Talk to sales
Finnish National Opera virtual reality

Finnish National Opera and Ballet's Turandot becomes the first production to utilize Varjo’s XR technology

The Finnish National Opera and Ballet (FNOB), an esteemed European art institution, has collaborated with Varjo to design a full set production for its visually stunning Turandot opera that premiered on January 27, 2023.

Two years in the making, Turandot is the first production at the FNOB, and across opera houses globally, where behind-the-scenes immersive technology of this scale has been used from the proof-of-concept phase to final production with massive benefits.

Watch a comparison video showing the real-world view of the Turandot stage vs. a digital twin in virtual reality viewed with the Varjo Aero headset.

Turandot was co-produced by the FNOB and the Malmö Opera in Sweden. Harnessing the power of Varjo Aero virtual reality headsets, the creative teams used “XR Stage”, a design visualization tool developed with Unreal Engine by the opera’s technical staff. The 3D model of the main stage was originally made by the Finnish studio ZOAN.

Varjo’s technology provides a true-to-life experience where the virtual models are visually realistic in size and appearance, allowing the global team to collaborate seamlessly, and experience a creative vision as if you were there in person. In the pre-production phase, a photorealistic virtual set is built from scratch and mirrors the production in an immersive 3D setting before the sets are physically built – saving time and overall making processes more effective. 

“Our artists were only open to using virtual tools if models would be photorealistic and it was an intuitive user experience.”

Timo Tuovila - Production and technical director of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet

Matching the expectations of artistic and technical teams

Varjo’s technology provides a true-to-life experience where the virtual models are visually realistic in size and appearance, allowing the global team to collaborate seamlessly, and experience a creative vision as if you were there in person. In the pre-production phase, a photorealistic virtual set is built from scratch and mirrors the production in an immersive 3D setting before the sets are physically built – saving time and overall making processes more effective. 

“After 20 years of modeling lights, our technical team recognized that we needed a more efficient solution to provide our artistic teams with faster and better quality results. Our artists were only open to using virtual tools if models would be photorealistic and it was an intuitive user experience,” said Timo Tuovila, production and technical director of the FNOB. “Varjo’s VR/XR technology enables just that. We have been able to create a digital twin of our stage that actually is true to life, matching the expectations of our ambitious artistic and technical teams.”

Using Virtual Reality (VR) in Opera Stage Production
Benefits of using Varjo's VR technology for the creation of opera Turandot

Benefits of using Varjo’s VR technology for the creation of opera Turandot:

  • Reduced travel time with at least three international work trips between Helsinki and Malmö’s stage production teams were saved due to virtual collaboration. This one factor alone results in positive monetary and environmental benefits. 
  • Reduced material and labor costs as a result of the XR stage production compared to traditional stage design and production mechanisms, including:
  • 20% of the budgeted labor costs were eliminated due to the efficiency brought by XR tools and the early knowledge enabled by the immersive models for the set and manufacturing.
  • 1,500 hours were cut from this production. 
  • Cost savings due to the XR stage tool in this production amounted to approximately € 75,000.
  • Enhanced workplace safety for the creative team practicing safety procedures in VR. Individuals in charge were able to visualize the stage and practice movements and exits in the immersive environment earlier on in the production, without needing the expensive real stage time with 20-30 people operating the stage.

Real-world view vs. digital twin of the stage design in VR:

Seven set productions already visualized in VR, with more to come

The FNOB has been pioneering the use of XR since 2020 and has successfully visualized seven set productions with the help of immersive technology. In the near future, the organization plans to incorporate Varjo headsets across production teams.

The new, visually stunning version of Giacomo Puccini’s iconic Turandot at the Finnish National Opera delivers a universal message: regardless of who we are or where we come from, we are all looking for love. There will be 12 performances from January 27 to March 4, 2023. Viewers can tune in to the online live stream on Thursday, 16 February at 6:50 pm EET / 8:50 am PST. The complimentary live stream can be watched via Stage24 and internationally via the OperaVision service. The show can be watched on-demand until 23 August 2023.

Further information: press@varjo.com

Learn more about other pioneering use cases for VR/XR:

Varjo mixed reality maritime training

How Wärtsilä Revolutionizes Maritime Training with Varjo’s XR Technology

Case Study

Nov 8, 2023

UX design in VR

Panasonic Automotive Powers Innovative Vehicle UX Design with Varjo’s Virtual Reality

Case Study

Oct 27, 2023

virtual reality car launch

Kia Launches New EV9 Model in Finland with Varjo’s Mixed Reality

Case Study

Oct 19, 2023

Organizations

XR-4 and XR-4 Focal Edition are available in our web store and through selected Varjo resellers to business customers in nearly 40 countries.

Individuals

Private customers can order Aero through our selected Varjo resellers. Shipping to EU, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

Organizations

Business customers have access to our full product range.

Individuals

Private customers can order Aero through our selected Varjo resellers.