, , , , , ,

For her s/s 2013 collection designer

Carlotta Actis Barone

was inspired by Mozart’s opera

The Magic Flute.

The runway show, was truly that:

an extravaganza –

a visual/musical treat.

Opera on the fashion runway –

not too far fetched a concept.

Yet imagine operatic presentations in a

upscale lifestyle furnishing store –

 scenes from

 Il Barbiere di Siviglia  by Rossini

La Boheme by Puccini

La Traviata by Verdi

staged in various store departments.

Heal’s flagship store on

Tottenham Court Road,  London

was the venue for an evening of opera

performed by the innovative company

Silent Opera.

Theirs is installation performances of intimacy between

performers and audience

audience and music

as actors perform amidst viewers

and song is heard with full orchestration through

individual headphones.

(images from wildkaptr.com):


This  injection of a modern device

for added audience appreciation

is an innovative approach to experience opera –

 which reflects how contemporary society

interacts with its environment:

through technology.

The Experience

 One is part of a collective:

a mobile audience, moving as a whole

to different store points;

each an appropriate setting

for the scene enacted.

Simultaneously, one is separate:

engaged in a very personal listening of

music/voice transmitted via

the headphones.

The effect is kinesthetic, powerful, sensory.

The Concept

Daisy Evans

Founder and Artistic Director of Silent Opera

outlined a mission statement:

“… many (in the) audience have never been to the opera…”

The aim being introduction of this art form

to a new following and to cultivate interest,

“…(particularly) among younger people.”

What better way to accomplish this ambition

of keeping the arts vibrant, current, accessible

then by incorporating user-friendly technology.

The Location

The desired mood for any performance is

generated in measure by the venue.

Heal’s flagship store was an ideal choice.

The facade of this historic building is of

architectural relevance –

a mid 19th century structure

designed by architect

J. Morant Lockyer,

it references a Venetian palazzo.

(image from artonfile.com):


Palazzo Barbaro  – Venetian Gothic style, 1425

Palazzo Barbaro-Curtis, Baroque style, 1694

San Marco District-  Venice, Italy

(image from e-architect.co.uk):

Heal’s-  Tottenham Court Road, London, mid 19th century

The interior boasts the elegant art deco

Cecil Brewer Staircase, 1916

and its companion piece:

the recently hung exquisite Bocci chandelier,

offering soft lighting –

one of the mood-inspring spots

for an operatic segment.

(image from ateliertally.com):

Cecil Brewer Staircase/Bocci chandelier

I anticipate future collaborative

arts/cultural projects between Heal’s and

other organisations.

As for the Silent Opera –

you have acquired a vocal fan.

Stay informed of Heal’s and Silent Opera events:



monthly events calendar

Silent Opera