German Troupe Performs Underwater Opera

photo of underwater performers
photos courtesy AFP | www.unterwasseropen,de
photo of a play performed in a pool photo of a play performed in a pool

When professional singer Claudia Herr, a champion German swimmer in her youth, first swam in the art nouveau-style Stadtbad NeukΓΆlln in Berlin 10 years ago, she got the idea to some day bring a performance to the beautiful public bath flanked by grand Corinthian columns, mosaics and gargoyles. "I felt like I was at the opera," Herr told a French news agency.

So Herr teamed up with composer Susanne Stelzen and the pair created Aquaria Palaoa, featuring a cast that performs in, out and under the water. The opera tells the story of a young woman looking for the elixir of eternal youth. In her quest she comes across a killer whale β€” played by a man in a black costume β€” and a choir of seals.

Herr plays the lead role, diving into the almost-100-year-old pool in her green evening dress. With the help of oxygen tanks strapped to her back, Herr sings underwater, with the whale-like sounds she produces transmitted to speakers situated around the pool with the help of special microphones.

Herr's voice and those of other performers β€” who also sing underwater but without oxygen tanks β€” are mixed with sounds recorded 330 feet under an ice shelf in Antarctica. The orchestra stays dry, seated around the pool.

Buyer's Guide
Find manufacturers and suppliers in the most extensive searchable database in the industry.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide
Content Library
Dig through our best stories from the magazine, all sorted by category for easy surfing.
Read More
Content Library