World’s first ‘scent opera’

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Premiere to take place in New York
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Two composers and a perfumer have created the world’s first ‘scent opera’. In Green Aria 30 minutes of music combines with a sequence of 23 scents to tell the story of the struggle between nature and industry. During the premiere on 31 May at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the audience will sit on seats equipped with ‘scent microphones' which release six-second bursts of each perfume. To prevent a pile-up of different smells – which range from ‘magma’ to ‘shiny steel’, ‘fire’ to ‘earth’ – unscented air will be pumped into the auditorium at regular intervals. Conceived nearly five years ago by Stewart Matthew, co-founder of Aeosphere, a company exploring scent technology, the scent opera’s music was written by Icelandic composer Valgeir Sigurdsson and American composer Nico Muhly. French perfumer Christophe Laudamiel created the scents. ‘Perfumery should be the same kind of discipline as music or visual art,’ says Laudamiel in The Wall Street Journal. ‘You need that kind of nurturing of crazy ideas.’