Peter A. Torpey

Peter A. Torpey

Media Experience Artist, Founder and Principal Creative at The nth Art, LLC
Headshot of SXSW Speaker Peter Torpey


Reimagining Opera for the Future: The Andrée Expedition

Friday, March 11, 3 p.m.
Surround Stage



The Andrée Expedition, a 360° VR Opera is a prototype, where an audience of one experiences the tragedy unfold from virtual pack ice with the opera singer and pianist. The pandemic forced the opera community to re-examine how we create and deliver content. This immersive technology is a powerful tool to solve short- and long-term challenges for audience members who, for any number of reasons, may not feel comfortable attending an opera performance. 


Peter A. Torpey combines light, image, music, interactivity, and storytelling. As the founder and principal creative at The nth Art, he collaborates with theater-makers, orchestras, museums, festivals, educational institutions, and other artists to create experiences that connect audiences and participants with stories and each other. By incorporating emerging technologies and techniques as part of his artistic palette, he explores novel modes of representing expression (Death and the Powers, 2010; Lilith, 2015; Fensadense, 2015), massive collaborations (A Toronto Symphony, 2013), and new models of presence in live performance (Remote Theatrical Immersion: Sleep No More, 2012; Powers Live, 2014; Ipomoea, 2017). Recent works include media design for the world premiere opera productions Schoenberg in Hollywood (Boston Lyric Opera, 2018) and If I Were You (Merola Opera, 2019), as well as online productions of The Impresario (Enigma Chamber Opera, 2020) and Dido and Aeneas (Boston Camerata, 2020).

Peter completed his doctorate at the MIT Media Lab, during which he developed Media Scores, a software environment for collaboratively composing and performing multimodal artworks. His media, lighting, virtual, and interactive works have also appeared worldwide, including: Chicago Opera Theater, Dallas Opera, Virginia Opera, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Lucerne Festival, 7 Stages Theater, Curious Encounters Festival, FLUX Projects, Google, CalIT2 IDEAS San Diego, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Peter also regularly presents workshops on interdisciplinary collaboration and consults with companies and arts organizations on creating immersive and distributed experiences.