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Watch: ROH event with Stephen Fry and Alan Davies to be live-streamed through Twitter

A team of scientists joins us on 29 September to explore what great art does to our bodies.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

19 September 2013 at 1.12pm | 11 Comments

Update 2 October: You can now watch the full recorded event:


In an exciting world first, The Science of Opera with Stephen Fry and Alan Davies will be streamed live exclusively through Twitter from the Royal Opera House as part of the Deloitte Ignite festival.
The event will see a team of medical scientists from Imperial College London discovering what happens inside us when we go to the opera. Opera lover Stephen Fry took his friend, Royal Opera virgin and QI panellist Alan Davies, to the Royal Opera House. They were hooked up with the latest medical gadgetry to record the physical effects on their bodies of watching Verdi’s political masterpiece Simon Boccanegra

The Science of Opera promises some landmark medical discoveries as well as answering some key questions; was Alan Davies won over by opera? Did Stephen Fry get shivers down the spine during the show? Did either of them fall asleep? And what could opera do to you?

Stephen Fry said, ‘I am thrilled that we are able to use vast reach of Twitter to reach so many people with this live-streaming. Hopefully by the end of the evening Alan won’t be the only person persuaded to try opera for the first time.’

The event will also feature a live link-up with opera star Joyce DiDonato, who'll give her reactions to the experiment, as well as telling Stephen and Alan what it's like for those on stage during a performance.

You can tune into the event by following @RoyalOperaHouse@stephenfry or @alandavies1 from 6pm (BST) on Sunday 29 September and share your thoughts with the hashtag #DeloitteIgnite.

The Science of Opera is one of a number of events taking place as part of Stephen Fry's Deloitte Ignite festival, which celebrates the 200th anniversaries of the birth of both Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi. The festival also features a one-man show by Simon Callow, live radio broadcasts, performances and a unique installation in front of the Paul Hamlyn Hall by Es Devlin - who has designed tours for leading artists in the pop world, as well as operas such as David McVicar’s Les Troyens. Join us this weekend for a Festival of Voices, which will include free workshops and performances.

Watch an extract:

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

19 September 2013 at 1.12pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Alan Davies, Deloitte Ignite, live stream, Production, science, Simon Boccanegra, Stephen Fry, The Science of Opera, twitter

This article has 11 comments

  1. Lisa G responded on 20 September 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

    With respect, I don't need any techno-electrical-physio-neuro-biological gadgetry to know that when I hear opera (and for that matter any profoundly beautiful classical music) my mind sets a very tranquil but uplifting signal for my entire body to follow. Unlike some wretched contemporary 'muzik' I wouldn't care to name which creates such wrath I want only to terminate my existence.

  2. A. B. responded on 26 September 2013 at 9:09pm Reply

    What a fantastic event! I am a little bit nervous as I hope that there will not be any glitch on the technical side and I will be able to watch it.

  3. Rebecca L responded on 26 September 2013 at 11:39pm Reply

    I'm confused. Is this a show happening in the hall that people will be tweeting about but those of us not in the hall will have no idea what is happening on stage?

    Or is this going to be live streamed with the tweeting as an accompaniment the way the Verdi vs Wagner event was?

    If it's the former, it seems pretty pointless. We will have no context for the tweets. One of the things I mute faster than I can run is when someone starts 'live tweeting' some television show or movie they are watching.

    If it's the latter - where will we find the link to watch the live stream? The VvsW page told us how to watch several days in advance (which is why I suspect it's the former... and thus, no thanks... I'll not be passing the information to the classes studying at the university where i work)

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 27 September 2013 at 10:48am

      Hi Rebecca,

      The event will be streamed live (as video) via Twitter. Hope that you'll join us by watching.


      Content Producer (Social Media and News)

  4. Sparky Teaching responded on 27 September 2013 at 12:10pm Reply

    Wow - what a fascinating experiment. We like getting students to go "Hmmm", so this would not only provide evidence about how our bodies react to things, but also get kids thinking about what piece of music, poetry, film, quote, book etc moves them.

    Will there be some sort of summary afterwards so teachers like ourselves can use in class in the week(s) that follows?

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 27 September 2013 at 1:56pm

      We'll make the whole event available on demand afterwards, and we'll also be putting up a blog post about the event. If we get lots of interesting comments from people via social media then we will also flag those on the website.

      Hope you enjoy the show!


  5. Lesley Brady responded on 27 September 2013 at 12:39pm Reply

    Love this Idea, I'll be watching. :D

  6. Susan responded on 29 September 2013 at 12:59pm Reply

    Instructions on how and when to obtain via "on demand" would be most helpful...would love to share this with my medical school students. Thank you!

  7. Alison Ames responded on 29 September 2013 at 5:24pm Reply

    how do I link to your webcast from the USA (New York)? Many thanks

  8. Bronwyn responded on 10 October 2013 at 4:36am Reply

    We were lucky enough to see Joyce in that production so this was a special treat to watch online afterwards. Love the mixture of art and science. Thanks for posting this!
    [ps. The Kauffman theater, where she performed, is on the Missouri side of the state line. : ) ]

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