (UdK) 2008/2009 © 2012

[1] Yann Ulrich is author, artistic director, director, co-composer, scenographer, concept artist and producer of "HY".

[2] Benoît Probst, art&Oh, builder of 'HY Transportable Opera House', was Director of the scenic workshops of the Opéra de Paris from 1999 to 2007 and then Builder of the biggest show of the world "The House of Dancing Water" à Macao de Franco Dragone, prod: 250 millions €, from 2007 to 2010. Stéphane Ricordel was creator of the circus "Les Arts Sauts".

[3] Peter Mankowski, technical director of "HY", was Head of Sound for Cirque du Soleil between 2007 and 2009. Then, designed sound for MTV Europe Music Awards 2009 (Beyonce, Foo Fighter, Green Day) and for Berliner Philharmonic Orchestra with Sir Simon Rattle.

[4] Philippe Lacour, co-scriptwriter of "HY", is Associate Researcher at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and previously at Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin. Worked with the film director Nicole Garcia in the writing of the script of “Selon Charlie” in the Official Selection at the Festival de Cannes 2006. His works focus mostly on practical philosophy, including the epistemology of cultural sciences- in particular History and Linguistics - and legal theory.